To give you peace of mind when renting your home and to protect you, your home and belongings, here are some suggestions to consider:
1. Include the house rules in your listing (such as not permitting smoking, pets, children or large gatherings). This will potentially reduce the number of people who will consider a stay in your home who are looking for more ‘liberty’.
2. Leave behind a copy of the house rules in your home as a reminder for guests to follow.
3. Request that potential guests provide references from past hosts.
4. Remove items of high value or that are sentimental to you. Store them in a safe place, out of your guests’ sight and reach.
5. Collect a damage deposit from your guests at check-in and clearly outline when the deposit will be returned. This will avoid your guests being surprised when it is not returned on the spot at departure.
6. Return the damage deposit after you have thoroughly inspected your home. Some hosts return the deposit 5-7 days after their guests depart.
7. Have your guests sign a damage liability waiver if they will be using your sports equipment.
8. Review various insurance products currently available to see if any could be applied to protect your home and possessions from temporary house guests.
9. Ensure that smoke alarms are functioning properly and provide a working and regularly maintained fire extinguisher in your home.
10. Place a note in a common area of your home such as on your fridge door with your contact number to call in case of an emergency. Also include the emergency call number for fire/police ie. 911 in Canada and the US.
11. Protect yourself from identity theft by placing personal papers, bank and credit card statements, etc in a locked drawer or cabinet.
12. Ensure that your computers and laptops are password protected.
13. Block long distance calls from your landline telephone (or subscribe to an inexpensive long distance plan).
Home exchanging is a rewarding experience occurring on a daily basis around the world by like-minded travellers who treat their accommodations as well as they treat their own homes. By taking the above steps, it will ensure a better experience for all so that the industry can continue to grow!