Make money and catch some rays at the same time!

A Sample Rental Agreement

Whether you book your property with a booking website (Airbnb, Homeaway, etc) or through a local property management agency, a rental agreement is used to finalize the legal relationship between you and your guests. These contracts establish the terms your guests agree to abide to when booking your place. If you procure renters “on your own” – whether friends or otherwise, it is still advisable that you use such an agreement.

A standard short-term rental agreement will list things such as the renter’s name and contact information, stipulate the rental rate, check-in and check-out times, house rules and obligations, and importantly what happens in case of the unexpected.

Download my rental agreement template, which I use for all my personal bookings, for a demonstration of the points that should be covered in an agreement.  You may and likely should modify for your own use (unless yours is a four-bedroom house in Ocean City, NJ). Now is probably the appropriate time for a disclaimer. Please see below!

The information contained on this website and in this post specifically is general “legalish” information and should be treated as such. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your lawyer or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult your lawyer or other professional legal services provider.

With that out of the way, the template should give you a good idea of the areas that at a minimum your agreement should cover. Additionally, all of the changeable items in the lease (guest name, rate, address fields, etc) are text boxes where you click to enter text.  Hopefully, that part makes it easy to use.

Keep in mind, my rental agreement is for a beach house in Ocean City. If your place is a ski chalet in Vermont or a mansion in Maui, you would have different points to cover in some of these sections. There SHOULD be different rental contracts for different locales.

Once again, please do not use this without at least some modification and ultimately with final consultation by a legal professional.  Also, please comment if you think I left something out or take exception to something!

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  1. Robert Young

    Very useful agreement template. Thanks.

    • efdawson

      Thanks Robert.

  2. Ngoc Hoang

    How do you manage insurance? I know when I go thru Berger, they require tenants to buy insurance? What other things do you do when looking at potential renters for the week? Have you ever have one that stayed longer than the time you agreed upon? Asking as this question comes from someone who rents to homeowners and I’ve had to evict them through the court system. Thanks again for this, this is very helpful…


    • efdawson

      Ngoc, fortunately I have not had anyone overstay their lease. But if I did, I believe the only protection would be security deposit monies or the coverage provided by Berger, Fox, etc (and this would be for those next tenants). Even umbrella insurance would not cover this.

      The calculus for short vs long term renters is different. Provided vacation tenants reside for < 30 days, in the state of New Jersey anyway, I believe the Police will forcibly remove trespassers. For any length of time greater than the 30 days, I believe tenants are entitled to the lengthy eviction process (but double check with a landlord-tenant attorney). I would be very cautious to whom I extend a +30 day lease, but for shorter term stays I find that a lease, security deposit, copies of ID, and intuition have been sufficient to this point. Hope that helps!