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Mark S. Gruskin's Blog

By Mark S. Gruskin | Agent in Malibu, CA

Vacation Rental Season. Job #1 Before You Rent it Out

Be protected. Avoid nasty and costly landlord/tenant disputes involving damage or missing items with a home inventory.

Your vacation rental property is an investment, and thus it is important to protect it. Along with insurance, one of the best ways to protect your home is with a home inventory. Once your inventory has been printed out, have your tenant review, note the existing condition or damages throughout the home, and sign off on upon move in.

Photos are the best way to document the condition of furniture, carpet, walls, finishes, appliances and the overall condition of your vacation property. This is something you can do yourself or hire an inventory service professional to prepare the inventory.

Vacation Rental Home Inventory Tips

    • The more valuable items like furniture, electronics, appliances, and carpet should be captured with photography, so there is no question of their condition. Learn more about creating a FAST, SIMPLE, SECURE home inventory.

    • Make sure the housekeeper updates the inventory with any changes that occur.

    • Landlord/Agent and tenant(s) should sign the home inventory and initial every page to signify agreement.

    • It’s imperative that the inventory is checked immediately before the tenant leaving, so there can be no argument about any damage occurring after the tenant has gone.

What Happens if There is a Dispute?

    • If there’s a general consensus between the parties on what has been damaged, then estimates should be drawn up for repairs/replacements.

    • If the deposit doesn’t cover the amount needed to carry out the repairs, an invoice itemising all costs involved for additional payments should be sent to the tenant.

    • If the tenant is insured, this evidence should be provided for the insurance company.

Is a Home Inventory Needed for an Unfurnished Property?

The short answer is YES. Even if a property is deemed as unfurnished, there will still be items that can be damaged and costly to replace e.g sinks, carpets, condition of walls etc.

Consequently, it is still crucial to have a detailed inventory.

Insurance Tips

    • Purchase enough coverage to protect the value of the property and assets.

    • Make sure that a homeowners policy covering your primary residence extends liability coverage to your vacation or rental property. You may have to purchase a separate policy.

    • Check the amount of liability insurance to make sure that you have adequate coverage. There is a higher risk of accidents associated with a rental property than with your own home.

    • Consider purchasing extra liability insurance, also known as a Personal Umbrella Policy. This can increase the liability coverage on your home up to $1 million or more.

If you hope to make a little extra cash this holiday season renting your vacation home, first review your insurance policy, then take the time to create an inventory. This will save you a great deal of headaches in the future.

About Mark Gruskin
Mark is an attorney with a background in insurance and real estate law. He has served as corporate counsel for State Farm Insurance Company and has represented numerous insurance carriers and their clients over the past 15 years. Mark is also a realtor specializing in the sale of high end luxury properties in the Malibu Real Estate area and the Westside of Los Angeles. His credentials include a wealth of insurance, business and real estate related knowledge and expertise.

When looking to buy, sell or lease Malibu real estate, there is no one more qualified to guide you than Mark S. Gruskin. Visit his personal website at www.malibumark.com or call him at (310) 317-8202


By Ken Allen,  Thu Jun 19 2014, 09:41
Good to know. Thanks.
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