Does the thought of 1.5 million visitors to DC make you just want to get out of town during the Inauguration? Do you have friends in the city you can stay with while you help your fellow Americans in need of a place to stay during the Inauguration? Or is the potential money just too much to resist? Whatever your reasoning is, many DC-area residents are contemplating renting out their homes to Inauguration Day renters.
Advice for Inauguration Week Landlords
If you have decided to rent out your DC-area housing for Inauguration Weekend, make sure you are informed and prepared to deal with the transaction. It is most likely your first time taking the role of "landlord," so follow this advice for renting your apartment during Inauguration Weekend:
Do Your Homework
If you are renting out your primary home, chances are this is your first time playing the role of landlord. Make sure you know and understand the legal aspects of subletting, whether subletting is allowed in your lease, and whether your homeowners or renters insurance will cover in the event of damage. The Washington Post has created a sample lease for inauguration landlords.
Create a Detailed Listing
You need to provide potential visitors with as much information as possible about your home. Take the time to spell out all the amenities and details of your home like # of bedrooms and bathrooms, available features(think flat screen tv), what will be included (linens, bedding?), and what you expect from them. It is in both parties' interest to know exactly what should be expected from this Inaugural Weekend housing transaction.
Do Credit Checks
Sure, the potential for money is enormous during Inaugural Weekend. But with so much money at stake, make sure you know that the renters can afford to pay what you agree on! Doing a credit check on each potential renter is a great idea and really quite easy to do. HotPads even offers a cheap, safe way of doing credit checks that will ensure that you will not get burned.
Sign a Contract
Recognize that renting out your home to visitors is a business transaction, so it is best to treat it as such. Protect yourself, your possessions, and your rights by signing a contract with the renters. Not only will this benefit you, it will also help ensure that your renters will understand exactly the terms of their sublet.
Gather Money Upfront
Unless you are doing it out of the kindness of your heart, you are expecting to be paid for letting others rent your home during the Inauguration. Make sure that you actually receive that money by requesting payment up front, as well as a security deposit to protect against any damages that might occur. If you choose to allow personal checks, make sure that you receive it at least two weeks in advance to verify that it will not bounce. Many people prefer to use PayPal, as it is a trusted method by both parties.
Prepare Your House
You are renting out your house to visitors who are paying top dollar. It is your responsibility to make your home comfortable, clean, and furnished for your visitors. This includes cleaning every room of your house, cleaning out your refrigerator, cleaning your linens.
Whether you are getting out of town during Inaugural Weekend or simply staying at a friend's house in the city, make sure that you or someone responsible is available for your guests. A large part of renting out your home for Inaugural weekend is assuming the role of a landlord, so you must take on the responsibilities associated with that as well. While it may not be the most glamorous part of renting out your home in DC to strangers, it is still neceessary.
Renting out your DC-area home for the Inauguration may be lucrative, but is also full of potential risks. Be smart, protect yourself, and view it as a legitimate business transaction.