Are you planning to rent a house or an apartment for the holidays?
Vacation rentals are on the rise among Belgians, as confirmed by the Vacation Rentals Barometer and the 2021 Summer Vacation Barometer published by Europ Assistance. Following the Covid-19 crisis, it appeared that renting a house or an apartment is not only a safer solution than staying in hotels where you meet other people, but, in general, houses vacation guarantee greater privacy, tranquility and comfort.
Search for a holiday home on reliable sites
The vacation rental booking site that everyone knows is, of course, Airbnb . FlipKey , Belvilla , Interhome , Pierre & Vacances and TUI are equally reliable alternatives, as are many others. Homes & Villas by Marriott International also offers private rental properties, but focuses on more luxurious rentals. Major hotel booking sites ( Booking.com , Hotels.com , Expedia) often also offer vacation rentals and apartments. You will also find it on Facebook and Instagram.
Are they reliable?
All of the aforementioned websites have in common that they make available a large number of properties for rent around the world and have a relatively safe system to check properties, their description and their owner in advance. Thus, the background and the address of a landlord are always checked, the tenants can leave their opinion and evaluation, in the worst case, denounce an unreliable rental. Booking through their website comes with a basic guarantee and assistance in case of cancellation or problems with the owner. Often, by choosing small format or more local rental agencies, you will have less good guarantees than going through a larger and more experienced entity.
But before looking for a vacation rental online, you can also consider other travel options. Those who prefer not to go to hotels or stay in private B&Bs during high season can go camping or tend to someone’s home and pets .
Would you like to benefit from regular use of a holiday home? Then the timeshare formula could suit you.
The Pitfalls of Vacation Home Rentals
Booking a holiday home is not taken lightly. Not only do you have to find out about the condition of the property, but also about its location, establish contact with the owner, check any rental conditions and the possibilities of cancellation.
Here are some points to pay attention to when renting a holiday property.
Housing, price, location
Do you have the owner’s email address ? His phone or cell number? Do you speak a common language so that you can communicate easily?
Always check with the landlord if they live in the same building as the vacation rental. This may mean that you will have to share a common entrance, hallway or even stairs.
Ask the owner all relevant questions before arriving. Not only will you get to know each other (online), but you can agree to leave your luggage if the house is not yet ready to welcome you when you arrive.
Consider the rules or “small letters” of the contract . Does the owner ask you not to make noise after 10pm? In this case, this property may not be the best option for you and your group of friends who often go out late at night.
Trust your instincts when you have first contact with the owner. If you don’t have a good impression , choose a place run by a host that inspires more confidence in you. Do you have to wait a long time for your questions to be answered, or is the host responding in an evasive or rude way?
Does the owner ask for the deposit of a guarantee (deposit) in case of damage ? When will you be reimbursed? Make sure it’s properly documented.
Don’t wait to book
When you have chosen the property you want to rent, all you have to do is take care of the payment and the reservation .
Before and at the end of the stay
As soon as you arrive, it is a good idea to check that everything is working well . Hot water, shower, stove, lighting, closing the door… Your stay will be more pleasant if you and the owner are immediately informed of any problem concerning the property.
During your stay, you must of course take care of your holiday home as if it were your own. Out of respect for the owner, you must keep it in order and inform the owner immediately if you have (accidentally) broken something. Always properly lock the house or apartment in your absence to prevent theft.
The owner will also give you indications on the “check-out” or the exit. You may have to return the key to him in person or leave it in the property.
Ask the owner in advance what they expect in terms of cleaning . Cleaning fees are often charged and the price can vary considerably. Leave the rental as clean as possible, but don’t do unnecessary chores like vacuuming or sweeping if a cleaning fee is included. Leaving clean dishes and sorted waste in the correct bin will undoubtedly guarantee you a good evaluation from the owner. You can use it to book your next rental on the same booking site.
Additional insurance to protect your rental deposit
As an accident can happen quickly, Europ Assistance has launched an insurance product called “ Easy Rent ” which protects your rental deposit . For a modest price,