Creating a Short-Term Rental Agreement: A Comprehensive Guide

Master the art of drafting a short-term rental agreement with ease! Explore our guide, packed with valuable insights and practical advice.

Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Ossian Muscad

If you’re an Airbnb host or own a property that you rent out short-term, then it’s essential to have a short-term rental agreement. This document can help protect both your and your guests’ rights and responsibilities during their stay. But what exactly is this type of agreement, and how do you make one for your business? This guide will provide you with all the information you need to create a short-term rental agreement covering everything from payment terms to cancellations. Let’s get started!


What is a Short-term Rental Agreement?

A short-term rental agreement is a type of lease contract between a landlord and tenant for renting property on a short-term basis, usually for 30 days or less. This agreement can be used to rent a vacation home, an apartment, a room in someone’s house, or even a couch. Short-term rental agreements are most common for higher-end properties to outline the terms and conditions of the rental period. The agreement should follow all applicable State laws, and if the structure were built before 1978, it would require furnishing from the ‘Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form.’


When to Use a Short-term Rental Agreement?

A short-term rental agreement is crucial not just for legal protection but also for ensuring clarity and peace of mind for both the property owner and the guest. It acts as a blueprint for the rental period, setting clear expectations about the terms of stay, payments, and any specific conditions. Whether you’re renting out your property for a weekend getaway, a short business trip, or as a temporary residence, this agreement sets the foundation for a smooth rental experience. The following are some situations where a short-term rental agreement is necessary:

  1. Vacation Rentals: When renting out your property as a vacation home, a short-term rental agreement is essential. It helps in detailing the check-in/checkout dates, payment schedules, and rules about the use of amenities. This is particularly important in tourist areas where short-term rentals are in high demand.
  2. Business Trips: For guests traveling for business, a short-term rental agreement outlines the specifics of their stay, including the provision of workspace amenities, internet access, and any other requirements peculiar to business needs. It ensures that both parties have agreed upon the terms suitable for a productive stay.
  3. Event Accommodations: Renting out space for events like weddings, conferences, or festivals often requires a short-term rental agreement. This document can specify rules regarding noise, numbers of guests, parking, and other logistics that are crucial for managing event accommodations smoothly.
  4. Temporary Housing: During home renovations or in between moving to a new house, individuals might need temporary housing. A short-term rental agreement for such scenarios provides clear terms about the duration of the stay and any specific conditions to accommodate storage needs or pets.
  5. Academic or Educational Stays: Students or educators looking for housing during a short-term academic program or internship benefit from a rental agreement that outlines the terms of their stay, including utilities, internet, and rental period aligned with the academic calendar.


Each of these scenarios showcases the importance of having a tailored short-term rental agreement that addresses the specific needs and expectations of both the property owner and the tenant, ensuring a fair and clear arrangement for the rental period.


Things to Include In Your Short-Term Rental Agreement

Creating a comprehensive short-term rental agreement is crucial for setting clear expectations and legally safeguarding your property. Knowing what to include in your agreement can help ensure that both parties fully understand their rights and responsibilities. Here are some essential elements to include:

  • Identification of Parties: This section should specify the names and contact information of the property owner (or landlord) and the tenant (or guest). It’s vital to clearly identify all parties involved in the agreement to avoid any ambiguity in legal or communication matters.
  • Property Details: Include a detailed description of the rental property, specifying its address, type (e.g., house, apartment, room), and any relevant characteristics or amenities (e.g., pool, parking facilities). This ensures the tenant understands exactly what they are renting.
  • Rental Period: Define the check-in and checkout dates and times, highlighting the start and end of the tenancy. This section sets clear boundaries for the duration of the rental, helping to manage bookings and avoid scheduling conflicts.
  • Rental Rate and Payment Terms: Detail the rental rate, acceptable payment methods, and the payment schedule, including any required deposit and when the final payment is due. This section should also cover refund policies, damage deposits, and any additional fees (e.g., cleaning fees).
  • Rules and Restrictions: Outline any specific rules and restrictions related to the property, such as smoking policies, pet policies, noise restrictions, and guest number limitations. Clearly defined rules ensure guests understand their responsibilities and the behavioral expectations during their stay.
  • Cancellation Policy: Provide a clear cancellation policy stating the conditions under which either party and the refund process can cancel a booking. This section helps manage expectations and outlines procedures in case plans change.
  • Liability and Insurance: Explain the liability terms, including any limitations of liability for the property owner and insurance requirements for the tenant. This helps protect both parties from unforeseen circumstances and potential disputes.
  • Signature Section: Ensure there is a section at the end of the document for both the property owner and the tenant to sign and date the agreement. This formalizes the contract, making it legally binding and enforceable.


Sample Short-Term Rental Agreement Template

Here is a simplified example of a short-term rental agreement template that incorporates all the essential elements needed for a clear and comprehensive arrangement. This template is designed for easy adaptation and use in various short-term rental scenarios.


This Short-Term Rental Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made on this ___ day of __________, 20XX, by and between ____________________________ (the “Property Owner”) and ____________________________ (the “Tenant”).

Property Details:

Address: _______________________________________________________ 

Type & Amenities: _______________________________________________ 

Rental Period: 

Start Date: ____________ End Date: ____________ Check-In Time: _____ Check-Out Time: _____ 

Rental Rate & Payment Terms: 

Rental Rate: $__________ per night 

Payment Schedule: Deposit of $__________ due by ____________, final payment due by ____________. 

Acceptable Payment Methods: ______________________________________ 

Rules and Restrictions: 

  • Smoking Policy: [Yes/No] 
  • Pet Policy: [Yes/No, and any restrictions] 
  • Noise Restrictions: [Details] 
  • Maximum Number of Guests: ______ 

Cancellation Policy: 

Cancellations must be made by ____________ to receive a full/partial refund. 

Liability and Insurance: 

The Tenant is responsible for obtaining rental insurance. The Property Owner is not liable for [conditions under which the property owner is not liable]. 

Signature Section: 

By signing below, both parties agree to the terms of this Agreement. 

Property Owner’s Signature: ______________________ Date: ____________ 

Tenant’s Signature: _____________________________ Date: ____________


How to Write a Rental Agreement

Crafting a solid and legally binding short-term rental agreement is paramount in protecting your property, ensuring clarity between parties, and enhancing the guest experience. This essential document should encapsulate every aspect of the rental arrangement, from logistical details to legal responsibilities. Following a structured approach is key to creating an agreement that covers all necessary bases and complies with local laws.

Step 1: Check the Local Requirements

Before drafting your rental agreement, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with any local laws and regulations that apply to short-term rentals in your area. Different jurisdictions may have specific requirements regarding licensing, taxes, safety standards, and other legalities. Ensuring compliance with these regulations is the first step in crafting a valid and enforceable agreement.

Step 2: Assess Your Liability

Understanding your liability as a property owner and how to mitigate risks is essential. This involves determining what insurance policies are necessary to cover potential damages, injuries, or accidents that could occur during the rental period. Clearly outline what liabilities are assumed by the tenant, such as damages beyond normal wear and tear, and specify the insurance coverage they are required to obtain.

Step 3: Provide Owner and Guest Details

Include comprehensive details of both the property owner and the tenant, such as names, addresses, contact information, and identification numbers, if applicable. This step ensures clear communication paths and adds a layer of security to the rental arrangement by accurately identifying the parties involved.

Step 4: Describe the Property and Amenities

Provide a detailed description of the property, including its address, type (house, apartment, room), size, and notable features or amenities (e.g., pool, parking facilities, WIFI). A precise and thorough property description helps set the tenant’s expectations and reduces the likelihood of disputes.

Step 5: Write the Guest Information

Document necessary details about the guests, including the total number of occupants allowed, names of all guests, and any specific details required by local laws or for insurance purposes. Accurate guest information can help you manage your property more effectively and ensure compliance with the agreed terms.

Step 6: Outline the Rules and Policies

Clearly state the rental’s rules and policies, including smoking, pets, noise restrictions, and guest behavior expectations. Detailing these aspects helps maintain the property’s condition and promotes a respectful and safe environment for all parties involved.

Step 7: Explain Check-in and Checkout Procedures

Spell out the procedures for check-in and checkout, including times, key exchange, and any specific instructions for property access or security. This step is vital for a smooth transition and can help prevent confusion or issues at the beginning and end of the rental period.

Step 8: Include the Payment Details

Outline all payment-related information, such as the rental rate, deposit requirements, accepted payment methods, and cancellation policy. Transparent and detailed payment terms help prevent financial misunderstandings and ensure both parties are clear on their obligations.

Step 9: Sign the Agreement

Finally, a signature section will be included for both the property owner and the tenant to formalize the agreement. The signatures make the document legally binding and signify that both parties agree to and understand the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I extend my rental period after the agreement is signed?

Extensions can be negotiated with the property owner, but any changes must be documented and signed by both parties. Availability and additional costs should be considered before requesting an extension.

Q2: Are utilities included in the rental rate?

Utilities are typically included in the rental rate for short-term agreements. However, specifics may vary, and this should be clearly stated in the rental agreement. That way, both parties are aware of what costs are included and any additional fees that may apply.

Q3: What happens if property damage occurs during my stay?

Tenants are usually responsible for any damages caused during their stay beyond normal wear and tear. It’s essential to report any damage immediately to resolve issues efficiently. The agreement should outline procedures for damage repair and financial responsibilities. That way, both parties are aware of their obligations and can resolve any issues promptly.

Q4: Is there a security deposit, and how is it handled?

Many short-term rentals require a security deposit to cover potential damages. The terms for returning the deposit, often post-inspection after checkout, should be explicitly mentioned in the agreement.

Q5: What are the consequences of breaking the rental agreement?

Consequences can include forfeiture of the security deposit, additional charges, or legal action, depending on the agreement’s terms and the severity of the breach. It’s vital to understand these implications fully so that both parties can adhere to the agreed-upon terms.

Q6: How is the privacy of tenants ensured during their stay?

Property owners are generally required to respect the privacy of their tenants and must provide notice before entering the property, except in emergencies. Specific privacy terms should be outlined in the agreement, adhering to local laws and regulations. Both parties should also discuss and agree on any safety or security measures, such as surveillance cameras before the rental period begins to avoid any potential conflicts.


Create Short-Term Rental Agreements Using DATAMYTE

DATAMYTE is a quality management platform with low-code capabilities. Our Digital Clipboard, in particular, is low-code workflow automation software that features a workflow, checklist, and smart form builder. This tool lets you create rental agreements in minutes, customize them to your unique needs, and capture all the necessary information for a smooth and secure rental process.

DATAMYTE also lets you conduct layered process audits, a high-frequency evaluation of critical process steps, focusing on areas with the highest failure risk or non-compliance. Conducting LPA with DATAMYTE lets you effectively identify and correct potential defects before they become major quality issues.

With DATAMYTE, you have an all-in-one solution for creating rental agreements and ensuring quality and compliance in your short-term rental process. Book a demo now to learn more.



Navigating the complexities of creating a short-term rental agreement can be simplified with thorough knowledge and understanding of the essentials required in the document. By meticulously detailing every aspect of the rental arrangement, from property descriptions and guest information to payment details and rules, property owners and tenants can foster a seamless and enjoyable rental experience. 

Establishing clear expectations and responsibilities ensures that both parties are on the same page, significantly reducing the likelihood of disputes and enhancing satisfaction. This guide aims to equip you with the needed insights to draft an effective and comprehensive agreement, laying the groundwork for a successful and stress-free short-term rental venture.



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