Holiday Home Rentals?

Submitted: Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 10:18
ThreadID: 130052 Views:1933 Replies:3 FollowUps:4
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We are about to leave on our big lap of Australia in an off road camper trailer, we decided as a treat and a way to refresh ourselves and have a break from the camper a few days each month we would rent a cabin in a caravan park. I then had this idea as I was researching online.. We could rent out a whole house for around the same price as it costs us for a cabin in a caravan park (once we add on the kids etc. caravan parks can be a bit expensive!) So I started looking around and messaging some owners.

In my research I came across an alarming amount of people who had been ripped off by people claiming to have holiday home rentals, and as they are run privately with a owner/renter agreement and not anything 'legal and binding' this has now worried me, I looked back through my emails and the ads of the houses I had inquired about and realised a few seemed quite sus (only one picture of the outside, lot's of information but then asking for a larger deposit and bond than the others had asked for and also wanting the full payment made a month in advance).

I now feel like my bright idea is quite risky so I wanted to hear some advice/experiences. I mostly found the ads on gumtree, are there sites that actually check out these places to make sure they are legitimate?

I thought it would be really awesome to have a holiday home for the kids over Christmas/new years and Australia day etc. than be in a campground with partiers during peak public holidays etc. but I don't want to end up losing such a large amount of money when we are on a budget.

Have you ever rented a holiday home? How did you know they were legitimate? What was the process like? Did they require all of the deposit, bond then full payment around a month in advance of the booking? Do you have any recommendations of places you liked?

Any help would be much appreciated :)
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Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 11:18

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 11:18

I will try to answer your question form a different perspective, I own a holiday home that is rented out by a manager.

You will find there are homes that are rented by the owners and others that are rented by "professional" managers. I use the word professional loosley as there are some that are very loose.

In the last 8 years i have used three different managers and now have found one that i am satisfied with. I judge my satisfaction by not only that my property is looked after but holidayers also ar eprovided with a quality experience.

If you can these are the guidlines i would use;

Rent from Professional organisation, many real estate agents in holiday areas handle holiday rentals, these guys are governed by real estate rules. The agent holds all deposits, and payments in their trust account, the owner gets paid afterwards

If you are renting from non real estate manager only pay a deposit when making the booking. The full amount should only be paid just prior, 30 days as a guess.

Use one of the online booking websites, such as Stayz, you will find alot of these are also real estate agent run homes. These sites also let you pay by credit cards, paypal etc so there is some additional protection.

I know first hand that there are dodgy managers and that is form a owners point of view.

AnswerID: 589492

Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 11:40

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 11:40
Thank you Alan! that's exactly the info I'm interested in :) I will make sure to look for ones that use professional managers and will check reviews etc. to get a bit of a feel for if it seems dodgy or not!

I'm glad to hear from a owners perspective. I've seen a lot that specifically state they don't want school leavers or parties, which is very understandable, as a young family we want to keep away form the partiers that we come across on public holidays in campgrounds. I'm also finding they all want non-smokers and people without pets so this works pretty great for us as we do neither so I feel like we aren't as limited with the accommodation.

I am finding some seem to charge around $20 each per child which is of concern as my youngest is borderline age so some want to charge the extra and some don't (which makes it more costly) In caravan parks we can pay from $5-$15 for each child (usually just paying for 2/3 of our boys as one is usually classed as an 'infant'.

Some also charge on top of the tariff fee an extra fee for cleaning. We always clean up after ourselves in all motel/caravan park accommodation (take out rubbish, clean floors and dishes/kitchen/bathroom), Do they charge the fee regardless of if you clean up or only if it's not cleaned to satisfaction?

Do you have any tips on how to tell is the manager is dodgy? I guess it would be hard to tell. And what is a reasonable bond deposit? I've seen a few ask from $100-$300 upfront then the cleaning fee is deducted and anything else if it has been damaged then within a few days it is returned.

Thank you
FollowupID: 857393

Follow Up By: Alan S (WA) - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 12:36

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 12:36

We dont allow smoking or pets, yet when we use the house we take our dog, (our rules dont apply to us). The ban on pets is more of a liability/responsibilty reasons as to allow pets we would then need to ensure boundary fencing is appropriate.

Costs for kids etc vary from location and between managers, from memory mine is just a fixed amount per night up to the max number of occupants. But it varies based on time of year.

One thing that does differ between Caravan Park Cbins and many holiday homes is that not every thing is supplied. You will often need to supply your own linen in some Homes.

As far as cleaning again it varies, the general rule is that you leave the home as you found it, unlike a cabin or hotel room. In the case of my place there is an option to pay an additional cleaning fee in which case you can just walk out and leave it messy.

I also pay the manager for 2 hours cleaning in each booking, this is to make sure from a hygine point that things are done properly. what is not used is utilise to do extra stuff like cleaning windows etc.

As far as selecting a dodgy manager, a good sign is if they only take cash, chq or postal orders, provide little communication. As rental accomodation is a GST exempt service agents or owners dont need any ABN to claim back GST, so this means many do not run legitimate businesses.

I would look for a level of professionalism as a good guide, i.e you make a booking, they mail out a confirmation with payment details and other information such as bond requirements rules, tourism stuff for the area, you pay a reasonable deposit, say 10%, some will send out prior to the full payment a reminder. And after paying you get a receipt. A good sign will be if they take credit card. Credit cards for bonds are good as you dont actually have to hand over cash.


FollowupID: 857394

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 14:19

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 14:19
Hi Ash,

A few thoughts on renting.
Over peak periods like Christmas and new Year you will probably pay a much higher fee. That is certainly the case along the NSW coast.

Cleaning charges - these will cover things that you wouldnt normally do in the process of leaving a property that you have been in for just a few nights. Cleaning windows, washing curtains, kitchen cupboards, bathroom walls, garbage bins, gutters etc all come to mind.

We havent rented cottages in Oz but we recently had a couple of months in the UK and used a number of rental properties, all prebooked and prepaid for online through sites like AirBnB and commercial rental sites. Some required bonds, or a separate cleaning fee, some were managed by owners, others by pros. All were good to excellent. Using say, Airbnb you can pay using Paypal and the payment is only released to the owner after you have arrived at the property (from memory). Mostly you choose the size property you want depending on how many beds you need, and the properties you are offered are priced accordingly.

I would not go looking for a rental property on Gumtree - do a search on rental property and you should be able to locate a number of well run sites where you have a number of properties to choose from, with some protection about standards, payments etc built in. Most of these will also have feedback from previous occupants, which also may give you some idea about who and what you are dealing with. Airbnb operates in Australia and there will be other online sites here as well.

Have you checked out housesits? Have a look at aussiehousesitters, an online site that may have something to suit. Housesits usually dont cost you anything, although I think the majority of housesitters are retired grey nomads. As a regular user of housesitters I must admit that if I had to choose between a young family and a grey nomad couple I would probably choose the latter.

Hope that helps a bit, hope you find what you are looking for.


J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

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AnswerID: 589495

Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 14:35

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 14:35
I have looked at house sitting but there is a fee for those sites and most are singles or retired couples.

As a young family we wouldn't be offered much as 99% of the ads i've come across say no kids.

Which us dissapointing as if we did house sit my husband being young,energetic & handy could do all sorts of jobs around the property while I have some gardening experience (growing up with a mother who ran a garden center) and plenty of home maintenance experience (general household duties) as well as being able to give attention to much loved pets etc. But I do understand why most people don't want children around which is why I'd prefer to pay and rent out somewhere because most of the holiday homes would prefer to have families than partiers in their homes :) and since we are non-smokers with no pets there's so much available for us :) it's just a matter of not being ripped off by the dodgy ones.
FollowupID: 857398

Reply By: gelatr - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 22:28

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 22:28
I'll answer this from the perspective of an owner manager of a short term rental home. We use websites like TripAdvisor and Stayz that have actually verified our existence and whom have real reviews from real customers. I believe that something that legitimises the home and owners is important. I don't think it matters whether this is a professional manager or a professional website as long as you've got something that verifies the existence of the home before handing over your money.

We use to get a lot of business from gumtree however it is now rare to get bookings this way as the scammers have ruined this. You can verify homes advertised on gumtree by checking to see if they exist on Stayz of TripAdvisor. I'd ask for their advertisements on one of these main stream short term rental websites and if they aren't forthcoming I'd steer clear. As I said they have very strict verification policies (we had to show evidence of our title on one occasion).

As for house sitting we advertised our personal home on a home sitting website and we were inundated with applications. For us it turned into a fairly competitive process for the applicants.


AnswerID: 589504

Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 15:22

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 15:22
Thank you :) I have found most people feel comfortable with stayz. I'd much prefer it to gumtree etc. as it seems a lot safer! :)

As for the house sitting, we have found a lot of people say the same. people keep telling me to apply but I feel like what's the point, people want singles or grey nomads to house sit, they don't want young families so there's no point paying money to join any of the sites.
FollowupID: 857426

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