Tips for renting out your cottage

Those of us with cottages often think of our summer homes away from home with reverence. We treasure whatever time we get to flee the city to our cottage in the lush, verdant countryside. And yet, there are also times when we’re willing to sacrifice our sacred vacation times for the benefit of others.

Be it friends, family or even renters, we’re not always the masters of our homes. Naturally, we worry whether they will take the necessary care of our cottages and so on.

Having previously covered tips and tricks for safely enjoying your cottage, we now turn our attention to renting your cottage. Before putting your cottage on the market, you’ll need to do some planning.

You will have to decide who you’re inviting, set rules as to what is and isn’t allowed and ensuring that your insurance will cover you in case of any emergencies or contingencies.

Read on to find TSG’s be in the know tips if you’re considering renting your cottage this summer.

1. Decide the who and what. We’re all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, but we must also be mindful that some guests will damage their rented dwelling. To avoid this, get a sense of what your renters are like and set clear rules about what is not allowed at your property.

To ensure compliance, include the rules in the rental agreement. Generally, reliable guests such as friends, family and colleagues are more likely to adhere to your rules. However, if you’re renting to strangers, make sure you’re communicating clearly and firmly.

2. Create a quick how-to guide to your cottage. Obviously, you know where everything is located around your cottage, but others will not. Jot down some notes and tips for your renters as to where they can find the hot water tank, circuit breaker panel, first aid equipment, phone book, as well as fire and other alarms. Include instructions for garbage disposal, what must not be flushed into the septic tank and emergency preparedness. Last but not least, leave a number they can reach you 24/7.

3. Make sure your house is ready to receive. That means turning on the water and power, checking all pipes, fuses and appliances and cleaning the place. Be clear with your renters whether you expect them to leave the cottage as they found it or not. Needless to say, leave supplies and directions if you expect them to clean up at the end of their stay.

4. Brush up on your seasonal property insurance. Speak with your broker to make sure your policy will cover you while you rent. First of all, find out if your policy covers rentals because some do not. You will also need to know the limit on the length of time the policy allows you to rent your cottage.

If your current policy does not respond to your needs, consider instructing your broker to source a better solution for you, including higher liability limits. Moreover, try to account for as many contingencies as possible. For instance, if you expect your renters to use your watercraft or off road vehicles, make sure your policy covers claims resulting from this use. If not, you will need to acquire additional coverage.

5. Be prepared for wear and tear. No matter how well your renters take care of your cottage, their stay will inevitably cause a little extra wear and tear. Make sure to inspect your cottage after they leave and address any damage or maintenance issues promptly. This will help you avoid liability issues and ensure your property remains marketable throughout cottage season.

Are you renting out your cottage this summer? Leave a comment below and let us know how you’re preparing.