Should You Rent the Cabin and How Much Can You Charge?

Old Cabin

Cottage rental rates continue to rise amid soaring demand for lakeside vacations. Cabin owners who previously ignored the income opportunity now wonder if they should rent the lake house for a few weeks to help cover the annual costs.

The market ultimately determines the maximum you can charge cottage renters, but there are a number of items to consider when deciding if you should rent the cottage. The rental rate has to makes sense for your situation.

Go through the following checklist, as it might turn out that renting the cottage to guests for a few weeks isn’t even worth the effort.

Consider cottage cleaning expenses

The cottage must be cleaned before your guests arrive and after they leave. Depending on how far you live from the cottage and whether you have the time to do the work, it might be best to pay someone to clean the property. That assumes you can find a reliable person or company to actually do the housekeeping.

Professional cleaning services can be expensive, so it is important to budget for the cost.

Advertising the cottage for rent isn’t cheap

Serious owners set up a website to show off all the features, availability, costs, and rules.

Putting a website together is much easier now than it was in the past, but still requires a lot of effort to get all the information uploaded. Responding to interested renters also takes up time.

Ideally the cottage will be booked quickly. If not, the newspaper and internet advertising costs can add up.

Renters add to wear, tear, and cottage repairs

We know that a cottage requires significant maintenance, even when it is used sporadically on our weekend visits and holidays.

Increasing the traffic bumps up the wear and tear. It’s also reasonable to assume that some renters won’t follow the rules on the use of the septic system, boats, and appliances.

The end result will be extra costs that could wipe out the profits.

Who pays the hydro, internet, and propane?

Most renters will want an all-inclusive deal. This means you have to account for your electricity, wifi, and water at the very least. Firewood and propane costs might also be included.

Don’t forget rental insurance coverage

The company that provides your cottage insurance coverage needs to know that you intend to rent out the property. Extra fees might be added to your policy premium to cover increased risks for liability, theft, and damage.

Rental agency fees can be high

It might be easiest to hand over the entire responsibility to a real estate person to book and manage the property, especially if you intend to make it available for most of the season.

A third party can be hired to do certain parts of the work, as well. This adds to your expenses, but the convenience is appealing.

How do you value your time?

The entire process might require significant time and energy. It is possible you will face unexpected surprises and have to make unplanned trips, so the value of your time must be considered.

Advertising, responding to questions, getting deposits, giving directions, meet and greet, and cleaning will be time consuming. Figure out what value that time has for you and your family.

Is it really worth the trouble to rent out the cabin if the effort is equivalent to a part-time minimum-wage gig?

Your neighbourhood caps the cabin rental rate

There is a limit to how much you will be able to charge, regardless of the costs you need to cover.  This depends on the location of your cottage, its size, and the comforts it offers.  

The bottom line on renting the cottage

Cottage owners want to make sure they cover added costs and generate enough extra cash to justify all the headaches associated with renting out the property.

Some cabin owners certainly make good money on rentals. Others might find that renting out the cottage simply isn’t worth the bother.

Still interested in making your cottage available for rent?

Check out the our comprehensive cottage rental tips for owners page.

By: Andrew Walker


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