Potential Pitfalls with holiday rental by owner
Home BlogAdvicePotential Pitfalls with holiday rental by owner

Potential Pitfalls with holiday rental by owner

Potential problems with holiday rentals and how to resolve them

So you though the hard work was winning bookings for your holiday home ? While renting out your holiday villa or apartments is a great way to earn additional income,  you are bound to come across certain challenges now and then. Courtney Wylie, Managing Director for Holiday-Rentals.co.uk said recently,

“To maximise bookings, it is essential you treat it like a business. Holidays are an emotional purchase, so providing good customer service and efficiently dealing with problems are integral to success.”

Pitfalls before arrival

Potential Problem:
Late payment of deposits or balances, and cancellations.


  • Make your payment terms clear, including cancellation and refund policies. Send through with booking confirmation and rental terms and conditions.
  • A common policy: deposit is non-refundable and a decreasing proportion of full balance is refundable the closer it gets to the holiday. All major tour operators do this.
  • Late payment of deposit: send a few friendly reminders, then a final notice saying if you do not receive payment by day/date, the booking will be cancelled.
  • Late payment of balance: As above, plus a reminder that deposit is non-refundable.
  • In both cases, telephone first. However, always follow up with written confirmation.

Pitfalls during the stay

Potential Problem:
Renters lock themselves out / lose the key.
Plan ahead of time for this and make sure you have a procedure.

  • Firstly, using a keyless lock with a code will avoid this problem altogether!
  • Be sure all fees associated with lost/misplaced keys are clearly marked in your Ts&Cs.
  • Distribute as many spare keys as possible to trustworthy people; housekeeper, property manager, complex manager etc…
  • ‘Hide-a-key’ somewhere; but somewhere VERY well hidden! Or, use a secure key lock-box such as the portable GE KeySafe™ .

Potential Problem:
Something goes wrong at the property during the renters’ stay.

  • If you can’t quickly remedy problems at your property, guests will most likely go away with a poor impression and you will not enjoy repeat business.
  • Be prepared! Make sure you’ve got plenty of emergency contact details for (reliable!) any type of service provider you may need.
  • A good strategy for ‘problem resolution’ is the ‘Three Rs’ from Robert Grede: Recognition, Remedy and Reinforcement:
  • Recognition: first, apologise and assure them you are springing to action.
  • Remedy: solve all problems as quickly as possible, even minor ones. Keep guests informed of progress.
  • Reinforcement: once the problem’s fixed, acknowledge the inconvenience again with an appropriate gesture, such as a part refund or discount.
  • Thirdly, have details of alternative accommodation nearby.

Potential Problem:
Renters behaving badly!
Hopefully you will rarely encounter this, but…

  • Prevention is better than cure! Talk to all guests beforehand to find out more about them, and the reason for the trip.
  • Ensure ‘unacceptable’ forms of behaviour and subsequent consequences are detailed in your Ts&Cs and/or rental rules.

Potential Problem:
Renters damage something, or things appear to be missing.
The odd cup breakage is inevitable, but make sure you’re covered for other damages by;

  • Asking for a refundable deposit of £100-£500 (or a proportionate amount for your property size/value) before handing over keys.
  • Make it clear in Ts&Cs that all damages/losses must be paid for in full.
  • Make a full inspection of the property before and after departure. Keep a written, signed and dated note of the outcome.
  • Keep ALL receipts for replacement items or work done to repair damages.

Also don’t forget home insurance:

Get sufficient insurance to cover your property and liabilities. A good company to consult is Intasure, a holiday and second home insurance specialist.


As ever it would be great to hear from anyone about problems they have encountered when renting out property – and any solutions / precautions you can recommend. Please leave a comment or contact us.

Sign up for Newsletter

Sign up to get our latest exclusive updates, deals, offers and promotions.