Southern Utah Vacation Rentals: Legal Issues
Whether you are interested in leasing Southern Utah vacation rentals or turning your own home or property into a vacation rental, there are some important legal considerations to keep in mind. The main thing that you will run into with this type of rental, especially as a landlord, is zoning rules. Your home is required to be zoned for transient occupancy, and you must register for and pay Transient Occupancy Tax or hotel tax. The jurisdiction or area in which your home is located must allow for rental terms of fewer than 30 days. Some zones and jurisdictions do not, even for Saint George rentals, and in those cases, the landlord is out of luck. He or she may not rent out the property for short-term vacation stays. As a landlord, be sure you know what occupancy rules apply to your jurisdiction and be sure you are paying the appropriate taxes on your rental income.
Another legal issue to be aware of as a landlord or a renter is the stipulations of cancellation of the lease, and what requirements must be met for the deposit to be returned. In some cases, a renter does not cancel and doesn’t plan to, but terminates their stay early because of bad weather at the vacation spot. In a situation like this, the language in a cancellation clause regarding “acts of God” or other circumstances outside the owner’s control can protect the landlord. In such cases, the renter is still required to pay for their entire stay. As a renter, you will want to be aware of this as you plan your trip and assess your risk in booking the property and paying your deposit. Also keep in mind though, the landlord is never allowed to keep your deposit without just cause and explanation. You deserve to know where your money is going and why, if any deposit funds are withheld from being returned to you.
As an owner of a Saint George rental, you will want to be sure you understand the requirements and rules regarding premises liability. This comes into play if there is any incident or injury involving a guest on your property. If someone slips and falls, for example, your liability claims adjustor will want to know if this happened to someone on the lease, or to a guest or additional person. You will also need to know whether the fall was caused by any negligence on your part or just an event during normal activity. It is important to note that your regular homeowner’s insurance does not cover you in a case of these types of incidents.
In some cases, homeowners don’t require a deposit from renters; instead, they cover damages by requiring the renter to purchase a one-time third-party damage protection policy. These policies are typically around $49-$89, and cover the renter for liability for any damage to the property during the duration of their stay. This sometimes helps renters feel more secure, and can also be more affordable than a security deposited. If there is any damage, financial responsibility then falls to the insurer instead of the renter, and make things a little easier for all parties.
Southern Utah Vacation Rentals