An Insider’s Guide to Ski Leases: Tips and Advice

apres-ski-club     heavenly-condo-rental

Ski Leases for families and groups. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One.

I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease either for your family or for your group of ski and snowboarding buddies.

When I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.

Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up quite a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat with many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.

What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.

(1) – you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family or group for friends for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families/friends that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease.

(2) – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost. A good resource is to search for Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals available as a seasonal ski lease listed on SnowPals rentals page.

(3) – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members”. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. SnowPals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases organized by various groups and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease membership opportunities. For those of you looking for ski leases in areas outside of Tahoe, you could check TGR, EpicSki forums or Craigslist for postings.

The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on SnowPals for full season (typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $700 all the way to $2500. If you’re single and can spend just $700 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $23.34 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and get the chance to ski/ride fresh tracks/powder when resorts start up their lifts. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless; how many times have you been stuck in traffic or frustrated with locating free parking spaces? In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.

So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is a family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality family time to enjoy our time together.

So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on in a clear and concise written agreement. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:

  • What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
  • Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
  • Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
  • Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
  • Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.

So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is to browse available ski lease memberships organized by families or group of skiers/snowboarders to share a ski cabin. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, EpicSki, SnowHeads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.

Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and to reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.

For rental property and ski lease tips/guide/how to, read ..

* Read advice and tips on how to draft effective rental property/lease agreements to protect your rental property.

* Looking for a good value advertising alternative to Airbnb and VRBO listings for Lake Tahoe area niche rental market that will get you results? Read this.

* Are you part of a family or group ski lease cabin share and would like to use online Calendars and Management Tools to help you coordinate, and have a central point to communicate with ski lease members? Read this.

* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease, have a place to store your gear and to expand your circle of ski, ride buddies? List your ski lease or if you are a property owner, advertise your vacation rental. Browse available ski leases to join. Planning a Lake Tahoe getaway or looking to lease a rental? Browse Tahoe rentals.

* New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and to powder resorts in Utah, Colorado, British Columbia, etc.

Read more about ski leases and/or list yours

Take care and enjoy!

Joe Woo is SnowPals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. He lives with his family in the North Bay.

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Property Owners: Tips on How to Increase Bookings for your Airbnb or VRBO Listing!

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Property Owner’s Guide & Tips on How for Increase Bookings to your Airbnb or VRBO Listing!

No time wasted here so let’s get to it:

(1) Professional photography highly recommended – this is the most important factor if you’d like to attract renters over other listings in the same geographical area. Invest the money to hire a pro photographer to take photos of your rental property especially to feature the amenities that make your rental stands out from the rest, be it hot tub, lake views, prime location, etc.

Even if you have a tight budget, consider hiring an ‘up and coming’ photographer from Craigslist to take professional looking photos of your vacation home/ski lease property. And yes, it’s true: “a picture is worth a thousand words” and photos are priceless when it comes to instant appeal which will get you more clicks on your rental listing which equates to more booking inquiries.

If you considered yourself an amateur photographer and have an eye for optimum lighting, composition, choice angles, go at it but here are some basic photography tips to get started from www.liv.rent and www.fitsmallbusiness.com/real-estate-photography-tips.

Also, be sure to implement tips on how best to decorate your rental property/ski lease for maximum appeal via visual tips on Pinterest.

Like to see an example of a photo that sells it? Here’s what we called a ‘money shot’ because yes, it brings in the money 😉

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Two prime examples of listings with stellar photos:

* http://www.snowpals.org/leases/latitude-39-lodge-lease/

* http://www.snowpals.org/rentals/tahoe-vista-beautiful-6-bedroom-ski-lease-sleep-14/

(2) Take time to write a clear and concise description of your rental/ski lease listing and be sure to include things such as:

* amenities? what makes your rental property unique? prime location at the base of Squaw? hot tub and sauna?
* how many people can your property sleep/accommodate? How many beds and baths total?
* location and proximity of your property in relation to points of interests in the area: resorts, restaurants, grocery markets, etc.
* is this a family type rental or a group type rental?
* duration of rental/lease: daily, monthly or winter seasonal lease?
* rental/lease rates: discount if booked for longer term? Security deposit? Cleaning fee? Snow plow service included? Utilities included?
* how many covered parking spaces? flat driveway?
* pet friendly? other restrictions?
* for group ski lease, guest fees? full time residence ok?
* for ski lease group, it’s good idea to describe age range of people in the group and preferences for social activities, apres ski happy hour, family type shared meals, etc
* best way to contact you: by email, phone, text or?
* what basic information would you like from potential renters or ski lease members to provide as part of initial email contact so you can get an idea of who they are? Ask renters to share something about themselves such as profession, LinkedIn profile, FB, Instagram, etc.

(3) Make use of well written rental agreements:

Your rental agreement is essential for setting expectations between you and your guests/renters/lease members! It provides a sense of security for all parties involved, and defines the rules and policies for the property prior to their stay. Some key items to include in rental/lease agreements:

* Dates
* Rates/Payment
* Maximum Occupancy
* Cancellation Policies
* House Rules (very important to be specific)
* Check In/Out procedures (be clear & specific)
* Damage Policy

Consider having your renters/lease members read and sign House Rules and rental policies to show that they clearly understood your rental terms prior to their stay. For example, include in your policy things like where guests can smoke, where they can’t smoke (a fine is levied if they are caught smoking where they aren’t allowed to). Consider including rules and policies on pets, occupancy and type of use (no wild parties, etc).

Visit the following sites to view some examples/templates of Lake Tahoe area lease/rental agreements/terms/contracts/policies:

Template 1

Template 2

Template 3

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Template 5

(4) Complete a rental market research ‘due diligence’: ask yourself.. ‘have I priced my rental or ski lease competitively for the current rental market for my geographical area my rental is located in?’

Do some market research and make sure to price ‘apples to apples’ comparison based on rental location, number of bedrooms, baths, amenities, square footage, etc. If you don’t nail your rental pricing competitively, you won’t get as many rental inquiries no matter how pretty your rental photos look.

Now to rental market research; first off browse on our rentals/private ski lease listings and/or browse group/family share ski lease listings to get an idea of what prices are like for comparable rentals/ski leases.

Next, perform keyword searches on Airbnb, VRBO and Craigslist among other rental sites to get an idea of what is the current market rate for rentals/ski leases.

(5) Lastly, leverage your social connections (before you submit your listing) by asking family and friends to give you feedback on ways to improve your rental/ski lease listing for clarity, conciseness and appeal.

More rental property and ski lease tips ..

* Read advice and tips on how to draft effective rental property/lease agreements to protect your rental property.

* Looking for a good value advertising alternative to Airbnb and VRBO listings for Lake Tahoe area niche rental market that will get you results? Read this.

* Are you part of a family or group ski lease cabin share and would like to use online Calendars and Management Tools to help you coordinate, and have a central point to communicate with ski lease members? Read this.

* Looking to create a ski lease members group to share the cost of a ski house/cabin lease, have a place to store your gear and to expand your circle of ski, ride buddies? List your ski lease or if you are a property owner, advertise your vacation rental. Browse available ski leases to join. Planning a Lake Tahoe getaway or looking to lease a rental? Browse Tahoe rentals.

* New to SnowPals? Join us to expand your circle of ski and ride buddies and Tahoe ride-share contacts for powder trips to Tahoe and to powder resorts in Utah, Colorado, British Columbia, etc.

Upcoming

* Join our winter season kickoffs throughout the SF Bay Area for drinks + eats. Get stoked by watching ski/ride film screenings. Join our engagingly fun events to connect with skiers, boarders for winter season ride-sharing to/from Tahoe resorts.

♥ Share this page with friends and family via twitterfacebook. List your ski lease or vacation rental. Browse more ski leases or vacation rentals.

 

 

tags: airbnb, vrbo listing tips, advertising tips

Tahoe Area: Good Value Listing / Advertising Alternative to VRBO and Airbnb

vrbo airbnb alternative listing advertising lake tahoe

Lake Tahoe Area Ski Leases and Vacation Rentals: SnowPals is a Good Value Listing / Advertising Alternative to VRBO and Airbnb

About SnowPals.. we have been connecting busy SF Bay Area snow-sports enthusiasts together to share skiing, snowboarding experiences and to share ski leases / to book Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals for the last 21 years since 1999.

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Advertise on SnowPals by listing your Tahoe rental, seasonal ski lease or family / group members ski lease share to get results.

Feedback from property owners who have listed with us:

“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay.

“I think SnowPals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of SnowPals. We actually found this ski lease last year on SnowPals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $40 listing fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks SnowPals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if SnowPals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo | Page down to read more feedback from property owners, ski lease groups and families who have listed on SnowPals.

Are you looking for a good value alternative to listing your vacation rental or ski lease on Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey or HomeAway? We offer a simple and low $40 ad listing fee; notably we do not charge renters and we’ve been connecting property owners with renters since 1999.

 

Are you not getting noticed because your listing is on sites next to thousands of other properties? What does it matter if your target audience can not find you?

SnowPals’ listing is affordable, user friendly, and niche targeted to Lake Tahoe vacation rentals and ski leases. We’ve been helping vacation rental owners increase their booking referrals since 1999 by connecting SF Bay Area professionals who enjoy snow sports with Tahoe area property owners to book vacation rentals and ski lease organizers looking for seasonal ski lease members.

For 21 years, SnowPals have been connecting San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors to Tahoe together for outdoor activities and snow sports. SnowPals’ 8,230 members list (as of October 2019) grows yearly and we have a 16,000+ audience reach for social media, newsletter list and new visitors to our website; the chart below is a screenshot of SnowPals’ visitor statistics from Google Analytics:

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list on SnowPals to get results

Get results: increase your vacation rental bookings by advertising on SnowPals to reach your Lake Tahoe rentals target audience.

How Much Does It Cost?

For group and family ski lease share listings: we have a simple listing fee of $40 for the entire ski season (until April 30) for ski lease advertising; submit your listing at http://www.snowpals.org/leases | Browse Ski Lease Listings.

For vacation rental or seasonal lease rental advertising: the listing fee is $40 for seven consecutive months or $60 for 12 consecutive months (which breaks down to $5 per month ad rate); submit your vacation rental or seasonal lease rental listing at http://www.snowpals.org/rentals | Browse Vacation Rentals & Seasonal Lease Rentals.

Comparison of Airbnb & VRBO Advertising / Listing Fees

AirBnB listing fees: Takes 3% of the overall rental price (plus added fees) as their charge. This includes credit card processing fees also. (note: guests are apparently charged 6-12% of the booking as a fee to them, so keep this in mind when pricing your home compared to your competition).

VRBO listing fees: They have the option of no listing fee and 10% fee per booking. This includes the credit card processing fees also. You can also choose to pay a yearly fee starting at $349 for the year. It says there’s a 0% fee, but it’s a bit misleading since you still have to pay for credit card processing. So in reality it’s a 10% fee with no yearly fee or a 3% with $349/yr. (or more depending on plan).

SnowPals is a good value alternative to listing on Airbnb and VRBO for the Lake Tahoe area; list your vacation rental or ski lease to get booking referrals. To get an idea of what people are listing; browse vacation rentals and ski leases.

Are you considering turning your home or vacation rental property into a seasonal winter ski lease?

Read up on Key Tips for Drafting Ski Lease Property Rental Agreements.

Reviews And Feedback From People Who Have Listed With Us

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== The following are feedback/reviews from ski lease/vacation rental advertisers who have listed with SnowPals who sent in their feedback directly instead of posting to Facebook. ==

“Another year, another house filled! Will we ever have continuity of ski lease members? Probably not. Thank you SnowPals for making the worst part of ski season as easy as possible.” – Malcolm; listed: Alpine Meadows ski lease. Ski lease filled on 11/10/2019.

“I highly recommend using SnowPals to post your available ski lease. I listed my ski lease to look for 2 more ski lease members for my ski lease and it worked perfectly within 1 week of posting. Thanks Snow-Pals!” -Caroline, listed: Tahoe City Ski Lease. Two membership spots filled on 10/9/2019.

“We had our place posted on Airbnb as a Winter Ski Lease and on other online listings for about 4 months and maybe had 3-4 inquiries. Within 1 day of posting our chalet for winter ski lease rental on SnowPals, we had immediate inquiries and we had it leased within a couple of weeks. Tim is great to work with and made the process super easy. I will definitely continue to use SnowPals listing!” – Margie, property owner of Tahoe City Chalet. 10/2/2019; you can also read this review on SnowPals Facebook Page to verify.

“SnowPals has been a huge help in finding the last few member of our ski lease this year. Not only does the service act as a recruiting tool, it is a great resource for members to see lease specifics and photos of the house even after they have signed up. Creating a listing was easy, and personally I thought the advertising support was extremely responsive to emails. Thanks for offering a great service.” – Jonas of Truckee New Luxury House 11/16/2018

“I’ve been a member of Snow Pals since it started. For the last two years I have been using the cabin share ad listing on SnowPals to fill vacancies in my seasonal rental. For the money involved this is a great deal as it targets a very direct market. It’s incredible that so many Bay Area snow sports enthusiasts get together in this manner. Highly recommended.” – John W. of Donner Lake Cabin Share 10/5/2018

“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay 10/1/2018

“Thanks to your wonderful website, our cabin is now full for the 2018-19 ski season. This is our 6th season advertising our ski lease on SnowPals. I had about 35 people contact me for the listing this year. I don’t know how you they do it, but with SnowPals we get only professional folks and most of them people familiar with snow country. I had tried craigslist and pretty much just got people who wanted to pay $100 and have someplace to lay their head, and could they make the $100 payment in two payments. When I switched to Snowpals.org I found almost exclusively professional working people who had no trouble paying the full lease membership fee and who appreciates a nice, uncrowded place, which is how we do our cabin. THANKS!!” – JoAnn M. of Alpine Meadows Luxury Ski Lease 09/10/2018

“Snowpals ski lease listing is the best for the Tahoe area lease and rental market advertising! It’s well worth the $40 listing fee which is comparatively very cheap. I very much appreciate all you guys do in attracting folks who share a passion for snow sports.” – Christine S. of Tahoe Donner Truckee Ski Lease 9/6/2018

“Thank you Snowpals. I have listed my vacation rental property for the last 4 years with great results. The results from Snowpals advertising brings me good responsible renters every year. I only list with Snowpals now.” – Randy S. of North Tahoe Home Rental 9/6/2018

“I’ve listed my ski lease ads on Snowpals over the past several years. The ads have helped me greatly in filling the memberships in my ski annual ski leases. They have also given me the opportunity to meet and get to know and create some great friendships over the years!” – Jack D. of Lake View Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/4/2018

“Our Snowpals ski lease ad listing worked great. We posted the ad on a Wednesday, and had filled the last 4 spots in our house within 6 days. We had plenty of responses which allowed us to be selective and ensure a good fit for the house. We would definitely use it again. Thanks!” – Kelle & Marc of Great Donner Lake Ski Lease 12/5/2017

“Snowpals offer a great ski lease listing service! I was uncertain at first about whether we’ll actually find someone we wanted to share a ski lease with, however lots of people ended up approaching me of all ages and backgrounds. Most of those seemed like they would be a good fit, and it only took me a single meeting with one of the first responders to decide it would be awesome to share a lease with. I give SnowPals a rating of 10/10; would re-list next year if we need people to join our ski lease!” Jaco R. of Heavenly Kirkwood Ski Lease 11/18/2017

“Listing my ski lease on Snowpals helped us fill the remaining 5 spots with cool people (and great skiers, even one woman who has trained with the US ski team!). It’s better than posting on Craigslist, because all of the people who reach out are actual ski/snowboard enthusiasts. Would definitely recommend, and $40 is totally worth it–just put it into your ski lease budget–a drop in the bucket for great ski members additions!” – Alan A. of Ski Palace Tahoe City Ski Lease 11/16/2017

“I can’t say enough about how great my experience with Snowpals was! Snowpals made it easy and logistically possible to find cool ski / snowboarders for our house!! You know the people you find and who find your listing are like minded, and love to be in the snow! The vetting process is so much faster, and it’s a great community to get involved with.” – Michelle M. of Squaw Valley Ski Lease 11/08/2017

“This is our second season using Snowpals to find the last couple members of our ski lease. It’s easy to post and we end up getting tons of responses! We’ve had so much success that every person we’ve found so far on Snowpals has joined the cabin for the next season! Definitely worth $40 ad fee!” – Miriam M. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 11/02/2017

“For the second year in a row I found great tenants in less than a week on Snowpals aka SkiPals. So much more efficient than using Craigslist, which attracts all the international people on visas, and Airbnb, which attracts weekend rentals. Will continue to be my go to Snowpals to list my ski lease.” – Kathleen M. of Kings Beach Ski Lease 10/26/2017

“I’ve now used Snowpals two years in a row to fill my ski lease and it’s been an amazingly smooth process! There are so many fun people who share my enthusiasm for ski season – and are all courteous, helpful, clean, and overall a blast to hang out with. I can’t imagine going back to trying to hunt down unsure friends! Snowpals is now my go-to for filling my ski lease every year.” – Agatha of Heavenly Four Bedroom Ski In Out Ski Lease 10/5/2017

“We’ve used SnowPals for the last couple of seasons and compared to other listings it’s brought in the best leads by far. Keeping our listing up-to-date is always easy, and this year we didn’t bother to list anywhere else… it’s not worth the time or trouble vs relying on SnowPals.” – Robert H. of Beautiful NEW Truckee Luxury House 10/2/2017

“I think Snowpals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of Snowpals. We actually found this ski lease last year on Snowpals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $35 fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks Snowpals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if Snowpals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo 9/26/2017

“I am please to let you know that we filled our ski lease in Tahoe Donner. I am sold on Snowpals! Last time we were in the market for a replacement, we advertised on CraigsList and this was a much more pleasant experience! Thanks for your help.” – Laurie B. of Beautiful Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/22/2017

“Tim and the Snow Pals’ team have made filling our ski lease drop dead simple. One post and we fill our lease right up.” – Micaiah F. of Meyers Ski Lease 9/18/2017

“We have successfully used Snowpals to fill a few vacancies in our house over the years (pre-season and mid-season). We received multiple responses in a short amount of time, and nobody flaked (unlike experience with other sources). Snowpals is definitely worth the minimal advertising investment.” – Jen W. of Carnelian Bay Ski Lease 11/30/2016

“Snowpals is a great site to get quality referrals for our vacation rental. I received more than 23 different enquirers and had my vacation rental condo booked for as a ski lease within a month of posting. I am pleased with the professional renter we were connected with and look forward to using SnowPals again next year.” – Kathleen M. of Northstar Condo Vacation Rental 11/25/2016

“Thanks to Snowpals we went from 5 members and an expensive, empty house to a dynamic group of 11 consisting of regular and weekdays only members in about a month’s time. A $40 listing fee saved the original members over $1200 each, and we all made new friends!” – Kate S. of South Lake Tahoe Ski Lease with Hot Tub 11/24/2016

“Snowpals is a great resource which helped us to find additional members for our ski lease. We now have a fun winter to look forward to with a great group of skiers from San Francisco. Snowpals’ website was easy to use, and ad placement just took a few minutes and we got tons of responses. I would definitely use Snowpals again.” – Alexis R. of Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 11/21/2016

“I was astounded by how much high quality interest I got through Snowpals – I could have easily filled my lease twice over.  Tim at Snowpals was very responsive; great experience overall, would use it again and would be happy to recommend to others.” – Anne R. of Tahoe City Ski Lease Memberships 10/27/2016

“Snowpals saved our winter this year! We wanted to organize a ski lease but had friends who were unsure if they could commit. We listed our lease on snowpals in mid September and were able to fill it by the end of September. And the people we met are amazing! I would highly recommend using snowpals for anyone trying to organize a ski lease.” – Agatha B. of Heavenly Ski-in/out Ski Lease 9/28/2016

“Snowpals is just what you need if you are trying to fill your ski lease with quality members.  I posted an ad on Snowpals, and within 9 days I had received a dozen inquiries.  We were able to close out our roster quickly and conveniently.  I will use the site again for certain.” – Alex P. of Alpine Meadows Year Round Family Ski Lease 9/17/2016

“Thanks for running Snowpals’ website. Met some of my best friends on here when I found my first ski lease. This year we advertised on Snowpals and filled our ski lease memberships quickly.” – Justin H. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 9/20/2016

“Snowpals helped us find amazing families and fill our lease more quickly this year than we ever have in the past!  I highly recommend snowpals for anyone who is looking to fill a few spots in their ski house!” – John H. of Tahoe Donner Family Ski Lease 9/12/2016

“Thanks for listing my ski lease quickly – in the last 10 days I got a lot of people who where interested, so now I finalized and we’re full 🙂 !  Thanks again for your help and for SnowPals, it’s great to get this done so quickly!” – Jan V., Tahoe Donner Luxury Cabin

“We found 4 great folks via Snowpals to fill up our ski lease. Totally worth the $35 ad listing fee. It usually took us longer to fill our lease with another listing service we had to pay a higher listing fee than Snowpals’. Thanks!” Mike M., Carnelian Bay Ski Cabin

“Last year we advertised on both Snowpals and Craigslist.  The Craigslist responders were to a person looking for the cheapest bed possible, with one scammer who wanted to come look at the house when we weren’t there, and tried to get all sorts of information from me. The Snowpals responders (last year and this year), were professional, business owners, professors, and high tech people. We will certainly be back next year!”- JoAnn M, ski lease organizer, Alpine Meadows Ski Lease

“I’m very happy with the quality of people referrals your site attracts. Keep up the good work!” – Sandy W., owner of Truckee Rental House

“It was awesome posting on Snowpals! Within 36 hours, I received a bunch of responses in my inbox, and our listing closed fairly quickly. All the emails were super nice and friendly, and many responses were from people already familiar with the Tahoe area and experienced in previous ski leases, which was a huge plus!” – Cindy L., Tahoe City Ski Lease

“SnowPals is a far better resource than Craigslist or the local papers. For several years running I’ve managed to find excellent full season renters in a very short time and with minimal hassle. Thanks Snowpals!” — Chris K., Markleeville homeowner

“We got about twice as many queries from SnowPals as from Craigslist. The queries seemed from ‘more normal’ people, and it was nice to not have to hit renew every few days.” – Trent G., Donner Lake Ski Lease

“Advertising my ski lease on Snowpals was quick, easy and highly effective! In no time, I had responses from really nice, high-caliber potential ski cabin members. I filled my spots in no time with people I really like, who are a great fit for the cabin.” – Heather D. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease

* Read additional reviews from people who have advertised / listed their Tahoe vacation rental and ski lease on SnowPals’ Facebook page:

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Tips for Drafting Ski Lease Property Rental Agreements

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Lake Tahoe property owners, are you looking into turning your home or vacation rental property into a seasonal winter ski lease? Consider the following tips when drafting your lease agreement ..

Tips for Drafting Ski Lease Property Rental Agreements
The following article was written by David B. Cronheim, an attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA

It’s that time of year again. Winter is just around the corner and skiers and snowboarders are beginning to book their winter getaways. Most homeowners and real estate agents are focused on getting their properties ready for the busy ski season ahead. Understandably, the rental agreement they use to rent those properties is often one of the last things they consider. After all, many have a form agreement – often the same one they have used for years – and use it for every rental. The importance of a good lease is often overlooked.

Why should a homeowner or real estate agent care about having a well-drafted lease, particularly when the chances of litigation are remote? Simple. A good lease affords powerful protections. Basic issues like nightly rates, cleaning fees, and damage deposits are only a small part of any good rental agreement.  A lease sets expectations in advance, can prevent problems before they arise and puts the law more clearly on the owner’s side in the event of a dispute. Even if you don’t plan on suing any of your guests, by setting expectations before arrival you may be able to deter destructive conduct. Unruly groups inclined to break the rules may look elsewhere if they understand the potential financial consequences.

It’s also good general practice to communicate clearly with potential guests. Commit conversations to writing via e-mail, but choose your words carefully. You’re not trying to sneak something past a potential guest, but rather trying to set expectations.

DRAFTING TIPS

A carefully drafted lease is key to successfully renting out a ski house.
Before discussing how to draft a better lease, it is important to note that a lease is not technically a contract. It is similar to a contract and generally interpreted under contract law principles, but because it is also a conveyance of real property (albeit a temporary one), a lease has some important areas of distinction from a normal contract. The most important distinction is that a rental guest is not merely a party to a contract, but a tenant afforded certain rights under state landlord-tenant laws.

It is worth noting that an effective agreement doesn’t need to be long. In fact some of the best agreements are simple, but on-point. However, there are certain elements which all rental agreements should include. These components may seem obvious, but their nuances are often overlooked. Below are some tips for drafting a better lease for your vacation rental.

Term

Every lease agreement should specify a rental period. Be specific. Instead of using just a date, use a date and time. State check-in and check-out times clearly. This is particularly important because houses are often rented by two groups back to back. List a morning time for check-out and an afternoon time for check-in. Well-drafted leases often also include an hourly fee for late check-outs. You don’t have to assess the fee, but when guests know it’s hanging over their heads, they’re more likely to leave on time.

Rate

Clearly state the rental rate. Even if the rate is calculated nightly, include a sum total. Be sure to note whether the rate includes things like taxes, cleaning fees, or surcharges. Have the guest initial next a grand total. Being clear upfront isn’t only important from a legal standpoint, it’s good business. Guests will feel blindsided by hidden fees, often leaving a bad taste and lessening the chances the guest becomes a repeat customer.

Security Deposit vs. Insurance

Many sophisticated property owners or real estate agents will give guests a choice between a security deposit and rental insurance. Providing this option can make your property more attractive because many guests are wary of putting down a large damage deposit. Some guests may have experienced unscrupulous owners who wrongfully retained all or some of their deposit. Still others may view the deposit as part of the overall cost of the rental, even though it will be returned. Either way, be sure to protect yourself by requiring one or the other.

If you decide to go with a security deposit, be explicit that the guest is liable for any damage to the property regardless of whether it exceeds the security deposit. Withholding a security deposit is merely your first recourse. Should a guest do serious damage to the property, you want to reserve the right to sue (or threaten to sue) them to recover for your loss.

Tailor the Agreement to Your Property

A one-size fits all, “fill in the blanks” lease from the internet is not the best way to maximize your protections. Make sure that your agreement is tailored to your property. Every property is unique and has unique challenges. Consider issues you may have had in the past and try to anticipate future problems. For example, are guests damaging your wooden floors by clomping around in ski boots? Include a clause prohibiting ski boots in the house.

Do you have a specific list of “House Rules” that you post somewhere on the property or give to guests before or upon arrival? Incorporate these rules by reference into your lease and attach them as an exhibit. Require guests to agree to abide by the rules. Incorporating your house rules transforms polite suggestions into legal duties.

Keep it Simple – No Overly Long or Complex Agreements!

An agreement that is too long, complicated or written in “legal-ese” can scare off potential guests. Mean what you say and say what you mean, but say it as simply and clearly as possible. If you find yourself using phrases like “party of the second part” and “inter alia,” start over.

It’s important to keep in mind that a good lease does not have to be long. Each of the specific issues discussed in this article can be accomplished in a well-written sentence or two apiece. Keep it simple so guests understand what they are signing. They are less likely to object to you enforcing your rights under the lease if they understood your rights and their duties when they entered into the agreement.

Specific Provisions to Consider Including

Liquidated Damages Clause

Liquidated damages clauses can be a powerful tool. State with specificity that if guests do something they shouldn’t, a certain fee will apply. The fee should be reasonable and roughly approximate damage. For example, include a provision that failure to replace the cover on a hot tub or to take out the trash will result in certain deductions from the security deposit.

It is important to remember that these provisions cannot be penalties. The law disfavors penalty clauses. Courts generally will not enforce them, so be sure to tie the liquidated damages provision to a reasonable estimate of the damage. A fee of $2,000 for failing to take out the trash won’t be enforceable, but $50 probably would be.

No Refund for Bad Weather

You’ll likely want to include a provision disclaiming responsibility for unfavorable weather. If it rains or there’s no snow, you want to make sure the lease is still in effect. No one can control the weather, but you can control who takes the risk of bad weather (hint: not you!).

Right of Entry of Homeowner at Reasonable Time

If you’re concerned about unruly guests and want to be able to check on your house during the guests’ stay, consider a clause permitting you to enter for a reasonable purpose. Include what those reasonable purposes may be.

Rental Only to Family Groups

If you don’t want to rent to groups of college kids throwing a keg party, don’t. Insert a provision which states you only rent to family groups. Then make the lease signer represent that the group is a family group. You can always remove this clause if the circumstances warrant.

Occupancy Caps

In conjunction with restricting your rental to family groups, a maximum occupancy can deter the type of destructive guests you don’t want. Include a per guest fee for overcapacity, should you discover it. Deduct that fee from the deposit if you discover guests exceeding the maximum occupancy.

Representations and Warranties

Be careful not to promise something you don’t have. If that hot tub hasn’t worked in years, don’t list it as an amenity on your promotional materials.

Immediate Termination of Lease and Repossession by Homeowner in Event of Breach

A recurring problem facing homeowners is what to do when they discover unruly conduct at their property while the guests are still there. Consider a provision that allows you to immediately regain possession of the property for a material breach of the lease. It’s important to note, however, that you’d technically still need to go to court to evict the guests because they’re tenants, but you can always tell the unruly guests to vacate before you’re forced to get the sheriff to serve an eviction notice.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The most important thing a strong lease can do for a property owner is save them money. Having a professionally drafted lease is a small upfront cost that pays off over the long term. A good lease can put arguments to rest before they turn nasty by setting expectations in advance. A clear, concise agreement which protects your interests is a valuable tool for any homeowner. After all, if a dispute does occur, you have your answer. It’s all right there in black and white.

Author David B. Cronheim, Esq. is the Chief Legal Correspondent for First Tracks! Online and is an attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus, PA in Bridgewater, N.J. For more information or for assistance in drafting or updating a vacation rental agreement, please feel free to contact the author at . Source: http://www.firsttracksonline.com

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