How to Minimize the Risk When Renting Your Cottage
We’ve gathered information from local cottage rental experts to help you make renting your cottage safe and as hassle-free as possible, and to help you to make an informed decision on whether or not it’s an option you’d like to explore.
When crunching the numbers on cottage ownership, the idea of rental income may cross your mind as a way to ease the financial expense. The thought of renters in your beloved cottage might also terrify you.
All Season Cottage Rentals says the top most important things to do when renting a cottage are:
1) Screen renters to avoid party groups.
2) Clearly define expectations so the cottage is left the way you it want it to be left.
3) Collect a security deposit *don’t just hold a cheque, cash it before they come to the cottage and then refund when they leave.
4) The cottage must be “hotel clean” when renters arrive and well stocked with cleaning supplies.
In addition to these top priorities, we recommend that you have a clear contract in place. Some points to consider communicating:
- Do you allow pets?
- Do renters require a dump card & dump directions?
- Do you have best practices to avoid attracting critters (mice, bears, raccoons)?
- Who is responsible for consumables like toilet paper?
- Are towels and bedding provided?
- Is the drinking water safe?
- Are renters clear on on what objects cannot be flushed using a septic system?
- Are lifejackets provided or need to be supplied by the renter?
- Is propane for the bbq included in the rental?
- Are there any quirks of the cottage?
- Provide an exit checklist for your renter at the end of their rental period (turn lights off, empty garbage, turn off propane, etc.)
How Much Can I Rent For?
Assuming you want to reserve some time for yourself, you can estimate 8 weeks of summer rental income totaling $12,000.
For income tax purposes you can deduct from your rental income the equivalent number of weeks worth of taxes, utilities, mortgage interest, and maintenance costs or cleaner’s fees, as well as any rental agency fees if you used one. Having a cleaner who knows your cottage well can be helpful for assessing the condition of everything before you return a deposit, and ensuring top-notch condition before the next renter arrives to save you complaints and refunds.
Should I use a rental agency?
Benefits of using a rental agency are they market your property for you, answer all of the inquiries, screen all of the renters, collect payments and security deposits and make sure all expectations (ex: no pets or smoking) are clearly communicated and signed off on before booking a renter. They’ve also been through this so many times that they can help minimize any complications and can handle almost any scenario that arises. Fees are typically 20% (based on the $1500 per week estimated income, that’s $300). Rental agencies tend to get a higher rental rate - plus for peace of mind, no hassle bookings and minimal interruption to your busy life, the fee can be well worth it!