One way to help ensure that you have the best experience possible for your home-exchange or rental is to have a written agreement in place that spells our the most important aspects of your arrangement. It is always a good idea to write down and sign off on both parties’ expectations so that everyone is one the same page, so to speak.
Below is one example of a contract that you may use or be inspired by. Please keep in mind that this is just one form of a home-exchange/rental contract and that you are free to add further stipulations to this example or to create your own.
SabbaticalHomes.com Home Contract
This agreement made this _____ day of _________, ______, by and between _________________, herein called “Owner,” and ________________________ and ________________________, herein called “Tenant.” Owner hereby agrees to rent/exchange to Tenant the dwelling located at ____________________________________________________ under the following terms and conditions.
1. Fixed Term Agreement: Tenants agree to lease this dwelling for a fixed term of ____________, beginning ____________ and ending ____________.
2. Rent: Tenant agrees to pay Owner as the sum of $_________ per week/month.
3. Form of Payment: Tenants agree to pay their rent in the form of a personal check, a cashier’s check, or a money order made out to the Owner unless other arrangements are made and approved by the Owner.
4. Security Deposit: Tenants hereby agree to pay a security deposit of $_______ to be refunded upon vacating, returning the keys to the Owner and termination of this contract according to other terms herein agreed. This deposit will be held to cover any possible damage to the property. No interest will be paid on this money and in no case will it be applied to back or future rent. It will be held intact by Owner until after Tenants have vacated the property. At that time, Owner will inspect the premises thoroughly and assess any damages and/or needed repairs. This deposit money minus any necessary charges for repairs, cleaning, etc., will then be returned to Tenant with a written explanation of deductions, within ______ days after they have vacated the property.
5. The Owner agrees to pay all insurance fees (house & contents) in her/his own country.
6. The Owner will pay all land rates or property taxes, mortgage, body corporate fees, TV/Radio/Internet License, Fire, Police, Ambulance and Services Levy in her/his own country.
7. All utility fees incurred by the Owner before the exchange/rental will be paid by the Owner.
8. The house, its fittings and appliances should be left in a maintenance-free condition and in good working order at the commencement of the exchange/rental by the Owner.
9. The Owner is responsible for any costs incurred for the house, its fittings, appliances and contents that can be attributed to normal wear and tear. The Tenant is to contact the Owner or the Owner's Agent who will authorize that the necessary repairs will be carried out. Accounts for any such costs will be forwarded to the Owner or the Owner’s Agent for payment.
10. Access to Premises: The Owner reserves the right to enter the residence at reasonable times to inspect, make necessary repairs, supply services, or show it to prospective residents, workmen, or contractors. Whenever practicable, a two-day notice of the Owner’s intent to enter shall be given to the Resident.
11. The Tenant is responsible for any costs to the house, its fittings, appliances and contents that can be attributed to neglect or misuse. All items used by the Tenant and persons admitted to the home should be left in a state of good repair at the conclusion of the exchange/rental. Broken articles should be replaced by articles of equivalent quality.
12. The Tenant is responsible for maintaining the lawns, gardens, and pool if the Owner has specified that these tasks are required of the Tenant.
13. The Tenant is responsible for minor costs such as burnt out lamps (light globes, bulbs).
14. Subletting and Assignment: Tenants shall not sublet the entire premises or any part of the premises, nor shall they assign this Agreement to anyone else without first obtaining Landlords’ written permission. Approval for long-term visitors to stay in the house should be obtained from the Owner and the number of tenants who will be staying in the house should be discussed and agreed upon beforehand. Nurses or maids required to care for the Tenants during an illness are an exception from this provision.
15. Premises is to be securely locked at all times when unoccupied. This is necessary to comply with conditions of insurance. Should tenants lock themselves out of the dwelling and be unable to gain access through their own resources, they may call upon professional locksmith or the Owners to let them in. In either case, they are responsible for payment of the charges and/or damages involved.
16. Alterations: Tenant shall make no alterations, decorations, additions, or improvements in or to the premises without Landlords’ prior written consent, and then only by contractors or mechanics, or other approved by Landlord. All alterations, additions, or improvements upon the premises, made by either party, shall become the property of the Landlord and shall remain upon, and be surrendered with said premises, as a part thereof, at the end of the term hereof. They acknowledge that they will be responsible for and pay any damage done by rain, wind, hail, tornadoes, etc., if this damage is caused by leaving windows open, allowing stoppage and/or overflow or water and/or sewage pipes, broken windows or doors, torn screens, broken door and window locks, etc. or any damage caused while Tenant has occupancy.
17. Pets: Pets are allowed on the premises only by obtaining the Landlords’ written permission first. unless “Pets” does not include animals trained to serve the handicapped, such as seeing-eye dogs, hearing dogs, or service dogs. These animals may be housed on the premises so long as they are in the direct service of those they were trained to serve and so long as Landlord is notified in advance in writing of the circumstances.
18. Smoking is not permitted unless otherwise specified by the Owner.
19. At the conclusion of the exchange/rental, any unpaid accounts for which the Tenant is responsible are to be forwarded to the Tenant's home address.
We, the undersigned, agree to the following conditions with respect to the exchange or rental of accommodation.
Other Occupants Names_________________________________________
Rent Due Date__________________