Booking contracts

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A guide to booking contracts for your holiday home

A good booking contract will let you and your guests know exactly where you stand and what to do if there are any problems with the booking.

We strongly recommend that all owners use a booking contract: not only will this give you a frame of reference, but it will also show guests that you are a providing a professional service.

Before you formally accept a booking, make sure you have received a completed, signed booking contract along with a deposit from your guests. The contract is equally as important as the payment

A sample booking contract (download link) is available to current advertisers.

It is important that you use this as a sample; you will need to add information regarding your own property and its hazards. It is important that you have this contract approved by your solicitor to ensure your terms and conditions comply with the local and national regulations.

For guidance, we recommend including the following in your own booking contract:

  • Your name and contact details.

  • Name of the property and length of stay.

  • Full contact details for the guest organising the booking.

  • Names and ages of other guests.

  • Arrival/departure dates and times as well as any specific check-in/out requirements.

  • Amount needed as booking deposit. State the booking is not confirmed until funds have been cleared. Make it clear if this deposit is non-refundable.

  • Total amount payable and a breakdown of costs if relevant, for example airport transfers and pet supplements.

  • The procedure for obtaining keys. If sending in the post, give a time frame, or if you or a representative will be on-site, clarify this and give necessary contact details.

  • Details of a breakages deposit and when this is due. Clarify that any damages and extra cleaning costs will be deducted from this.

  • Explain your cancellation policy. Make sure you are covered if a guests cancels at the last-minute and let guests know what to do if they need to cancel. For more advice have a look at our cancellations advice page.

  • Remind guests they are responsible for their own travel insurance and that you are not liable for any injury or damage to their belongings during their stay.

  • State any house rules such as your policy on smoking, pets and maximum occupancy.

  • If your complex or community has any specific rules, for example about parking or using the pool, let your guests know in the contract.

  • An 'Act of God' clause - remind guests that you cannot be held responsible for natural disasters and other events out of your control. Guests should take out adequate travel insurance to cover them in the event of such circumstances.