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My husband and I are rental owners and property managers for others. We list on most platforms- Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, etc and are now about to launch our own booking platform through Lodgify. We think this will be a great way to entice returning guests since they will be safe from costly Airbnb service fees. But we also think this is a great tool to help fill the calendars!
We have been struggling with idea of charging a refundable damage deposit. If we choose to add it, we will be required to charge and return the deposit on our own, while the remaining of the reservation amount is charged directly/automatically on the site via Stripe. It seems tedious and we really don’t know if it’s worth it but does that put us at high risk of not getting payment for any damages a guest may cause? I like the idea of holding a card on file, like a hotel, but I don’t know if there are any programs that allow that. I also don’t want people to worry about us stealing card info. Does anyone have suggestions on how or if we should collect damage deposits?
Also, looking for a simple rental agreement to use if anyone has examples they could share!
I use ownerrez for my direct bookings, my site the widget for reservations is OwnerRez I have it set up to send me a reminder to return deposit. Its easy enough. It is NICE having a actual deposit and full control.
PS the owner rez rental agreement is pretty good, and you can tweak it.
I think this will depend on your clientele, market, and size of property. Owners in a location that attracts partiers, and those that have a place that sleeps a lot - it will be much different than someone who is onsite and has a listing with occupancy with two guests, etc.
Personally, I removed the damage deposit. I played with it for years. The icing on the cake was learning that many of the credit card companies do not allow their credit card to be used for charges that the cardholder does not agree to. Now…if the guest never does a chargeback dispute, then you are in the clear. However, many owners have lost even with a signed rental agreement, etc. Now, some have won. Just keep in mind that many of the companies will side with the guest because you need to get permission from the cardholder AFTER the damages have occurred, no matter what you had them sign. Your rental agreement will be useless to the CC company because their rules with supersede. Kind of the same with ABB. Their rules are going to govern, no matter what agreement you have with a guest. Now, with the rental agreement, you will have clout in court, in front of a judge. So…I am not suggesting not to take a damage deposit, but just want you to know that having a guest sign an agreement to withhold damages may be meaningless to the CC company.
I can PM you my rental agreement, etc.
Also, you may want to consider Houfy. It’s free until the site starts producing a good amount of bookings. And even, then will most likely have a Netflix type subscription of $10 a month. All funds go directly into your bank account. It’s integrated with Stripe and Square right now. I send all of my departing guests my Houfy listing so they can book direct next time. I do have my own website, but it’s not up to date and I am not tech savvy at all…so Houfy was easier for me to handle.
On the other hand I have heard excellent things about OwnerRez. People who like them…really love them and cannot say enough good things about the owner and their staff. I heard it’s a bit of a learning curve, but you once you tackle it, then you don’t even know what you did without it before. And the staff helps all along the way…
This is my free Houfy listing, and if you scroll down, you can read my guides, etc. that I share with guests to help them plan their trip. It takes seconds to import your listing, and you can sync reviews from ABB and VRBO. Calendar sync and other options are there too. E-sign agreements will be coming - likely later this year