Ski leases can make for great rental parties for a homeowner. Here’s a walkthrough of the basics, from the homeowners perspective.
What is a ski lease?
A ski lease is a group of people who band together to rent a property for an entire (or most of) a ski season. They may bring friends or significant others to the property too, but in general, one of the members of the ski lease will always be there if the house is occupied.
What are the dates typically?
Most generally, ski leases run throughout the ski season. There are three types of typical date ranges that most ski lease groups ask for:
- The entire possible winter, Nov 15 – April 30.
- Most the winter, starting after Thanksgiving — Dec 1 – April 30.
- New year on, so Jan 3 – April 30.
Because Christmas and New Years are often the single most-in-demand period for short-term rentals — and most ski lease members are with their family, not at their ski lease for those dates — many ski leases opt to just start their ski lease in the new year. In return, homeowners typically offer a lower monthly price for the remaining months, since they can rent their home out over Christmas and New Years.
In other cases, homeowners may just rent out their home for the entire ski season, including the holidays, but at a higher rate.
What are the advantages?
Renting to a ski lease offers a number of advantages over short-term rentals:
- With a rental beyond 30 days, it’s unlikely that a homeowner would need to pay any of the rental money toward typical short-term rental taxes, which often take 5-15% of the rental price for rentals under 30 days. Those regulations vary regionally, so be sure to check your local regulations.
- Unlike a short-term rental, a homeowner is renting to the same group of people for 4-5 months. So, you can get to know your renters, and trust that they will take better care of your home than a group just renting for a weekend.
- Less property management is typically required, as you don’t need to “turn the property over” constantly, as you would with new short-term rental guests every weekend.
- Ski leases offer completely reliable source of income. Unlike with short-term rentals, you won’t be risking empty dates that don’t get booked.
What about utilities?
How you handle utilities is really up to you. You can make it part of the monthly price, you can ask that renters cover all the costs or you could meet in the middle. Since this isn’t a permanent renter who will be there all the time, it’s unlikely they’ll be comfortable putting power, internet or other utilities in their name. A typical arrangement is that the homeowner keeps utilities in their name, but bills the ski lease for utilities.
If you have a hot tub on the property, be sure to clarify who is responsible for maintenance.
How do I handle the lease?
Typically, it’s going to be a headache to get every single person on the ski lease to be a tenant (and you may not want that). In most cases, you’ll want to work with a single person — the ski lease organizer — and have them serve as “the tenant.” Be sure to include clauses in your lease that the tenant is responsible for the behavior of all subletters or guests, and then let them handle sublease agreements with their members if they want to.
How do I find renters?
There are a multitude of ways to find a ski lease group to rent to for the winter:
- Advertise on this site. Just get in touch with us.
- Post on craigslist, and be sure to specifically call out that you’re looking for a seasonal rental. Include the price, desired dates and what utilities are/are not included.
- Get in touch with local property management companies and tell them that you want to find a ski lease to rent to. Note that they’ll likely take a fraction of the rent for their services.
How do I screen renters?
Ski leases are, in general, great renters. But, it’s your home, and there may some things you want to ask your potential renter groups:
- How many people will be on your ski lease?
- What are the age ranges of the renters?
- Can you tell me the names of everyone on the lease, or are you still in the process of organizing it? (They may not know how many people they’ll admit until they secure a lease, in fairness).
- How much of a security deposit are you willing to put up?
- Are you going to have weekly/biweekly/monthly maid service? (If you have a regular cleaner, this could be a good way for you to feel like you at least “have eyes on the place” on a regular basis.
- Will your lease allow dogs? How many?