A guide to setting house rules for holiday rentals

A guide to setting house rules for vacation rentals

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Create extra reassurance by setting clear house rules. From pet policies to safety instructions, discover standard and additional rules you can set for peace of mind.

When it comes to vacation rentals, you have the power to create a relaxing hosting experience. One of the keys to that peace of mind is setting house rules, which helps provide extra reassurance that guests will look after your property during their stays. 

“Having the option to add house rules and really design your listing to communicate key information with guests is really helpful,” says Zoey Berghoff, a US-based vacation rental host. “Overall, it makes the host experience better because your guests aren’t asking you questions every two seconds, and it’s also better for the guest experience because it helps them understand what they can expect.”

Standard house rules

Here are some standard house rules you can tailor to your property that guests must read and agree to before booking:

  • Pets: Decide whether guests can bring their furry friends.

  • Parties or events: Share your stance on gatherings and celebrations.

  • Smoking: Let your guests know if your space has a smoke-free policy.

  • Quiet hours: Specify when guests need to keep the noise down.

  • Curfew: Limit the hours your guests can leave or enter your property.

  • Check-in and check-out times: Share your preferred times for arrival and departure.

  • Children: Highlight if your property is suitable for little ones.

  • Maximum number of guests: Define the occupancy for your space.

Tip: In addition to these rules, you can customize damage deposit policies for extra reassurance. 

Additional rules to consider

In addition to standard house rules, here are some extra rules you can communicate directly to guests – for example, in your welcome pack:

  • Extra visitors: Share your preference regarding additional guests.

  • Parking: If on-site parking isn't available, guide guests to nearby options.

  • Safety and security: Stress the importance of security by providing clear instructions for things like locking doors and turning alarm systems on and off.

  • Food and waste: Let the guests know where they can dispose of waste and recycling.

  • Shared areas and amenities: Outline rules for any communal spaces or amenities.

Tip: Before setting house rules, make sure you review our non-discrimination guidelines

A guide to setting house rules for holiday rentals 2

The benefits of house rules

In addition to providing extra reassurance, house rules can help you to:

Foster connections
House rules can go beyond mere practicality. When guests understand and respect your house rules, it can help you foster connections with them.

Protect your property
House rules also serve as a way to protect your vacation rental. By setting clear expectations, you can prevent misunderstandings and make sure your property is treated well.

Set the tone
Your house rules can set the tone for the entire stay. For example, if you want to create a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere, your rules might reflect that.

Save time
Setting clear house rules can save both you and your guests valuable time. For instance, it can help reduce questions from guests and in turn, the time it takes you to respond. 

How to communicate your house rules

There are multiple ways for you to communicate your house rules – the more ways you use, the better awareness your guests will have.

In listings
Clearly communicate your house rules in your listing description. This gives potential guests a chance to understand what to expect before they book, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.

Welcome packs 
Include a copy of your house rules in your welcome pack. This provides a physical reference for guests during their stays.

Visual cues
Use creative visual cues around your property to remind guests of important rules. For example, you could have a sign by the pool reminding guests to shower before swimming.

Best practices for setting house rules

Keep your house rules up to date
As your property or hosting style evolves, your rules may need adjustments. Review them regularly to make sure they stay relevant.

Send rules in advance
Send your house rules to guests in advance of their stay. This gives them ample time to review and ask questions. 

Be clear and transparent 
Create simple rules that are clear and concise – where necessary, explain the reasons behind them. Guests appreciate hosts who are fair and communicative.

Customize your rules
Think about the specific aspects of your property or hosting style that make it distinct and tailor your rules to reflect them. For example, if you have a beautiful garden, you might have rules about guests enjoying the outdoor space responsibly.

By considering these points and implementing them effectively, you can create an inviting environment that ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for both you and your guests.


How this holiday rental host attracts global travellers with Booking.com
Stay in charge of your property with Booking.com

House rules are one way we enable you to stay in charge of your property and listing. Discover more benefits of joining Booking.com. 

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What do you think of this page?

  • House rules can set clear expectations for your guests, helping them decide whether your property is a good fit for their stay
  • Use Booking.com's Extranet to set standard house rules for your property that guests must read and agree to before completing their booking
  • Beyond the basics, consider additional rules you can cover with your guests for extra reassurance