What data is a property manager required to furnish the owner of a short term vacation rental property? Do I need to provide dates of rental, identification of all fees, commissions, expenses of the property manager, taxes, etc?
When in doubt, concentrate on the money. The manager owes the owner an accounting of the owners’ money – down to the last dime, if possible. A property manager that can do this well is likely to bring excellence to the other aspects of property management as well. This is because attention to detail is a habit and a state of mind.
In your case, though, you are likely subject to an additional record-keeping burden: South Carolina law requires certain kinds of rental establishments to keep a logbook of guests. At a minimum, the manager must maintain a register with the name, residence, date of arrival and date of departure of every guest. Furthermore, the manager must keep this information for a minimum of five years, per the Lodging Establishment Act, 45-2-50.
Who has to comply?
Owners and managers of any hotel, motel, villa, condominium, inn, tourist court, tourist camp, campground, bed and breakfast, residence, or any place in which rooms, lodging, or sleeping accommodations are furnished to transients for a consideration. (Section 45-2-30.)
Since owners are ultimately responsible, the property manager should be prepared to hand over this list to the landlord for inspection for the purposes of complying with the law. (Landlords love these, too, because they are invaluable marketing tools!)
As for the money, South Carolina also has a specific requirement for property managers of rental homes and other vacation dwellings: Under the Vacation Rental Act (Article 2, Title 27 – Property and Conveyances, Section 27-50-210 for those of you following along in your programs.), “A rental management company in a vacation rental agreement shall place in a trust account conforming with the requirements of Section 40-57-135(B) any monies received from the tenant. The rental management company may require the tenant to pay all or part of any required rent, security deposit, or other fees in advance of the tenancy. The terms of these advanced payments, which may be nonrefundable, must be stated in the vacation rental agreement.”
Managers that don’t comply with this are subject to disciplinary action from the South Carolina Real Estate Commission (S.C. Code Section 40-57-145) so at a minimum you should be able to fully account for this money.
Hope that helps!
Writing about personal finance and investments since 1999, Jason Van Steenwyk started as a reporter with Mutual Funds Magazine and served as editor of Investors’ Digest. He now publishes feature articles in many publications including Annuity Selling Guide, Bankrate.com, and more.