A Beginner's Guide To Vacation Home Rental Law

Updated June 29, 2023
9 min read
A Beginner's Guide To Vacation Home Rental Law


How to build a system properly so that you can rent out your vacation home without worrying about unreliable tenants? Or how to choose a vacation home for your future vacation and protect yourself from a legal point of view? No matter what your attitude towards vacation home rental, the right agreement will always fit you.

In this text, we will discuss the legal point of view on vacation rentals: talk about vacation home rental agreements, rules, and regulations that both tenants and landlords must follow. Also, we will shed light on how to resolve conflicts — or even save yourself from them altogether. A standard vacation home rental agreement will no longer be a mystery covered in the fine print. So let's go.

Understanding Vacation Home Rental Contracts

As you can see, the entire success of the interaction between the vacation rental landlord and the renter of the vacation rental depends on a properly executed vacation home rental agreement. What should this agreement look like?

There are important provisions that are obvious: the length of the rental period, the amount of the security deposit, the consequences of late payments or cancellations, and any restrictions on the use of the property.

It is also recommended to include information about liability and insurance coverage, as well as any applicable local laws and regulations.

The rule for the vacation rental owner is simple: if the law requires your tenants to comply with certain rules and regulations, then you are obligated to include these rules and regulations in your vacation home rental agreement.

If you want to create a contract based on the best examples and practices, you can use vacation rental contract templates created by lawyers who specialize in real estate law and rentals in particular.

Checklist for a rental agreement for a vacation home:

The most important points that should be included in every vacation home rental agreement:

  • Details about the rental property (address, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, any amenities).

  • Duration of the rental period (with check-in and check-out dates and times).

  • The amount of the rental fee (including any taxes, fees, or additional charges).

  • Information on a deposit or advance payment and the conditions for its return.

  • Consequences of late payments or cancellations (including any penalties or fees).

  • Restrictions on the use of the property (like noise or occupancy limits).

  • Liability and insurance coverage provisions (including who is responsible for damage to the property and any required insurance coverage).

  • Local laws and regulations (like permits or licenses required for short-term rentals).

If all these points are included in your vacation home rental agreement, then it is a legal document that can protect both the vacation home owner and the renter.


When you sign your name on a vacation home rental agreement, you become a participant in a two-sided process, so you need to be aware of your obligations and responsibilities to the other party and U.S. law.

Therefore, carefully read your legal vacation home rental agreement, discuss any unclear parts of the agreement, and don't forget to use a rental contract template to complete the document creation process.

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Article by
Inna Chumachenko

Inna Chumachenko is the Content Lead at Lawrina. She is responsible for managing all the content found on the blog, guides, and other website pages. Inna has a degree in philology and a vast interest in law. In her role at Lawrina, Inna oversees the content team, establishes collaborations with writers, and curates content from various contributors.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the content for Lawrina, please feel free to contact Inna directly via email at i.chumachenko@lawrina.org or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need permits to rent out my vacation home?

In most cases, people who rent out their vacation homes need to get permission from their local authorities by obtaining permits and licenses. Check with your local authorities for specific requirements.

What happens if I violate zoning laws or occupancy limits?

If you violate zoning laws or occupancy limits, you could be fined or face legal action. For example, in New York City, a landlord was fined $4,000 for violating the city's occupancy limit on a vacation rental. It is important to check local regulations before renting out your vacation home to avoid any legal issues.

What should be included in a vacation home rental agreement?

A rental agreement for a vacation home should have information about the property being rented, the length of time the rental period will be, how much the rental fee is, instructions on how to give a deposit or pay in advance, and details about getting it back, what happens if payments or cancellations are late, rules on what the property can and cannot be used for, information on insurance and who is responsible if something goes wrong, and details about any local laws or regulations that need to be followed.