Using a rental agreement
A rental agreement protects you and the renter, helps cover all terms of service, and clarifies any outstanding questions.
Learn more about using a rental agreement on FlipKey.
Verifying legitimate guests
We have a basic verification process in place that blocks suspicious inquiries, however, you can vet potential guests with the following suggestions.
You will get a natural feel for potential renters by messaging back and forth. Ask them anything that will help you get a better sense of who they and how they would treat your home. Below are some questions you can ask:
- How many people are in your party?
- How old is each person in the party?
- What is the purpose of the trip?
Discuss the rental agreement, cancellation policy, and payment process with your potential guests. This way, both parties understand the conditions of the reservation, and any suspicious inquirer will likely shy away from this process.
We recommend communicating through your FlipKey account so all your guest communications are stored in one place. Learn more about communicating with guests on FlipKey.
Identifying suspicious inquiries
We have a basic verification process in place that blocks suspicious inquiries; however, it is important to make sure that you are entering into a safe agreement. As an owner, there are a few things to be aware of prior to renting your home.
- While many legitimate inquiries come from domains with free email services, it is important to remember that anyone can create an email address from a free provider. If the inquirer’s message sounds unusual, check if the email domain is coming from a free service provider by going to the email address domain online (the part of the email address after the @).
- Be cautious of a traveler asking to pay by check without having any information on your property. Paying by check is usually safe, but when a traveler is too eager to book a property, it becomes suspicious.
- Although many renters have flexible travel dates, be cautious of inquiries where a traveler’s available dates are totally unrestricted.
- It is not uncommon for fraudulent inquirers to want to pay using unsecure payment methods, such as paying in cash or by a wire transfer. We recommend accepting payment by using FlipKey Payments, personal check, credit card, or through PayPal.
It is important to use your judgment when determining if an inquiry is valid. Using the tips above will help inform you of potential scams. Check out examples of some of the common scams that are prevalent in the industry to help safeguard your business.
Your guests’ information
We protect our customers’ and renters’ privacy at all times and do not share contact information with third parties. This issue is specifically addressed in FlipKey’s Terms and Conditions:
"You hereby agree to allow FlipKey to send review requests on your behalf based on the contact information (email address) of past guests' that you provide and that FlipKey shall have the right to retain this contact information, including the guests' name and email address for record keeping purposes. FlipKey respects the privacy of your customers and our users and hereby agrees not to reuse this information for remarketing purposes. Users that register an account with FlipKey shall be subject to this Agreement and may be contacted in connection with FlipKey promotions or service information.”
1. A renter writes a check for more than the rental fee:
The renter submits a check for more than the rental fee, often administered by a third party. They claim the over-payment was an accident and request a check refunding the difference. As requested, the owner writes a check, paying the difference between the rental fee and the renter’s check. The renter deposits the owner’s check but does not book the property. By the time the fraud has been discovered, the renter has deposited the owner’s check, and the initial check sent by the renter for the overpaid amount bounces.
The renter stole money from the owner by sending a fraudulent check and depositing a legitimate one.
If a renter sends a check for more than the rental amount, rip up the check and request that the renter sends a new check for the appropriate amount.
2. A renter requests proof of property ownership:
A renter pretends to be interested in booking your property but is concerned about renting from a private owner. The renter requests information that validates an owner’s identity and proof of property ownership. The owner assumes that this is a genuine concern and sends appropriate documentation, hoping to secure a booking. The renter agrees to rent the home through bank transfer.
The renter now has access to the owner’s ID and bank account information.
Requests for validation of ownership of the property or business are not uncommon, so it is okay to share some general information to put the traveler at ease, but be wary of anyone asking for too much information.