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Travel Tip: Vacation Rental Rights

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Have you ever stepped into a vacation rental only to find the place is small, dingy, miles from beach, or simply…not there? Here’s how you can protect yourself on your next rental.

The new Vacation Rental Bill of Rights was developed by, you guessed it, a management company. But the overall concept is sound. As a renter, you have the right to access detailed and accurate listings, and properties should always be regularly inspected and maintained.

Most importantly, you should be able to pay online for your rental—and not get involved with sketchy transactions like wiring money or mailing checks.

But even if you’re using a peer-to-peer service, there are some important tips to remember.

There are no standards in the vacation rental industry, so it’s all about the definition of terms. Don’t just ask how many bedrooms there are; find out how many beds there are, and the square footage.

Don’t make assumptions about what’s included: is there air conditioning, a washer and dryer?

Get a rental agreement that spells out all the terms, including what’s expected of you when you check out. That might mean taking out the trash, vacuuming, and doing the dishes. Otherwise that might mean saying goodbye to your deposit.

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