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Protecting Short-Term Rentals During the Busy Holiday Season

By Mark Hamblyn, Terri Scheer Distribution Manager

With the holiday season upon us and Australians right across the country planning to take a break this Christmas, holiday rental owners face one of their busiest and critical periods of the year.

Landlords who rent out their homes for the holidays, or permanently transition their rentals to the short-stay market, must ensure they are aware of the differences between long-term and short-stay rental properties.

Australian property owners are increasingly turning to the short-stay rental market. A new report by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) shows that the total number of short-stay accommodation places increased by more than 20 percent, or 24,874 places, over the past 12 months.

REIA’s Short Stay Accommodation report, sponsored by Terri Scheer, also found that a staggering 81.9% of Australia’s 133,968 short-stay dwellings can transition between the long-term rental and short-stay accommodation markets.

View the REIA ‘Short Stay Accommodation Report’

Renting out a holiday home can be a savvy investment option, however, landlords who rent their homes on a short-term basis may expose their property to specific risks, including theft, damage and legal liability issues arising from injuries.

The risks can be significant when considering that a holiday home may be rented out a number of times a year.

In particular, landlords must weigh up the increased rental yield opportunity with the higher management costs and service fees, plus the risk of vacancies leaving their investment vehicles sitting empty during fringe season periods.

Property owners can safeguard their holiday homes and rental income by doing the following:

Hiring a property manager

When it comes to holiday homes, landlords are often handing over their keys to complete strangers, so it makes sense to protect their investment.

Hiring a property manager can help take the guesswork out of owning a holiday home and allow the landlord to leave it to the professionals to carry out regular property inspections, respond to maintenance requests and assist with claims if there is an insurable event at the property.

Property managers or leasing agents can also help landlords to understand their rights and obligations regarding bonds and rental agreements to minimise the risk of property damage from a short-term rental.

Regular property inspections

Carrying out regular property inspections helps to ensure the property is being looked after by guests.

In holiday homes, property managers should pay particular attention to signs of damage in common hotspots, including kitchens, flooring, soft furnishings and exteriors such as gardens and fences.

Responding quickly to these issues that affect future guests’ enjoyment of a property is vital.

Landlords will need to provide evidence and identify which guest caused any damage in order to make a claim, so property managers should ensure a detailed holiday rental inspection checklist is followed following every guest exit.

Keeping the property secure

Outside of peak seasons, holiday rentals might remain vacant for extended periods of time.

Landlords should consider appropriate security measures to prevent potential break-ins.

It may involve fitting the property with security alarm systems that can be monitored remotely. Installing deadlocks on doors and locks on windows may also reduce the likelihood of break-ins.

Security screens fitted on accessible windows can help to deter unwanted guests from breaking in.

If the holiday rental is furnished, landlords should keep an inventory of all items, including the make and model number, to assist in the event they need to make an insurance claim for theft from the property.

Purchase receipts, photos and videos can also help to determine replacement costs accurately.

Landlord insurance

Most holiday makers do the right thing, but even the most careful guests can unintentionally damage property.

Theft from a holiday home which may be fully or partly furnished is also another potential risk.

Holiday rental insurance can provide peace of mind that a landlord won’t be left out of pocket if their holiday home is damaged by a guest or broken into over the holidays.

Landlords should look for insurance policies that specifically cover holiday home rentals for tenant damage, theft, loss of rent and legal liability.

Terri Scheer’s dedicated holiday rental insurance, Scheer Short Stay, provides the benefit of short-stay and long-term rental coverage under one policy, should landlords decide to permanently or temporarily move their rental property between markets.

Property managers should check their authority to distribute or refer before discussing with landlords or dealing in insurance.

For further information, call 1800 804 016.


Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as Terri Scheer. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance and consider whether it is right for you. Contact Terri Scheer on 1800 804 016 or visit our website at www.terrischeer.com.au for a copy. The Target Market Determination is also available.

The information is intended to be of a general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries. This article has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

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