Vacation Rental Owners

Business Intelligence for Vacation Rentals

How to Handle Neighbor Complaints About Your Vacation Rental Property

When starting a new vacation rental business you’ll want to prepare and gather the best business intelligence information in the marketplace. A common roadblock for vacation rental owners is neighbor complaints which can put your whole enterprise at risk. Unfortunately, while you may see all the benefits of having a vacation rental property in the neighborhood, your neighbors might have a slightly different perspective. In many cases, neighbors view vacation rentals as an invitation for lots of noise, crazy parties, and irresponsible people constantly coming in and out of the neighborhood. And while many vacation rental guests are polite, responsible, and don’t cause any problems, there are always a select few that don’t fit that mold. That’s when you’re likely to get complaints from your neighbors, and if you don’t handle them well, there’s even a chance your vacation rental could get shut down.

A Note on Homeowners Associations

When starting up your vacation rental business, it’s always necessary to make sure it’s legal to run a vacation rental in your area. And if it’s legal, you’ll then need to double-check that your homeowners association allows vacation rentals as well. If they don’t, and you get a complaint, you may not be able to continue running your business. On the other hand, if you are legally allowed to run a vacation rental and you’re following all rules and regulations, it will be much more difficult for neighbors to potentially shut down your business.

However, even if you, as the property owner, are following all of the rules, that doesn’t mean that all of your guests will treat the property with the same respect. If they break noise ordinances, parking regulations, or neighborhood curfews, then your neighbors have the opportunity to take legal action. Therefore, it’s important to ensure guests are aware of all neighborhood rules and the importance of following them.

Neighbors Can Be an Asset to Your Vacation Rental Business

You might not have thought about it in this way before, but your neighbors can actually be an asset to your vacation rental business. If you’re on good terms with your vacation rental property’s neighbors, they can function as an extra set of eyes to watch over your property when you’re not around. They could potentially alert you to anything shady going on at your property or kindly let you know if your guests are having a party or being a bit too loud. They could even be a resource for guests if needed. However, if you’re not on good terms with your neighbors, then they’re not going to be too happy with guests knocking on their door and asking to borrow sugar or wondering where the closest grocery store is located.

Open Up Communication with Neighbors

Open Up Communication with Neighbors

How do you go about ensuring that your neighbors are an asset, rather than a hindrance, to your vacation rental? First, communicate with your neighbors in person before you start welcoming guests to your vacation rental. Keep in mind that many people move to specific neighborhoods because they want a sense of community. Therefore, they aren’t likely to be too happy with a vacation rental being in the neighborhood because it’s very impersonal, with strangers coming in and out all the time. So don’t forget to introduce yourself and show that you plan to be as considerate as possible with your vacation rental business.

If your neighbors are interested, you could even take them out for a cup of coffee or a meal while you discuss the various rules, regulations, and homeowners association requirements with which your business will be running in accordance. Show them that you’re not doing anything wrong or illegal with the property, and that you’re willing to work with them if any issues arise. In general, try to treat your neighbors just as kindly as you treat your guests, because they’re likely to be affected by your vacation rental on a daily basis.

Show Neighbors How Your Vacation Rental Can Benefit Them

A wise strategy is to show your neighbors the ways in which your vacation rental can benefit them. Frame your vacation rental as an asset. For example, you could offer to let them or their friends and family stay there if they ever needed a place. Maybe your neighbor plans to do renovations, and they won’t be able to stay at their house for a couple of weeks; perhaps a discounted rate on your vacation rental would make them feel a little better about the situation. Or maybe they need accommodations for visiting family; your vacation rental could be the perfect solution.

Show Neighbors How Your Vacation Rental Can Benefit Them

Another idea is to create win-win situations for your neighbors. For instance, let’s say you have a lawn maintenance company come by once a week to take care of your lawn and landscaping. You could offer to have the lawn maintenance professionals mow your neighbor’s lawn for free whenever they come by to take care of your lawn. Both lawns will end up looking great and well-maintained, and you’ll be on your neighbor’s good side since you’ve offered them a free service. You could do something similar with your cleaning service as well in order to foster a better relationship with your neighbors.

Implement a Guest Screening System

Implementing a guest screening system is an effective way of putting your neighbors’ (and your own) minds at ease. Your neighbor might worry about the type of people who will be staying at your vacation rental, but if you have a good screening system in place, there’s much less need to worry. Options for a screening system include a manual screening where you chat on the phone or through email, sifting through potential guests’ social media profiles, or even using a third-party identity verification service to ensure your guests are who they say they are.

Regardless of the screening system you choose, your neighbors are less likely to be as concerned if you talk to them about the security measures you’ve put into place. Even the fact that you’ve gone to the trouble of implementing screening procedures should make your neighbors feel a bit better about the situation because it shows that you care and won’t let just anyone stay at your vacation rental.

Set Reasonable Check-In and Check-Out Times

A common neighbor complaint (and rightfully so) has to do with guests checking in and out at inconvenient times. If you allow check-in at 5AM and your noisy guests wake up your neighbors as they’re lugging their suitcases into your rental, it’s understandable that your neighbors might be a little irritated. Therefore, try to limit check-in and check-out to reasonable times during the day when it’s not likely that anyone’s sleep will be disturbed. You could even choose to limit check-in and check-out to weekends. This encourages guests to book longer stays at your rental while also resulting in less noise and hassle for the neighbors to deal with.

Include These Rules in Your Rental Agreement

Include These Rules in Your Rental Agreement

Putting a few reasonable restrictions in place can help keep your neighbors happy and your business thriving!

Ban Parties and Events

The first rule you should set if you want to avoid complaints from neighbors is to ban parties and large events. Usually, it’s not just the presence of your vacation rental that’s the issue for neighbors, it’s what people do at your vacation rental. Parties and events often mean loud music, multiple cars parked up and down the street (maybe even taking up the neighbors’ parking spots), and even lots of trash buildup. By letting your guests know that you don’t allow parties and events, you can avoid these types of issues altogether.

Instate Quiet Hours

You can also add a noise clause or specific quiet hours to your rental agreement. Of course, you can’t be too strict about this, or you run the risk of guests feeling uncomfortable and like they can’t fully enjoy themselves at your vacation rental property. However, letting them know that they need to quiet down around 10PM and keep the noise at a reasonable level until 8AM is pretty standard and not likely to cause too many issues. Still, this simple policy can comfort your neighbors because they know their sleep will be protected. You can even consult your neighbors to ask them when they would prefer to have the quiet hours; catering this noise clause to their schedule is a good way to alleviate their concerns.

Of course, putting a noise clause in your rental agreement may not always be enough to keep all guests quiet. What you can do to enforce this rule is to use a tool like NoiseAware, which monitors the decibel level of the noise on your property. If it exceeds a certain level, you’ll be alerted and can take action by contacting your guests and letting them know they need to quiet down.

Be Clear About Parking

Be Clear About Parking

You’ll also want to set up clear rules around parking. Guests parking in a neighbor’s spot are sure to result in some complaints from your neighbors, so be sure to let them know where they can and cannot park. If you allow them to have a couple of visitors over, outline the best places for those visitors to park as well.

Main Takeaways

Here is how to grow your business intelligence while ensuring long-term success for your vacation rental.

  • Ensure you’re following all local laws and homeowners association rules.
  • Talk with your neighbors before welcoming your first vacation rental guests.
  • Inform your neighbors of the measures you’re taking to keep your guests from becoming a nuisance to them.
  • Use a guest screening system to ensure guests are who they say they are.
  • Set reasonable check-in and check-out times.
  • Instate rules regarding parties, noise, and parking.
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