USA TODAY US Edition
HOW TO AVOID A VACATION RENTAL ‘GOTCHA’
Do your homework before booking. “Ask if there will be any additional fees or charges before placing your deposit,” says Jeanne Dailey, founder and CEO of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, a property management company in Northwest Florida. Steer clear of a rental agency you’ve never heard of or that has bad online reviews. Reputable agencies don’t charge junk fees.
Watch the big fees. Change fees are the worst, ranging from several hundred dollars to the cost of the entire rental. They’re often unavoidable, but a good insurance policy can protect you if you need to change your vacation plans, says Devon Puryear, revenue manager for Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, S.C. “Travel insurance is often offered when renting a villa or home, usually through a third party,” he says.
Make them explain. Some fees, like the “convenience” fee and the “hot tub” fee, are so absurd that a company may have some trouble justifying them. If you’re confronted by a surprise fee, challenge it. You may be able to negotiate your way out of paying it.