Being a Good Guest at a Rental- 6 Tips

When staying at a rental property like a vacation home, apartment, or house instead of a hotel, the guest experience is quite different. You’re not just a temporary visitor, but essentially a temporary resident sharing someone’s personal living space.

This (tenant and landlord)relationship requires mutual responsibility and respect between guest and host. As a renter, you’re not just another anonymous hotel guest. The property owner is trusting you with their personal space and possessions.

To uphold your end of this deal, it’s crucial to be a good rental guest who treats the property with ultimate care and respect. Responsible rental guests create positive experiences that owners appreciate, which leads to smoother future rental approvals.

Here are the keys to being an exemplary guest that rental owners will rave about:

1 Read and Follow All Rules

The number one way to be a good rental guest is to thoroughly read through all the property rules, restrictions, and requirements…and then actually follow them to the letter during your stay!

This should seem extremely obvious, yet you’d be amazed how many rental guests simply ignore policies or try to bend rules in ways that disrespect the owner’s wishes for their own property.

Some examples of rental rules:

  • Noise restrictions
  • Occupancy limits
  • Pet policies
  • Parking instructions
  • Check-in/check-out procedures
  • On-site amenities usage
  • Cleaning requirements

Rather than glazing over them, make sure you diligently read and understand every single rule or policy about that rental. If anything is unclear, get clarification from the host or owner before your stay, not after when it’s too late.

For instance, don’t just assume you can show up with extra unexpected guests if the rental has a clear stated occupancy limit. Things like occupancy caps, motor vehicle limits, and bringing additional pets rules are in place for specific reasons by the owner that need to be respected.

During your stay itself, refer back to those rental rules frequently rather than trying to operate based on guesswork. Noise restrictions, amenities operation, and cleaning requirements tend to be common rental policies that guests often inadvertently violate when they don’t review the specifics.

A noisy guest disturbing neighbors, improperly using amenities, or leaving a rental trashed are among the biggest peeves for owners that stem from ignored rental rules and requirements. Those violations can lead to extra fees, fines, lack of future rental approvals for you, and major owner headaches they shouldn’t have to deal with.

As a good guest, you need to make a concerted effort to know and consciously follow the host’s rules to a tee. You’re staying in their personal space so you need to defer to their specified preferences rather than doing whatever you’d like. Abide by all their policies exactly as outlined out of courtesy and respect for it being their home that you’re renting.

2 Communicate With The Host

In addition to reading and following rules as a good guest, you should also maintain open lines of clear communication with the rental host or owner from start to finish. Many rental issues or mishaps stem from simple miscommunications between guests and hosts.

Your communications should cover key areas like:

  • Asking clarifying questions about any policies
  • Notifying them upon your arrival
  • Being upfront about any damages or accidents
  • Keeping them posted with updates/issues
  • Reaching out if you need help with anything
  • Confirming your departure checkouts

This back-and-forth dialogue helps ensure you’re on the same page as the host at every stage. It maintains accountability on both sides to uphold responsibilities and manage expectations accordingly.

For example, let’s say a provided house key or amenity isn’t working properly for you during your rental stay. Good guests communicate those issues right away to the host so they can assist, rather than letting it linger and turn into bigger potential problems.

If you break or damage something accidentally, be upfront about it through communicating with the host immediately. Don’t try hiding damages in hopes the host won’t notice. Most times, they’ll understand and work with you if you let them know and accept responsibility. But concealing issues can breed mistrust and confrontation.

The same goes for notifying hosts if you’ll have additional guests for part of the rental period. Or if you need to modify any aspect of your reservation like changing dates or extending your stay time. Clear communications afford corrections, while surprises create anger.

Good guests are constantly keeping rental owners updated and in the loop during their stay. The owners appreciate this openness because it helps them properly do their part hosting you while avoiding unpleasant surprises.

Even brief notifications upon arrival and departure are considerate common courtesies from respectful guests. Plus, you’ll want to maintain responsive contact in case the host needs to alert you to any updates as well.

So don’t withdraw into a vacuum during your rental stay. Remain actively communicating throughout so you and the host are always on the same page. Their property, their rules, they deserve that basic respect from you as their guest.

3 Treat It Like Your Own Home

Speaking of respect for the property, the simple rule of thumb for every good rental guest is to treat the rental like it’s your own personal home during your stay. You should show the same level of care and responsibility as you would in your permanent residence.

That means abiding by all the same norms and courtesies you would if it was your own home:

  • No excess noise or rowdy parties
  • Cleaning up after yourself promptly
  • Using products/equipment properly
  • No staining, damaging or smoking
  • Keeping secure and locked appropriately
  • Respecting all areas – both inside and out
  • Leaving it as you found it before check-out

Think of it this way: if a visitor was staying at your personal house, you’d expect them to treat it with ultimate respect and responsibility right? Not leaving messes everywhere, blasting music at all hours, damaging your furniture, or violating personal spaces.

When you’re the guest at someone else’s personal rental home, that same care and respect is owed to the owner. Don’t treat it any differently than you would your own home. However presentable and clean you keep your home, do the same during your rental stay.

This mindset of “treating it like your own” extends to properly using all equipment and products too. Most rental homes come with a wide variety of owner possessions like:

  • Furniture
  • Electronics
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Decorations
  • Utensils and dishes
  • Linens and towels
  • Outdoor equipment
  • Tools and maintenance items

All of those belongings were trusted for you to use during your stay, not abuse or mishandle. You should treat each piece of the owner’s property with the care you’d use for your own possessions. Follow all operating manuals and instructions properly when using their products.

For example, don’t take a host’s expensive propane grill and household cleaning supplies and conduct a chemistry experiment with them, ruining both items! That’s not how you’d treat your own possession. Use the grill for its intended purpose of grilling, and the cleaning supplies for their intended household cleaning purposes.

The bottom line is: you don’t want to damage or deplete the rental home’s inventory through reckless oversight or lack of care. Treat everything with the utmost responsibility, just like you’d want guests to do in your own home.

By respecting boundaries, reducing noise/impact as much as possible, and meticulously maintaining the rental home’s condition, you show appreciation for the living spaces and belongings the owner has trusted you with as their guest.

4 Leave No Trace Upon Departure

This may require some preparations on your part before departing, like light cleaning, staging, picking up any trace belongings, and overall reset of the living spaces. But those are small efforts to leave a minimum impact and maximum courtesy for respecting someone else’s personal rental property.

For example, take the basic step of stripping all bed linens and towels you used and leaving them neatly gathered – don’t just leave those items strewn about. While you’re at it, collect any loose items like water bottles, papers, etc. that accumulated during your stay and properly dispose of them as well.

In the kitchen, be sure to clean up any meal mess areas like loading and starting the dishwasher with dirtied items. Clear out any perishable food items from refrigerators so they don’t spoil. Perform a quick wipe down of any kitchen surfaces you may have splattered or spilled on during use.

The same applies to bathrooms – leave toilet, shower, and sink areas securely cleaned before departing. Don’t leave any personal items or messes behind. Take all your belongings with you.

For living rooms and common areas, truly reset the space by rearranging any moved furniture pieces back to their original positions. Gather and remove any crumbs, dirt, or debris you may have tracked in. Check behind and under cushions for any missed belongings left behind.

If you’ve made use of any rental amenities like grills, fire pits, pools, etc., be sure to leave those areas properly cleaned and reset as well. No food scraps or trash left out, furniture pushed back into place, equipment stowed and cleaned.

You get the idea – do a comprehensive sweep through every room, cabinet, closet, and area to ensure not a single trace of your presence is left upon departing. The only evidence should be normal usage like rumpled bed sheets and empty toilet paper rolls. Zero personal belongings, zero messes, zero impacts whatsoever.

Not only is this common courtesy for respecting the property owner’s personal spaces, but many rentals actually have strict cleaning and vacancy requirements in their policies around how the property is left upon departure. You could face stiff penalties or fees for not reverting the rental back to a clean, pristine vacant condition.

It may seem like a pain to essentially “clean” before leaving if you paid a cleaning fee as part of your rental costs. But those cleaning fees cover routine housekeeping turnovers, not comprehensive top-to-bottom detailings. Leaving the rental turned over in reasonable, ready-to-clean condition is a basic responsibility you owe to the owner.

So take pride in leaving no trace of your presence like being the most considerate temporary guest in someone else’s personal residence. Not only is it common courtesy, but spotless vacant turnovers also prevent issues like mistaken damage claims or even having items inadvertently thrown out that were left behind. Double check all areas and leave it like you were never even there!

5 Respect Neighbors and Community

Another key responsibility of being a model rental guest is respecting not just the rental home itself, but also extending that curtesy to any surrounding neighbors’ homes and the overall community.

Unlike sequestered hotel or resort areas, residential rental properties are embedded directly within established neighborhoods and communities of full-time local residents. Those permanent residents deserve the utmost peace and respect from you as a temporary rental guest.

Some ways to be a considerate rental guest within neighborhood dynamics:

  • Obey all noise ordinances
  • Properly dispose of trash/recycling
  • Avoid parking/blocking others’ access
  • Don’t loiter or disturb surrounding areas
  • Keep the rental property clean and respectable
  • Follow all community rules and policies

The biggest area of friction between rental guests and local neighborhood residents stems from excessive noise pollution and parties. While you may be on vacation looking to blow off steam, remember surrounding homes are full of working families and school-age children who don’t share your revelrous motivations.

Be conscientious about keeping general noise levels down, especially during overnight hours. Don’t crank loud music or engage in booze-fueled shouting and revelry that could disturb others’ peaceful enjoyment of their homes. Follow local noise ordinances to avoid complaints.

Parking and vehicle policies are a frequent source of neighborhood tensions too. Be mindful of the rental’s provided parking areas and avoid excessive street parking or blocking access routes for neighbors. Pay extra attention to areas designated for permitting only, private resident parking, and spots in front of fire hydrants or driveways.

You want the neighborhood to view your rental group as quiet, considerate guests who cause zero disruption. Not nuisances that bring excess traffic, noise, pollution, and hazards to their peaceful community during your temporary stay.

Beyond just avoiding negative impacts, you can take it one step further by actually looking out for the neighborhood and helping maintain it. Pick up any trash or debris you may inadvertently drop. Keep the rental’s lawn, exterior, and visible spaces neatly maintained during your visit. Offer friendly waves and let neighbors know you’re happy to comply with local rules versus letting animosity build.

You should essentially aim to be a model resident while visiting the rental. Do everything you’d want temporary guests doing if they were staying next to your permanent residence. Follow all local community rules, policies, and codes of conduct to a T, without exception.

Doing so creates no issues with the neighbors and leaves them with pleasant impressions of rental guests. Fail to observe those community responsibilities, and tension and conflict is inevitable with unhappy neighbors taking it up with the rental owner who then has disagreements with you.

So regardless of how long your rental stay is, always strive to be a quiet, courteous, and respectful member of the community during your visit. It allows everyone to peacefully coexist and prevents any negativity or escalations that could jeopardize your stay at the rental property.

6 Avoid Unauthorized Activities

This next tip for being a good rental guest should be obvious, but it’s one that trips up far too many visitors. Simply put: never engage in any unauthorized or illicit activities at the rental property beyond your agreed policies.

That means no trying to sneak in extra surprise guests, no hosting big rowdy parties, no illegal substance usage, no additional pets beyond what’s allowed, and absolutely no engaging in illegal activities whatsoever.

Rental owners open up their personal properties and possessions to you under clear rental agreements. Violating those agreements by attempting to be dishonest or overstep boundaries takes advantage of the owner’s hospitality and trust. It strains the guest-host relationship and often leads to intense conflicts that can ruin entire visits.

Sure, it may seem harmless to have a small gathering of extra friends over to the rental during your stay. But if the owner has outright guest limits and policies in place, breaking those rules is a major breach of trust. That’s their personal property you’re disrespecting, damaging, and subjecting to potential liability issues for any on-premise incidents that happen.

Same goes for any unlawful behavior or contraband usage in the rental. Owners don’t take kindly to things like illegal drug use, violence, vandalism, or other crimes being carried out on their personal property that could make them legally liable in worst cases. It puts everyone at huge risk including neighbors, other guests, and the owners themselves if they happen to be on-site.

The bottom line is, rental agreements are legally binding contracts. If you attempt to blatantly violate policies or engage in unauthorized activities at the rental beyond what’s been contractually agreed upon, it quickly turns into a legal matter that can spoil rental stays.

Rules like occupancy caps and no-party policies are there for solid reasons that you may not fully appreciate as a guest. But as the temporary resident trusted with the rental property, it’s your ethical obligation to fully comply with all stated guest policies to the letter.

Most responsible owners have a zero tolerance policy for any unapproved visitors or illegal activities happening on their rental properties. Violating that trust by trying to sneak things past them risks immediate guest removal and potential legal action if damages, crimes, or safety issues emerge on account of your unauthorized actions.

So as a courteous guest, make sure you operate 100% above board within the rental parameters you agreed to when booking. No side efforts to test boundaries with extra visitors or mischief. Aim to be a model of integrity that owners don’t have to worry about policing or second-guessing your trustworthiness. When they provide a reasonably enjoyable guest experience, be sure to appreciate that by reciprocating with full compliance to all agreed rules and arrangements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *