Houseboat Rentals: Rent-It-Yourself or Use a Property Management Company?
Owning a houseboat is like owning vacation property. You probably only use it a limited amount of time during the year. Yet, you have expenses like loan payments, insurance, maintenance, and slip fees. So, you might considering renting it to cover some of these costs. Before deciding, you need to know what is involved in renting your houseboat, and whether or not you should hire a property management company to handle your houseboat rental.
# What Is Involved In Renting A Houseboat?
First, your houseboat should be in overall good shape and meet United States Coast Guard standards. You also need to have insurance that will cover your boat while it is rented. Your regular insurance may not cover when it is rented, and may not cover it at all if you do start renting out.
You should make sure that the galley has a full set of cookware, dinnerware, and cooking and dining utensils, but your renters should supply their own bedding, linens, and food. You might want to supply fishing gear.
Next, set your rent and your deposit. The rent will be determined mainly by the rent for comparable houseboats in the area where your houseboat is located. It should be enough to cover your expenses and repairs. Renting your houseboat means that it will get more use, and parts will have to be replaced sooner. This expense should be covered by the rent. The deposit should at least cover the amount of your insurance deductible.
Now, you are ready to market your houseboat. Potential renters will call with questions, and they will have to be screened. You will meet with renters, give them a tour, and show them how to operate your boat. If any problems arise, from clogged drains to engine problems, they will call you to remedy the issue. When their rental period is over, you will retrieve the keys, inspect your houseboat, return the deposit less the cost of any damages, and prepare it for the next renter. This is a lot of work, and that is why many people hire property management companies.
# What Does A Property Management Company Do?
Property management companies will cover a lot of the above tasks. Their whole business is based on renting property, and their success is based on making both owners and renters happy. They can guide you on what regulations you need to comply with to rent your houseboat, and they can provide you with information on insurance companies. They can help you set the rent and the deposit. They already have marketing programs set up to attract renters, and, while you may be busy when a potential renter calls to ask questions, they are available during business hours to take those calls. They can screen renters and provide 24/7 emergency maintenance and tows. They can also handle all after-rental tasks. The contract that you sign will detail what they will do and what your responsibilities are.
# What Do Property Management Companies Charge?
Property management companies receive a set percentage of the rent and may charge a leasing fee. The percentage of the rent that the property management company receives depends on the services they provide. When comparing the fees of property management companies, be sure the quality of the services provided to you and to renters are comparable. Ask for references and check reviews before you select a property management company.
Renting your houseboat is a way to cover some of the costs of ownership. Using a property management company makes the process easier for you.
This guest post contribution was made by Houseboat Magazine, specializing in the latest equipment, trends and locations for your houseboat. Digital and print subscriptions available.