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Renting out your cottage? Make sure you are protected.

With summer in full swing, many people are considering renting out their cottage for a few days or weeks in hopes of generating some newfound revenues. In Canada, we are lucky to be able to experience 4 very different seasons and so there is something for everyone. What that means is that renting out your cottage property does not have to be limited to the Summer months! In fact, renters often look to the Fall in hopes of enjoying the changing colors and some lower prices.

No matter when you choose to rent your cottage, there are a few things you should do before your roll out the welcome mat.

1. Cottage Insurance - if you want to rent out your cottage, make sure to call your home insurance provider. Many insurers will void your coverage if they find out you are renting your cottage without their knowledge. This can be easily avoided by calling your insurer and making the necessary changes to your policy. Your insurance policy likely won't cover liability claims resulting from the rental of boats or other motorized vehicles and additional insurance may need to be purchased if you intend to allow renters to use them.

2. Vet Potential Renters - Simply put, some people won't take care of your property the way you would like. Think about what kind of people you are comfortable renting to.

3. Written Agreement - Before renters arrive, make sure that they have signed an agreement. The agreement should be easy to understand and outline the terms of a renters' stay (i.e. inviting guests to camp out and rules regarding use of boats and campfires)

4. Welcome Book - While you may know every aspect of your cottage and surrounding property, a renter, similar to a hotel guest will not. It is recommended that you leave them a handbook containing instructions on how to use anything that they may not be familiar with (i.e. wood stove, a water well, septic tank etc). The handbook should also outline things like where to find lifejackets and other safety equipment and what the proper procedure is to dispose of garbage. Helpful information like where to grocery shop and favorite coffee shops may also want to be included and you should also provide a reliable number for you to be reached at 24/7

5. Maintain the Cottage - Your renters should find your cottage in the same way you would like your renters to leave it at the end of their stay. Before you rent your cottage, you should tidy up, and make sure that all smoke detectors, appliances, windows, doors etc. are in good shape.

6. Normal Wear and Tear - Even the best renter's will cause reasonable wear and tear on the property. Expect that some repairs will need to be made before you rent or use the cottage again.

When done right, renting a cottage in Ontario is a win-win opportunity. The owner can earn some extra money and the renter gets to enjoy the beauty that this province has to offer.


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