There has never been a more important time to know the facts between what separates
vacation rental property owners from landlords. The responsibility to the guest or tenant varies significantly between the two relationship types.
Our sister company, CENTURY 21 Meyer Real Estate (referred to affectionately as C21 Meyer), offers long-term rentals to prospective tenants. These rentals focus on securing long-termed rental contacts for 180 days or longer. In these cases, the tenant pays no tax.
Long-term rental leases are governed under the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA). URLTA provides certain rights to the tenant and sets forth due process for eviction of a tenant, which begins with serving a “Notice to Quit,” followed seven days later with an appeal through the Circuit Court for eviction and up to a 30-day waiting period for the sheriff’s department to obtain the proper paperwork to remove the non-paying tenant from the property.
In contrast to C21 Meyer’s focus, Meyer Vacation Rentals’ goal is to secure short-term guest bookings for a timeframe of 180 days or less. Short-term rental guests pay lodging tax, which Meyer, in turn, remits to the appropriate government agency as transient lodging tax.
All Meyer guests sign a license agreement either electronically or in person upon check in.
In addition to Meyer Guests, any Owner Referral bookings also sign the License Agreement. It is important to note that any owner reservation or owner guest reservation — both non-rent paying reservations — do not sign a license agreement.
This license agreement, unlike a lease agreement, does not provide the guest any rights to “real property” and only obligates them to abide by the policies and procedures Meyer sets forth.
In the rare occasion a guest does not abide by the agreed-upon policies and procedures set forth in the license agreement, Meyer reserves the right to revoke the license and evict the guest immediately. On occasion, we have had situations where a guest claims protection under URLTA and appeals for protection from eviction.
Ordinances No. 1809 in Gulf Shores and No. 2016-1220 in Orange Beach explicitly state seven reasons, all of which are stated within Meyer’s license agreement, to remove any guests or persons present in the property. The last of these reasons is a guest failing to check out by the time agreed upon in writing.
In the case where a guest breaks a policy or procedure set forth in the license agreement, including staying in the unit beyond the agreed-upon departure date, these ordinances make the act a criminal offense enforceable with penalties.
Basically, if a guilty guest refuses to depart upon Meyer’s request, all we need to do is produce a copy of the signed license agreement and the police will step in to enforce criminal penalties up to and including arrest.
It is important to note that owner reservations and owner guest reservations are not required to sign a license agreement; therefore, booking reservations outside the Owner Referral system can leave you susceptible to URLTA and the eviction process.
To protect your income and property, make sure you are only making owner bookings for your own occupancy and owner guest bookings for those you trust.
Protecting your investment is our priority. While the large majority of vacationers never give cause for revoking the license agreement, the fact that we are prepared offers owner partners peace of mind knowing protective measures have been taken to avoid lost revenue, attorneys’ fees and possible property damage.
We are appreciative of our local municipalities for passing these ordinances, providing added protection for our vacation rental industry, and for adding enforceability to all of our rental license agreements.
According to new city ordinances passed recently in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the owner of any vacation rental unit or the owner’s authorized agent may present a license agreement signed by the legal renter and remove from the premises of the unit any person present on the premises of the unit who: