Four Things You Need to Know Before Renting a House
By Felicia Zammit-McMann, Wedding Connections of the Hudson Valley
Photos: Courtesy of Kim Rose (The Rose Hill Estate)
With barn and farm weddings so popular these days, it’s no wonder that Hudson Valley Airbnb rentals are also in huge demand. For many couples, offering a unique experience for their family, friends and guests is key, and especially for New York City couples, the lure of “upstate” is attractive.
Marybeth Boruta, owner and coordinator of Apple Barn Weddings and proprietor of several Airbnb rentals, says what makes the Hudson Valley—particularly northern Hudson Valley—so appealing is that it’s just far enough away to have that “destination wedding” feel without the hassle and expense that can come with traditional destination weddings.
She has some great advice for anyone wanting to book an Airbnb property for any of their wedding-related events such as a bachelor/bachelorette party, day-after brunch or a place for their guests to stay as an alternative to a traditional hotel.
A rental property is not a hotel room. Boruta says one of the most common mistakes first-time renters make is that they assume a rental is just like staying in a hotel room. Unlike a hotel, where breakfast might be provided every morning and your room is cleaned every day, rental properties don’t offer that. You are in charge of your mess. If you have garbage, you need to throw it out. If you leave your room or house a mess, you need to clean it up. Remember, this is someone’s house. Yes, it will be cleaned after you leave, of course, but daily cleaning while you are there won’t happen. If you want breakfast (or lunch or dinner), you’ll need to fend for yourself. However, unlike most hotel rooms, many rentals have kitchens complete with refrigerators that you can fully stock with whatever you like.
She also says it’s extremely important to read and review the house rules before, during and after your visit. If house rules state no dirty dishes are to be left in the sink, clean them. If house rules state all garbage must be cleaned from the house and put in designated bins, do it.
Make sure the rental property is big enough for your needs. If you rent a two-bedroom house that can sleep four people, but you are having eight people join you, you need to rent a house to accommodate eight people, not four. Whatever the listing says the house can sleep is as many people as you can have. Period. No exceptions!
Just like with public spaces, there are fire codes set in place to protect not only the homeowner, but also the tenants. If something horrific were to happen while you were staying at the property, and you had more guests than allowed, there could be serious consequences for the homeowner, not to mention your guests.
Be open and honest with what you plan to do at the house. Remember, many rentals are in residential areas with people who live next door, and you need to be respectful of that. Boruta says to use the house for what it’s intended, based on your conversations with the proprietor prior to the booking. You can’t tell them at the time of booking that you want it for a quiet weekend getaway, then pitch tents in the backyard and throw a party for 100 people. There are noise ordinances in town, and again, the homeowner can face serious consequences, even be shut down, if rules are not followed.
If a big party is something you want to have, speak to the homeowner to see if arrangements can be made for that at a different location. For example, on one of Boruta’s properties, she has a beautiful barn that can be rented out for such an occasion, for an additional fee.
Reviews are given for both the renter and the rentee. Yes, as a guest, you are being judged. As the rentee, you can go online and leave comments and reviews about the home and the proprietor…but they can do the same regarding you. A proprietor doesn’t want bad reviews because then no one will book with them, but you don’t want a bad review, either, because no one will rent to you in the future. It’s an even exchange.
Have you rented an Airbnb for any of your wedding-related festivities? What was your experience like? We’d love to know. Send us a note at Felicia@WeddingConnectionsHV.com. █