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Guest Screening 101: A How-to Guide for Rental Owners in SW Florida

Guest Screening 101: A How-to Guide for Rental Owners in SW Florida

Having a rental property in southwest Florida can be a real moneymaker, but it can also have its woes.

In any given year, about 14 million people stay in vacation rental homes in Florida. Turning your 2nd home into a vacation rental is a great way to make money on a property that you aren't using all of the time. The problem is that you could end up seeing a ton of wear and tear on the property if you're not careful.

Guest screening is the best way to ensure that your home doesn't incur unnecessary damage. In this post, we're going to give you a how-to guide for guest screening, so keep reading and keep your priority in tip-top shape.

Do Booking Sites Screen Guests?

Big vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO don't do much to screen users. Mostly, they use a rating system and encourage property owners to accept or deny guests based on their past ratings. 

If you're looking for a more thorough approach to screening, you've got to take matters into your own hands. That means performing your own background checks or hiring a property manager to deal with all of the guest bookings for your property.

Performing Background Checks

Vacation rental guest screening should always start with a background check. If you end up booking in a guest that doesn't exist, then you're the one left to deal with the lost revenue and whatever mess follows.

In addition to ensuring that your guests are real, you should also try to make sure they're there for non-nefarious reasons. If you aren't keen on people having parties, then keep an eye on the number of guests. Look at social media profiles to get a sense of who the person is.

Talking to Guests Directly

Another thing you can do is appeal to the guest directly. Have a list of questions to ask them and if the answers are unsatisfactory, don't be afraid to move on from them.

Things to inquire about include the number of guests, whether there will be pets, the purpose of the trip, and if they've stayed in a short-term rental before. While you're at it, you can explain some of the rules that guests need to abide by.


One way to protect yourself and your property is to obtain a security deposit from all of your vacation guests. A few hundred dollars will be enough to deter any undesirable activity. You should also have them sign a short-term rental agreement that outlines what they are and aren't allowed to do in your home.

Guest Screening with a Property Manager

Turning your southwest Florida home into a short-term rental is smart, but it's also a lot of work. If you're keen on making passive income, but not so keen on the work involved with screening guests and maintaining your property, it's best to hire a property manager.

At Gulf Coast Property Management, we specialize in vacation rental management in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Venice, and the surrounding areas. If you choose to hire us, we'll take care of everything from guest screening to marketing the property and performing maintenance.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help maximize profits on your Florida vacation rental.