On March 12th we wrote a blog that described state lawmakers in Florida looking to have changes made to the rental properties industry by July 1st of this year. The bill is about the rights of the people who live near the rental properties according to those who support it. To read the full bill click here. If this bill passes, changes would need to be made to your business to abide by these new rules. The community would be able to impose rules on trash, noise, and traffic. This would mean property managers will need to be careful about who is renting the property. A group for a bachelor party would not be suitable for a quiet residential area for three nights but a young couple with small children should be fine. Here are some ways to prepare your business for the potential law changes ahead.
Your vacation rental software needs to have very effective CRM tools. This will help you manage who is coming and going and keep the notes on file, avoiding intrusive questions and having to repeat questions. The reason it is important to know these things, while someone may be a great tenant they may tend to be louder. No one wants to turn away business but knowing more about your tenants will help you find them the proper vacation rental home for their trip. The more you know about the tenant the easier it will be to fit them with the right property and by storing that information in your rental software, all of your staff has access to the same information.
Work order systems can be assigned to any third party. Find multiple trash companies that have different pick up dates so you are never waiting for the trash to be collected. Color-coded bins including for recycling will let the tenants know which bin to use so the trash is never over flowing and the property is tidy. With a built in work order system, you will be able to keep track of and document all interactions with your vendor, eliminating confusion and overlap.
Make sure the company you are working with has a strong i-link/ API for your website. The information entered into your rental software needs to be detailed and when you only need to enter it once there are fewer chances for errors. Additionally, having to duplicate the information in each individual portal you utilize leaves a higher risk for errors. A system that allows and aids the information to transfer directly from your system to all listings is much more effective.
The number of cars a group is bringing will now be a concern in attempts to regulate traffic. Guests must know how many cars they are allowed to park at your vacation rental properties. It may be worthwhile investing in a parking garage or alternative parking situations for your guests. A parking garage is a large investment, but, if it eliminates traffic complaints to your properties it may be worth it depending on the size of your company. If the investment for alternative parking is too big for your size then partnering to find safe alternative parking may be a good solution. Offering these services will be a great competitive advantage but be sure to have a secure, safe, and clean location to limit liability.
The $31billion portion of the Florida tourism economy that vacation rentals generate is not going to disappear, but now is the time to be extra vigilant about preparing for possible law changes. By staying on top of the rules and regulations there should be no drop-off in the number of tenants that are making bookings. There is no reason to be put off managing vacation properties in Florida as long as you stay organized and prepared.