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[ 2007 ] SVO Rental Thread

DavidnRobin

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As David has requested, let's keep this a "best practices" thread and not go off on tangents. If you have a tangent, start a new thread! :D

Thanks!
DeniseM
Starwood Mod.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As discussed in another thread...
http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59744

I thought it would be good to have a SVO-centric thread about the ins/outs, best practices, and guidance of renting a SVO unit for SVO Tuggers (now that we have our own forum) :whoopie:

I figured it could be broken down into a variety of parts that could be usable to other TS systems (I realize there is another forum for this), but really wanted to apply mainly to SVO.

Please - I know this is not realistic - but when an issue like whether or not to use RedWeek (as an example) is mentioned - let's not morph into an anti-Redweek thread (that subject has already been beaten to death...)

As I see it - renting can be broken down into parts that include - best ways to advertise the unit, what to state in the advertisement, the rental contract, and the processes involved in dealing with potential renters. Please feel free to add things around these and others that come up.

I am going to start with the rental contract/agreement - because I have already shared with others. btw, I used parts of rental contracts/agreements I have seen here on TUG and other places.

So here goes...
 
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DeniseM

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Good idea David! I will do my part by editing things out if we get off-topic! :D As a newbie Mod, I need the practice anyway!
 

DavidnRobin

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SVO Rental Contract/Agreement

I am going to start with the rental contract/agreement - because I have already shared with others. btw, I used parts of rental contracts/agreements I have seen here on TUG and other places.

There has been some debate on whether a rental contract is needed or not. Personally, I think it is wise to have some type of rental contract between the renter and Owner. It states what is being rented, for how much, the processes, and the terms/conditions.

The first part of the contract is straight-forward (hopefully) - as such in generic terms. (I use Word to create this document):

Title Header: Rental Contract/Agreement

Today's Date: Month Day, Year
Rental Location: Name, Location, Phone #s, and Web-Address link (even can add a map link)
Rental Dates: Month Day to Month Day, Year (4PM Check-In; 10AM Check-Out)
Rental Type: e.g. Premium 1 Bedroom Unit (4-Person Occupancy; No Pets; No Smoking)

Owner Name(s):
Address:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Day Phone:
Night Phone:
Fax:
E-mail:

Renter Name(s):
Address:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Day Phone:
Night Phone:
Fax:
E-mail:


See... pretty easy so far.
One warning here - you are giving out information about yourself here - some of this info is the same that SVO uses to access accounts. Lots of options here, but you can put a protect 'password' on you account that will be asked when you call in to make or change a reservation. Call SVO Owners to discuss and add this protection. I think this is a good adea no matter what - of course, it may delay your call in for a 12-month reservation (at 6AM EST...)
 
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DavidnRobin

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The SVO Rental Contract/Agreement (cont'd)

Now the hard part - the processes and the terms/conditions. My text here is a little mixed up and could use some work. Remember - I am not a Lawyer - just a geeky Scientist. So please use cautiously - and if real issues come up - consult one (an attorney not a Scientist). This is merely my stab at this.

Terms & Conditions:
1. $xxxx for the rental of a 'unit type' (e.g. Premium 1-Bedroom Villa) at the 'SVO Resort' from Month, Day, Year (xx/xx/xxxx) to Month, Day, Year (xx/xx/xxxx), for a total of 7 nights, as described above. The maximum occupancy of the rental unit is 4 persons.
2. Renter,_______, agrees to pay Owner, ______, a xx% deposit ($xxx) of the total agreed rental ($xxxx) upon the Renters receiving a copy of a reservation confirmation from Starwood Vacation Ownership (SVO) Owners Services (representing SVO Resort) showing that a 'unit type' (e.g. Premium 1-Bedroom Villa at SVO Resort) has been reserved between xx-xx-xx to xx-xx-xx under the Owners names.
3. Upon the Owners receipt of the $xxx deposit, and a signed contract, the Owner will have SVO Owner Services transfer the reservation to the Renter, and forward a copy of the revised reservation showing the Renters name to the Renter.
4. The full balance of $xxxx ($xxx deposit plus an additional $xxx) will be paid by xx-xx-xx by the Renter. Upon the Owner receiving the remaining balance ($xxx), the Owner will forward the original revised reservation to the Renter. Failure to pay the full balance of $xxxx by xx/xx/xxxx will result in the automatic cancellation of the reservation with all monies paid being forfeited.
5. All payments are to be processed via PayPal using verified accounts, with the Owner sending the Renter a PayPal invoice, and payment from the Renter to the Owner transmitted via PayPal. (NOTE: more on this later)
6. The Renter agrees to follow the 'SVO Resort' rules and accepts responsibility and liability for the use of the 'SVO Resort 'unit type' and resort property. The Renter agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Owner due to any actions taken by the Renter, members of Renter’s named party, or the Renter’s guests during this reservation. No one under the age of 21 will be permitted to occupy the unit unless accompanied by persons 21 or older.
7. The Renter will be responsible for all resort usage fees imposed by 'SVO Resort', and any costs charged to the unit during the reservation. The Renter will be expected to supply 'SVO Resort' a valid credit card in the Renter’s name to pay for charges and usage fees upon check-in, and to be paid upon check-out.


Renter,_______ , and Owner, ________, hereby agree to the terms of this contract.

Renter Signature/Date:
Owner Signature/Date:

OK - I did my part. I think the PayPal part should be discuused - there is a thread about this,
http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59747
but payment options in general should be discussed here.

Also - #6 gets into legal issues that should be discussed also.
 
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DavidnRobin

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OK - no comments? A perfect document! (I don't think so) - the Terms and Conditions should modified somewhat into description of rental, payment process, documentation process, and then specific resort/villa terms and conditions.

For the payment process - there has been previous discussions on how best to do this. Questions like - How much of a deposit should be made? Should the deposit be refundable? When should the deposit be made? When should the remaining balance be made? Should any part of this be refundable? What are the best ways to requests payments? And leading into how do the payments relate to the rental contract and reservation confirmation transfers?

As Owners we control the payment methods and the documentation. It is the Renter who is making the monetary commitment and taking most of the risks. Therefore, I believe it is in the best interest of the Owner to make the Renter feel as if everything is clear, as professional as can be, and that they are not being scammed. (just like we want to protect ourselves from being scammed).

A clear and concise rental contract is the first part of this. The second part is the money and document transfers. Perhaps I am getting to far into the process, because in some part the rental needs to be set-up in the first place by reserving the unit, best practices in advertising the unit, and initial contact with a potential renter (and watching out for scams).

So it appears as if a discussion about setting up your SVO unit for renting should be discussed first. So...
 

DavidnRobin

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Setting-up a SVO unit for Rental

So it appears as if a discussion about setting up your SVO unit for renting should be discussed first. So...

So you decided to attempt to rent your SVO unit/week (VOI - Vacation Ownership Interval). One of the first process is to reserve the unit via SVO/SVN during the 8-12 month window in your name. In picking the best time to reserve the unit/week depends on the resort location, and the conditions of your VOI (unit type and season).

A best practice here (if you have decided to rent way ahead of time) is to reserve your VOI 12 months in advance during the most popular week of your season. Generally these tend to be weeks where people have time-off. For example, Presidents Day week, Spring Break week (varies), July 4th week, July-August weeks in general, Thanksgiving week, week 51/52 (if you have a VOI in that week), Labor Day week, and those special weeks specific to certain locations. I know that for WSJ - there is a Patriots week for the Northeast, and for WKORV/WKORV-N/WPORV there is a week in August that Japan (I believe) gets off. You get the idea...

If you cannot get a reservation 12 months in advance - make sure you get your VOI reserved at least within the Home resort window (8 months for float weeks, 10 months for fixed weeks). Related to this is the renters desire to change the date that you have already reserved. Given that this seems to be a common occurance - if possible - it is probably best to reserve the week early in the year. For example - Spring Break. Importantly - it is good to know when Spring Break is for the region that may have interest in renting your unit. For Hawaii - the west coast times for Spring Break becomes important. They are usually grouped in one of two weeks. This way when you get a renter that wants to change the week to a point later in the year - it becomes more realistic.

Regardless - reserve a week that best fits your situation. For us - we are prepared to use the week if I cannot rent, or use a SVN exchange (if possible). But leave yourself time to move the week if you don't rent, or time to to a SVN exchange, or banking, or a SO-SP conversion.

I am sure I did not capture everything here - so please (please) chime in so I don't feel as if I am writing to myself. :eek:
 
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Denise L

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Hi!

Great advice here on renting. I have rented out a few leftover DVC points with a similar contract. I am also going to try and help my friend rent out her WKORV-N week.
 

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The one thing really emphasize with anything we rent is no refunds!

We insist on a certified check or they can use an escrow service, paid for by the renter.

We also try to make ourselves very accessible to any renter, it helps make the transaction smoother, but that is a personal choice.
 

DeniseM

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One thing that I've done that makes it easier for me is to put my own Ad on my webpage. That way when I advertise on various sites, instead of spending a lot of time building an Ad, I just put the basics and then a link to the Ad on my webpage. In the Ad I have several pictures and a floor plan.

These are the terms I use:

Terms:

Rent - $xxx for 7 nights

Maximum occupancy - four per unit, 8 total. This villa is 2 connecting units - a studio and a 1 bdm. It can be used for 1 week by a maximum of 8 guests, or split, and used for 2 weeks, by a maximum of 4 guests.

All guests must be at least 25 years old, except for children accompanied by their parent(s).

It is not necessary to use all 7 nights of the rental period, but the resort must be notified in advance if you are going to check-in after the arrival date, and unused nights are not refundable.

Payment -
1) All payments are to be made with *Paypal
2) A $100 deposit is required to put the reservation in guest's name.
3) As soon as the guest receives the confirmation from the resort in their name, the balance of $xxx is due in full within 24 hours.
4) Payments are nonrefundable and the reservation is noncancelable for any reason.
5) Guest is responsible for all charges to the room, incidental expenses, and any damages.
6) Guest must present a credit card at check-in at the resort.

*Paypal Fees -

If you pay by e-check (transfer funds from a bank acct. to Paypal) Paypal charges me $5 and it will be free to you.

If you pay by credit card, Paypal charges me the 3% credit card fee, and you will need to add 3% to your payment(s).
 

DavidnRobin

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The one thing really emphasize with anything we rent is no refunds!

We insist on a certified check or they can use an escrow service, paid for by the renter.

We also try to make ourselves very accessible to any renter, it helps make the transaction smoother, but that is a personal choice.

I agree that once the money is paid that there are no refunds. When I rented WKORV I had the renter paid a 50% deposit (8 months in advance) and once the rest was paid (at least 3 months in advanced) and the reservation was placed in the renters name and sent to them. I think the deposit and time for final payment depends on how far in advance the rental is. If the renter were to back out soon enough - I would be okay with re-renting (or using ourselves).

It does bring up a few issues. What % for deposit and when, then when to get final payment? I see flexibility depending on the situation.
 

DeniseM

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It does bring up a few issues. What % for deposit and when, then when to get final payment? I see flexibility depending on the situation.

I'm not willing to be flexible :D - I want to rent it and be done with it. So I get $100 upfront, the balance as soon as they receive the confirmation and it's done. So far, I've done about 7 rentals and that's worked for me. If the market changes, I may have to adjust. But right now that's working and I just don't want to have to worry about renters backing out sometime down the road.
 

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Pricing?!?!?!

I can never seem to figure out what to set my price? I figured a price to cover the maintenance fees would be great, but is that too low? Recently, I've just looked at the hotel rates of a similar property to gage a decent and fair price. Is this the best method? Or do you list your price as the lowest to beat out the competition?

Hopefully, this is along the lines of the topic...
 

DeniseM

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Nicole - I think it depends on the property. At the WKORV, Starwood rents for a Guh-zillion dollars a week, and the MF is about $1,400 a week. I rented my week for about half-way in between. I also own at Sheraton Desert Oasis and the MF is about $500 for a 1 bdm. and I've rented it for $700, but this year I have it reserved for Superbowl week and I am asking $2K. So the secret is to do a little research on the various rental websites and see what the market is. I think for most Starwood properties you should be able to get at least you MF, and frequently more. Especially for Hawaii, Harborside, St. John, and special event weeks.
 

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another favorite contract clause

One of my favorite clauses:

7. LIABILITY: Owners and agents of XXXXXX will not be held liable or responsible for any disasters, acts of God, accident or unforeseen event that may affect the vacation rental. The renter should obtain personal travel insurance that would provide coverage for unforeseen events, from vendors like insuremytrip.com, accessamerica.com, etc. Any interruption of services within the property, or inclement weather during your stay, will not serve to void or cancel your agreement. There are no refunds for early check out. The owners are not responsible for renter's personal property. Owner or agent may enter premises for effecting repairs and maintenance or for other necessary purposes
 

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It does bring up a few issues. What % for deposit and when, then when to get final payment? I see flexibility depending on the situation.

I have required 50% upfront, balance due 1 month after receipt of reservation. I don't want a renter to find a similar week two months later for $500 less and back out.
 

DavidnRobin

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One of my favorite clauses:

7. LIABILITY: Owners and agents of XXXXXX will not be held liable or responsible for any disasters, acts of God, accident or unforeseen event that may affect the vacation rental. The renter should obtain personal travel insurance that would provide coverage for unforeseen events, from vendors like insuremytrip.com, accessamerica.com, etc. Any interruption of services within the property, or inclement weather during your stay, will not serve to void or cancel your agreement. There are no refunds for early check out. The owners are not responsible for renter's personal property. Owner or agent may enter premises for effecting repairs and maintenance or for other necessary purposes

I really like this clause and will add something like it to the generic contract.

I did have a renter not show up at the resort for their rental due to a family matter - they never came back to me about it - but this clause would cover it in case they attempted to. I only found out about it because I emailed them to see how they liked the unit and resort.

I agree about keeping close contact with the renters - I give them my cell phone number and request they call me if there are any issues with the rental
 

DavidnRobin

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I can never seem to figure out what to set my price? I figured a price to cover the maintenance fees would be great, but is that too low? Recently, I've just looked at the hotel rates of a similar property to gage a decent and fair price. Is this the best method? Or do you list your price as the lowest to beat out the competition?

Hopefully, this is along the lines of the topic...

This is totally in-line with this thread - and I was going to get to it after the reserving the week to rent, and the preferred/available rental sites, and wording the advertisment.

In pricing - here is where good research is required. It is important not to over- or under-value the unit. I tend to stay on the low side since I would prefer an easy transaction and that is worth something to me - of course any transaction can go haywire.

Pricing as compared to SVO rental prices is probably misguided - why rent form you versus SVO - when the confidence in the resort will be much higher than some stranger. On the other side - pricing high enough to compete with other rentals at the resort, local resorts, and local hotels - taking into account the resort, season, and unit differences . I like to be realistic in putting myself in the renters shoes. How much would I be willing to pay if I were the renter?

This sort of leads to what are the rental sites available to get reliable data - and to list you rental on...
 

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I really like this clause and will add something like it to the generic contract.

It's handy because if you ever have a cancellation, you just say.....

"oh, wow, bummer... I'm so sorry. I would be happy to draft a letter to your travel insurance provider to verify the monetary value and reservation specifics of the vacation week you rented. I can provide a copy of your signed rental contract to them as well. Please let me know where you would like me to send the documentation."

And the conversation about money back ends before it begins. Works like a charm.
 
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DavidnRobin

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Rental sites to use for renting your SVO unit

There has been quite a bit of discussion on TUG about rental sites to rent TS units.

For me - the sites I use (so far) are TUG Classifieds (of course), Craigs List, my company's local intranet, BidShares (ty DeniseM), and Redweek.

Eventhough Redweek is not free - in researching rental prices - I have found the most rental inventory on RedWeek. So for me (and perhaps not you), I find RedWeek to be worth the cost. That said - I have never had a hit (in my limited experience) on RedWeek, but I have found it a very useful source for researching prices - and 'borrowing' rental language - and therefore worth the small price. (Please let's not get into a discussion about RedWeek's business model - it's their model and their business).

TUG also costs money - but I believe membership in TUG is a bargain, and rental ads come with membership. I have rented a unit thru TUG, but have also received a lot of spam and scams. Watching out for scams is important for any rental sites - and perhaps will get discussed at some point.

Interestingly - I have the most hits with Craigs List (CL). It really helps to open an CL account (free) to manage the ads. CL will only allow one ad per location - so you have to be a bit crafty in putting your rentals on CL at various locations. I have found that changing the Title Line works.

I have had some hits with BidShares, but mostly just people putting in the smallest bid. But it is still too early to tell if it is worth it.

I haven't used eBay, but I suppose this could be a good resource if used properly.

Are there other rental sites out there that others would to chime in on (or comment on these)?
 

Nicole D.

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One of my favorite clauses:

The renter should obtain personal travel insurance that would provide coverage for unforeseen events, from vendors like insuremytrip.com, accessamerica.com, etc.

I think the clause is valid, but when you make a suggestion of who they can use for coverage, do you open yourself up to potential problems? Say if the company goes under or has financial issues. I would opt to end the sentence at the word 'events' and then wait for the renter to ask questions about vendors. I would think I have put them on notice by stating they should obtain coverage on their own. What do you think?

In terms of pricing, research is key. In addition, timing is everything. I guess I need to figure out when non-timeshare owners plan their vacations. I would assume they plan within six to three months of departure. But that's just a guess.

In terms of sites to use to list your rental week, you never have a good idea of how many hits you get when you list it with any company. This has always been something that caused me to critically think of a way to see if I could figure out how to determine the number of people looking at my ads. Well, I think I have a strategy. I know it works for all of the junk I sell on craigslist, so it might work for renting a week. I created an account with a web photo-hosting company. Then I uploaded pictures of my junk. (It's nice junk.) Next, I created an ad in craigslist with a brief description and the web link to the web photo-hosting company for people to view. I renew the craigslist ad each week. Now, the great thing about the web photo-hosting company is that I can log in to my account and I get details about the number of views I have each week. So, for having the account for a month, I've had almost a 1,000 views. I think that's great considering that craigslist and the web photo-hosting company accounts are free. Let me know if you have a better way.
 

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Pay Pal Account

*Paypal Fees -

If you pay by e-check (transfer funds from a bank acct. to Paypal) Paypal charges me $5 and it will be free to you.

If you pay by credit card, Paypal charges me the 3% credit card fee, and you will need to add 3% to your payment(s).



Does the renter need to have a Pay Pal account established in order to pay you through Pay Pal?
 

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Does the renter need to have a Pay Pal account established in order to pay you through Pay Pal?

Yes - but you can set up one up in about 5 min. There is no waiting period or authorization required.
 

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I think the clause is valid, but when you make a suggestion of who they can use for coverage, do you open yourself up to potential problems? Say if the company goes under or has financial issues. I would opt to end the sentence at the word 'events' and then wait for the renter to ask questions about vendors. I would think I have put them on notice by stating they should obtain coverage on their own. What do you think?

It's ok according to my lawyer who uses the same clause for his rental in Sonoma. It's clear that it's an example through use of the word LIKE. The websites referenced are simply selling insurance from large established travel insurance firms like Access America. They allow the renter to veiw various policies and costs from the different companies so they can compare prices and coverage and then pick and purchase the one they like. Sort of like a Kayak.com for travel insurance. So even if the website died, the policy would be fine.
 

Cheryl OReilly

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Damage Responsibility

Does anybody use any language in their rental agreement to make the rentor responsible for any damage they may cause? Thanks.
 

DeniseM

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Does anybody use any language in their rental agreement to make the rentor responsible for any damage they may cause? Thanks.

David has that stipulation in his contract posted above in post 4:

6. The Renter agrees to follow the 'SVO Resort' rules and accepts responsibility and liability for the use of the 'SVO Resort 'unit type' and resort property. The Renter agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Owner due to any actions taken by the Renter, members of Renter’s named party, or the Renter’s guests during this reservation. No one under the age of 21 will be permitted to occupy the unit unless accompanied by persons 21 or older.
 
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