The Definitive Guide to Rules for Vacation Rentals

Are your guests easily navigating the rental regulations of your property? Or are you wondering which rules you should implement in your vacation rental to avoid unpleasant situations?

Whether you’re a seasoned or novice real estate investor, understanding the rules for vacation rentals is crucial to maximizing the return on your investment while ensuring a positive guest experience. Inadequate or unclear rules may lead to disputes, damage, or even violations of local regulations – something none of us want.

In this definitive guide, we at Weekender Management will help you comprehend the importance of rental rules, explain their implications, highlight some universal examples, and give you a comprehensive outlook on regulations specific to our home ground – Arkansas.

To commence, here’s a quick overview:

  • Rental house rules: Act as guidelines for guest behavior during their stay. These might revolve around the number of people permitted, noise pollution, check-out time, among many other preferences.
  • Local laws and regulations: As these may vary across regions, it’s critical to be well-versed with the legal conditions and requirements around short-term rentals in your locale.
  • Arkansas rules: If you own a property in Arkansas, pay special heed to the locality-specific regulations about registration, housing standards, and landlord-tenant laws.
  • Communicating house rules: The manner of presenting your house rules can hugely impact their acknowledgment by the guests. It’s all about striking a balance between setting clear rules and not putting off your guests with an overly strict impression.
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Embarking this journey will make you proficient in setting rules for your vacation rental, creating a safe environment for your guests, safeguarding your property, and staying on the right side of the law. Shall we dive in?

Understanding the Basics of Vacation Rentals

Before we delve into the specifics of rules for vacation rentals, grasp the basic concepts. This understanding will help you make informed decisions as you navigate vacation rentals.

What is a Vacation Rental?

A vacation rental is a property rented out to tourists or travelers for a short-term stay. These properties can range from condos and apartments to single-family homes and cabins. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals offer a more homely feel, making them a popular choice among travelers seeking a local experience.

The Difference Between a Vacation Home and a Rental Property

There’s often confusion between a vacation home and a rental property. While both are types of real estate investments, their usage and tax implications differ. A vacation home is primarily used by the owner for their personal leisure and is rented out for less than 15 days per year. In contrast, a rental property, such as a vacation rental, is primarily rented out to guests for short-term stays, and the owner spends less than two weeks in it per year. The IRS considers this an investment property, with specific tax regulations attached.

The Role of Short-Term Rental Platforms

Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have revolutionized the vacation rental industry by offering an online marketplace for hosts to list their properties and guests to find accommodations that fit their needs. They provide hosts with a platform to showcase their properties to a global audience and manage bookings.

For guests, these platforms offer a wide range of unique accommodations, often providing a more local and personal experience than traditional hotels. They also provide a platform for reviews and ratings, promoting transparency and trust between hosts and guests.

As a host, understand the pros and cons of these platforms. For example, Airbnb is more well-known and established, often offering unique properties that cannot be found on VRBO. However, it can be more expensive and may be more challenging to book certain properties during peak seasons. On the other hand, VRBO may offer better deals and have more selection in smaller towns and rural areas.

Understanding these basics is the first step in successfully navigating the vacation rental industry. In the next sections, we’ll delve into the legal considerations and specific rules for vacation rentals, with a particular focus on Arkansas, where we at Weekender Management operate.

As a real estate investor venturing into vacation rentals, it’s crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape. This includes knowing all the local laws and regulations, registration, permits and licenses required, building and housing standards, landlord-tenant laws, zoning laws, and the role of business licenses in vacation rentals.

The Importance of Knowing Local Laws and Regulations

Local laws and regulations for vacation rentals can vary significantly from one location to another. In some cities like Columbus, Ohio, anyone hosting short-term stays needs a short-term rental permit. Ignoring these rules can result in fines and legal action. Being aware of the local laws not only keeps your business compliant but also builds trust with your guests.

Registration, Permits, and Licenses for Short-Term Rentals

Before you start renting out your property, ensure that you have obtained all necessary registrations, permits, and licenses. For example, in Cleveland, Ohio, short-term rental owners are required to register annually with the Department of Building & Housing and pay a fee for each unit. Your property might also be subject to interior and exterior inspections to ensure compliance with applicable building codes.

Building and Housing Standards for Vacation Rentals

Your vacation rental property must meet certain building and housing standards. These standards might include fire safety measures, cleanliness standards, and others to ensure guest safety and comfort. Adhering to these rules enhances the overall guest experience and helps attract more bookings.

Landlord-Tenant Laws and Vacation Rentals

Understanding landlord-tenant laws is crucial as it affects how you interact with your guests. While these laws may vary, the IRS generally considers a second home rented for fewer than 15 days a year as a vacation home. However, if you rent it out for more, it’s considered an investment property.

The Impact of Zoning Laws on Vacation Rentals

Zoning laws can limit where you can legally operate a vacation rental. Some areas may have strict zoning laws that prohibit short-term rentals altogether, while others may require special permits or licenses. It’s essential to understand the zoning laws in your area before listing your property.

The Role of Business Licenses in Vacation Rentals

In some areas, you may need a business license to operate a vacation rental. This is typically separate from any required short-term rental permits or registrations. A business license shows that you’re running a legitimate business and are compliant with local tax laws.

In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at Arkansas’s specific rules for vacation rentals, where our expert Garrett Ham and our team at Weekender Management are licensed and operate. By understanding these rules, you can navigate the vacation rental landscape with ease and confidence.

Specific Rules for Vacation Rentals in Arkansas

In the realm of vacation rentals, every state boasts its own distinct set of rules and regulations. This part of the guide will concentrate on Arkansas, which is the operational base for Weekender Management. Our expert, Garrett Ham, is legally certified to practice in this state. It’s noteworthy that Weekender Management has formed a strategic partnership with the Ham Law Firm. This collaboration allows us to offer our clients premier legal services at a reduced rate. For more information about the firm and its services, visit their website at

Overview of Short-Term Rental Regulations in Arkansas

In Arkansas, short-term rental regulations vary by city. For instance, as seen in the city of Bella Vista, short-term rentals are required to secure a license. This regulation was passed to ensure that all rentals adhere to safety standards and contribute to the local economy through payment of applicable taxes.

Registration and Permit Requirements in Arkansas

Depending on the location of your property in Arkansas, you may be required to register your rental with the local authorities. For example, in the city of Columbus, anyone hosting short-term stays fewer than 30 nights at a time needs a short-term rental permit. This permit can be applied for at the Department of Public Safety in Columbus.

Building and Housing Standards in Arkansas

Building and housing standards are paramount in maintaining the safety and comfort of guests. In Cleveland, Ohio, property owners are subject to interior and exterior inspections to ensure compliance with applicable building codes. Though this is an example from a different state, similar regulations apply in many Arkansas cities.

Landlord-Tenant Laws in Arkansas

When operating a short-term rental, understanding landlord-tenant laws is crucial. In the case of short-term rentals, the laws can be quite different from traditional long-term rentals. Hosts should be aware of their responsibilities regarding providing a safe and habitable environment for their guests.

Zoning Laws and Vacation Rentals in Arkansas

Zoning laws can affect where you can operate a vacation rental. Some areas may be zoned for residential use only, prohibiting the operation of short-term rentals. It’s important to check with your local zoning department to ensure your property is in an area where vacation rentals are permitted.

As you navigate the landscape of vacation rental rules in Arkansas, our team at Weekender Management, led by Garrett Ham, is here to provide guidance and support. By understanding and complying with these rules, you can operate a successful and legal vacation rental property.

Creating Effective House Rules for Your Vacation Rental

When it comes to running a vacation rental, one factor that can significantly contribute to the success of your business is having clear and comprehensive house rules. At Weekender Management, we understand how proper rules can protect your property, ensure a pleasant stay for your guests, and ultimately boost your business.

The Importance of Clear and Comprehensive House Rules

Creating a set of house rules for your vacation rental serves as an effective way of protecting both your property and your guests. These rules act as guidelines outlining the dos and don’ts during a guest’s stay. They also provide clarity on what is expected from guests, which can help prevent potential misunderstandings and disputes.

Having house rules is not merely about telling guests how to treat your home; these rules also serve as proof of your commitment to providing a safe and comfortable space for your guests. If any rules are broken, you have a clear framework to address the situation and, if necessary, apply consequences.

Key Elements to Include in Your House Rules

Crafting your house rules may seem daunting at first, especially if you’re new to the business. However, there are key elements that should be included to create a comprehensive list:

  • General Conduct: Address how guests should treat the property. Encourage them to maintain cleanliness and respect the space just as they would their own home.
  • Check-out Time: It’s important to specify the check-out time to ensure a smooth transition between guests.
  • Damage Protocol: Include a rule about reporting any damage or breakage immediately. This transparency allows for a fair resolution and avoids surprises at the end of their stay.
  • Specific Rules: Depending on your property, you might have specific rules such as no pets, no smoking, or restrictions around the use of certain appliances like fireplaces.

Your house rules should guide your guests and not restrict them. Balance is key, and the way you communicate these rules can make a significant difference in your guests’ perception and experience.

Communicating Your House Rules to Guests

Effective communication is crucial in ensuring your guests understand and abide by your house rules. It’s advisable to provide a welcome note upon their arrival, which includes a friendly introduction and a summary of the house rules. This sets the tone for their stay and gives them an immediate understanding of what is expected.

Moreover, making your house rules easily accessible during their stay can be beneficial. Whether it’s a printed copy left in the property or a digital copy sent via email, ensure your guests can refer back to these rules whenever needed.

Dealing with Violations of House Rules

Despite clear communication of your house rules, there may be instances when these rules are violated. In such cases, it’s important to have a plan in place. Depending on the severity of the violation, responses can range from a friendly reminder to reporting the incident to the booking platform or even involving law enforcement in extreme cases.

At Weekender Management, we’re here to assist and guide you through crafting effective house rules for your vacation rental and dealing with any potential violations. By implementing clear, fair, and comprehensive rules, you can ensure your property is respected, your guests have a pleasant stay, and your vacation rental business thrives.

Leveraging Property Management Services for Your Vacation Rental

After understanding the importance of rules for vacation rentals and how to enforce them, it’s time to consider how a property management company can make your life easier. As a property owner, you might be overwhelmed by the numerous tasks such as check-ins, key exchanges, property inspections, and abiding by the local laws and regulations. This is where property management services come into play.

The Role of Property Management Companies in Vacation Rentals

Property management companies, like Weekender Management, are designed to streamline operations for you, the property owner. They handle all the tasks related to the upkeep of your property and guest management, all while ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations. This allows you the freedom to focus on other aspects of your life or invest your time in expanding your rental portfolio.

Moreover, property management companies leverage their expertise in pricing and marketing to maximize occupancy and revenue, ensuring your success in the short-term rental market. They play a crucial role in enhancing guest experiences and streamlining operations.

How Weekender Management Can Help You Navigate Rental Rules

At Weekender Management, we understand that navigating the rules for vacation rentals can be daunting, especially given how they vary across the country and are particularly unique in Arkansas. This is where our expertise comes in.

As a property management company based in Arkansas, we have a deep understanding of the state’s regulations for vacation rentals. We ensure that your property complies with all the local laws, from registration and permit requirements to building and housing standards. We take care of the details so you can enjoy the perks of ownership without the operational headaches.

The Benefits of Using a Property Management Company

Partnering with a property management company such as Weekender Management offers numerous advantages. Beyond ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations, we also help maximize your earnings in the short-term rental market. We achieve this through our customized services that align with your unique goals.

We understand that every property and every owner is different. Therefore, our strategies are tailored to your specific needs and objectives. We aim to boost your income beyond what you could achieve on your own, often surpassing our service fees. Plus, with our commission-based model, our earnings are directly tied to your success.

Furthermore, we value your satisfaction above all. We don’t lock you into any long-term commitment, and you are free to cancel our services anytime without penalty.


In conclusion, understanding and implementing rules for vacation rentals is vital for the success of your property. However, navigating these rules doesn’t have to be a burden. By partnering with a property management company like Weekender Management, you can ensure that your property complies with all the regulations, your guests have a great stay, and you get the maximum return on your investment.


Understanding and implementing the rules for vacation rentals is no small feat. It requires a keen awareness of local laws, a thorough understanding of your property and guests, and a commitment to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for your visitors. As we’ve seen, these rules can vary significantly, especially when it comes to specific regions like Arkansas.

However, the importance of having clear, enforceable house rules cannot be overstated. They’re not just guidelines for your guests, but also a safety net for you as a property owner. These rules help to prevent misunderstandings, ensure your property is respected, and ultimately create a better experience for everyone involved.

Whether it’s setting a limit on the number of people allowed, specifying quiet hours, or providing clear check-out instructions, each rule plays a crucial role in managing your property effectively. It is equally important to communicate these rules effectively to your guests to prevent any potential issues.

As Garrett Ham, our expert at Weekender Management, emphasizes, the challenge often lies not in creating these rules but in ensuring that they are noticed and followed by your guests. Making your rule book appealing and easy to read can make a world of difference.

Of course, managing all of this on your own can be overwhelming. That’s where we come in. At Weekender Management, we understand the intricacies of short-term rental regulations, especially in Arkansas, and we can help you navigate these complexities. Our team is dedicated to offering individualized service and strategies to maximize your returns.

With our experienced managers and comprehensive services, you can enjoy a hands-off approach to your rental property while still reaping the benefits. We take care of the details so you can focus on what matters most to you.

In the end, setting up effective rules for your vacation rental is about more than just compliance, it’s about creating a welcoming environment that guests will want to return to. And with the right support, you can achieve this while maximizing your investment.

For more information on how Weekender Management can assist you in navigating vacation rentals, check out our Short-Term Rental Tips and Full-Service Contract pages. We look forward to partnering with you on your journey towards successful property management.