Frequently asked questions/answers for new owners to VillaDirect
This page provides the answers to the most frequently asked questions raised by property owners (new to VillaDirect) regarding the agreement and its’ clauses.
Term of agreement
What do I have to do in order for my contract to renew after the initial term is fulfilled?
Renewal occurs automatically. After the initial term, the contract continues to renew automatically every 90 days unless and until terminated.
Will renewing cost me extra money?
No, there is no additional cost to renew your agreement. Renewal will occur automatically unless/until you terminate your contractual agreement.
Will I have to replenish the Reserve Deposit account after each monthly payment?
The Reserve Deposit account is used to pay your home’s monthly operating costs including utilities and services from VillaDirect. It must be maintained at a set balance each month. It is replenished automatically each month with the revenue from your rentals in order to maintain the minimum balance. Any residual balance will be paid to you directly. In the event that your monthly costs exceed your monthly income, additional funds will be required.
Can services be billed to my bank account instead?
All services must be accounted for and billed through a statement issued by VillaDirect each month. Instead of charging for each individual expense, VillaDirect provides an itemized monthly statement combining all monthly revenue, credits, and costs for your property and pays you the difference in one transaction. This ensures that you can have thorough documentation of all home transactions. It is also necessary to account for services in this way for your annual tax return statement.
Will the initial deposits for utilities come out of this account?
No. The initial deposits for utilities are separate charges which vary by the utility companies.
What if my monthly bills total less than the amount in my Reserve Deposit account?
In the event that your expenses exceed your income in a month, your reserve deposit still must be maintained at the amount specified in your property management agreement and you will be billed for the difference. While there are unforeseen circumstances that occasionally arise, VillaDirect maintains an industry leading occupancy rate of 60%.
Will I be able to authorize the charges first?
In the case of any charges or work orders in excess of $300, every attempt will be made to notify you before any service is rendered.
Will my start up fees change if I want to provide my own photos or fire extinguishers?
The startup fees will not change. In addition to staging the house, photographing every room, and editing each image individually, our photography package includes resizing and rendering each image so that they can be utilized for a wide range of advertising outlets. Additionally, all fire extinguishers must also be provided only from VillaDirect, as they are professionally inspected to ensure compliance with residential building safety codes.
How long does it take for you to add my property to your site?
Your property will appear within 72 hours of VillaDirect receiving and processing the contract/agreement. It will take 5-10 business days for the photography to be finalized and uploaded on all channel partner websites (such as HomeAway, Airbnb, Dwellable, VRBO, etc). All of these timescales are contingent upon availability and access of the property to our personnel.
What license fees are included within the startup fees?
The licensing fees included in the VillaDirect startup fees are the Florida hotel license, sales tax license, County Tourism Development Tax license (only in Osceola County), and local business license.
What other documents do I need to send during the set up process?
In addition to the signed contract, a VillaDirect representative will ask for a Power of Attorney form so that we can apply for licenses on your behalf, a sales tax waiver so that we can handle the sales tax application on your behalf and a W8 or W9 for our records only. We will also require a copy of your homeowners insurance for the property, showing VillaDirect as a named agent. The insurance policy must have a minimum of $300,000 liability cover. Our contracts administrator will be happy to help you with these items.
Why do I need to place different deposits that are all refundable?
The reserve deposit and KABA lock deposit each go to different accounts and protect your interested in different ways. However, you can pay them in a single payment. The KABA lock deposit is used to cover the cost of the advanced electronic locking system for your home. The reserve deposit is necessary to cover the monthly operating costs of your home.
Will I be refunded in full for both upon termination?
All refundable deposits will be refunded in full upon termination, provided that you follow the steps outlined in the contract.
Do I have to pay utility deposits myself, or would that come from one of my reserve deposit?
These deposits are normally paid separately and the deposit amounts vary depending on the utility company.
Upon cancellation, will I get all of these refunds in one check or different reimbursements?
All necessary refunds will be provided to you or deposited to your bank in one check.
Is everything refunded upon termination, or sooner?
Once all balances are met for any remaining upkeep made to your home by VillaDirect on your behalf, all necessary deposits will be refunded immediately.
Are the reserve deposit and income account different accounts?
The only account you hold with VillaDirect is your reserve deposit account. Monthly income from your home is used to maintain the balance of your reserve account, and the remaining income is then forwarded to you. The reserve deposit account and monthly income are itemized separately but shown on the same statement.
What would be defined as “equipment failure”?
Equipment failure would include a malfunction in any major appliances, air conditioning components including the thermostat, plumbing components or fixtures, electrical or mechanical components, pool equipment, or generally any failure that would impact a renter staying in your home.
Will you make any repairs or replacements and bill me if under $300?
Yes. Should your home need any repairs, fixes or replacements, we will perform them if the cost for the item or service is under $300. If the cost of the item or service exceeds $300, we will make every attempt to contact you before performing any work.
If the amount needed for towels and linens, general repairs or work orders for my home exceeds my monthly service credit in any month, will I be able to see the itemized bill first?
If any major repairs or work orders are needed which exceed $300 in cost, your owner liaison will notify you. Generally, VillaDirect does not notify owners once their monthly service credit limit is reached, but in the event of multiple repairs or recurring issues, you will be promptly contacted by your owner liaison.
What work isn’t covered by the monthly work order credit?
The work order credit excludes special projects and/or parts. It only covers labor. Special projects are defined as work orders which do not relate to company conducted maintenance or care of the property, e.g., visiting a store to pick up an owner purchased item for installation to the property.
What is meant by/included in “disposable” items?
Disposable items include soaps, paper towels, toilet tissue and items included in the starter pack provided to all guests who stay in your home.
What do “linens” include?
Hand towels, bath towels and bed sheets.
Can you define a “work order”?
A work order is defined as any general repair which requires work on the part of VillaDirect staff or third party sub-contractor approved by VillaDirect.
Pool cleaning fee
Can I hire someone else to clean my pool?
In order to maintain quality control across VillaDirect managed properties and ensure that your pool only receives service from licensed and experienced professionals, we do not permit the use of third party pool cleaning companies.
Why is “pool maintenance” different from the pool cleaning fee?
The pool cleaning fee covers the weekly upkeep needed to keep your pool clean, safe, sanitary and ready for guests to use. Pool maintenance would only occur in the event a specific item needed to be repaired by a certified technician, such as the pool heater, pump, pipe work, skimmer gates or outlets.
Will I still be able to advertise my property myself?
VillaDirect will market your property on the world’s top vacation rental listing sites as soon as you join our property management program, but you are absolutely free to advertise your property independently as well. During the start-up process, we provide a copy of your professionally photographed home images to you to use at your discretion and login information to our homeowner web site so that you can add your own bookings and have it synchronize across all of our availability calendars.
How does a “retail rate” and “wholesale rate” differ from a normal rental?
A retail-rate rental is what would be considered a normal rental. These are rental transactions which take place between VillaDirect and the general consumer. Wholesale-rate rentals are different from normal (retail-rate) rentals in that they take place between two businesses, typically between a property manager and a tour operator. These rentals are discounted to guarantee volume, which is why over 95% of our rentals at retail-rates, direct to the consumer.
Internet and service provisions
How will I know if my Homeowners Association covers my internet, cable and other services?
The services covered within your HOA dues will be outlined in your HOA documents.
How much will it be if my HOA only covers some of these items?
Your service provision costs depend on your utility providers.
Will HOA be paid out of my monthly Reserve Deposit account?
Some owners pay their HOA dues directly, but if you prefer, your HOA expenses can be paid on a monthly basis directly from your VillaDirect reserve deposit account.
Owner bookings / Owner stays
Where do I find the owner booking system?
The VillaDirect Owner Booking system will be located on the Owner website. Your Owner Liaison will send you an initial e-mail introduction which will provide you with the information and links needed to access this portal, including your log-in information.
What is the difference between the Accidental Damage Waiver (ADW) and the nightly repair and replacement fee?
The Accidental Damage Waiver insurance is in place to help supplement some costs when an item is unintentionally broken or damaged by a guest. The nightly fee for Owner bookings is to supplement the pay for the concierge services and guest services provided at the VillaDirect Welcome Center, as well as cleaning and replenishment of disposable items used during their stay in your home.
If a family member or a close friend wants to stay in my home, would they still be charged?
It is your property and you can use it as you see fit. However, one thing to keep in mind is, by renting out your vacation home, the government is treating your property as a business and you are allowed to stay in your home 21 nights per year, tax free. You may choose to allow your close family or friends to use the property within these 21 nights, but as with all bookings, we ask that you give VillaDirect advance notice to ensure your home is not double booked.
Credit card fees
Will I be charged the 4% fee on every charge made by credit card?
Yes. The flat 4% fee for credit card charges is to cover the processing fees of the credit card company. The 4% will only be waived in the event that you are using the card to pay an amount due on a monthly statement or to top off the Reserve deposit balance on your account.
Why am I getting charged for cleanings?
You are charged a portion of the cleaning fee, which is split with the guests who stay in your property. The cleaning fee includes pre-arrival inspections, disposable items, and costs associated with VillaDirect’s hospitality services.
How far in advance will I know if my home is being used for the Marketing Week?
Our marketing properties are chosen at the last minute, so as not to interfere with the income potential for your home. You will not be notified when your property will be used because of this income saving strategy. For this reason we ask that any owner bookings or stays are placed with as much advance as possible. Please note that less than 5% of our homes are used each year for this purpose.
Standard of home
How many times will VillaDirect communicate an issue with me before withdrawing my home from services?
The number of times you will be notified is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the severity of the issue. For example, if there is a severe safety issue, such as a roof leak or electricity is suspended, we will contact you immediately to remedy the situation. If we cannot reach you by the second attempt, we will move any bookings from your property and suspend your home’s advertising until the problems are addressed. Your Owner Liaison will keep you informed on any issues with your home and will work with you to resolve them.
What are the costs of licensing and fees and how often will I have to pay these fees?
|Yearly Renewal Fees:
|Florida Hotel License
|Local Business License
*These prices are set by the state and individual counties and are subject to change.
What if someone gets hurt while staying at my property?
You are required to have a liability insurance policy for a minimum of $300,000.00 USD to cover such instances. This keeps you, your home, and your guests safe.
Damage / Theft
What amount of the nightly commission rate is specifically designated for the replenishment of damaged or stolen items?
We will first approach the guest to replace any missing or damaged items from your property if there is evidence of guest responsibility. If guest responsibility cannot be established, the amount will vary depending on what needs to be replaced in the home. The Accidental Damage Waiver insurance paid by each renter covers damaged items in certain circumstances and up to a pre-determined amount.
Where can I find the tourism tax rates for my property?
Tourism tax rates in Florida depend on the county and are subject to change. The links below to will help you answer any tax related questions you may have for your county.
- Polk County
- Osceola County
- Orange County
- Lake County
For sales tax information please visit: Florida Department of Revenue
Is there an instance where VillaDirect wouldn’t decommission the KABA lock?
VillaDirect works with the KABA lock company to decommission each lock upon termination. The only instance where you wouldn’t receive your refund would be if you or a third party tried to remove the lock from the door, or if you decided to keep the lock after termination.
What has to be in place for the termination to be “contractually agreed upon”?
You must give proper notice to VillaDirect for termination. The contract states a 90-day notice must be given and all financial obligations met to fall into this category.
Will the monthly fees and bills for my property automatically be paid and the reserve deposit kept?
Your monthly management and property maintenance fees will automatically be taken from your reserve deposit account. Should you desire, your monthly expenses such as utilities can also be deducted from this account. The income generated from your property will be deposited into this account, and the bills and fees withdrawn for the month. Any difference less your reserve deposit will be issued as your income for the month. In the event you have no income the bills and fees will be pulled from your reserve deposit which will also show on the account statement. It is your responsibility to then replenish the reserve deposit to its target balance.
Can you tell me what you define as “general repairs” as stated in the fee breakdown of the contract?
The common occurrences that fall into the general repair category are things like lighting issues, blinds, door hinges, and other similar repair issues that can be handled efficiently.
Description of mandatory services
Will the all-inclusive rate change if I would like to opt out of any of the services?
No. Mandatory services are not optional as they are crucial to the operation of a successful rental property.
What does the monthly fee on the KABA/ Secure PASS lock cover?
The SecurePASS system plays a big role in the safety and security of your home and guests. This lock is reprogrammed after each stay remotely and requires a certain amount of maintenance. The monthly fee covers the cost to keep the lock running, online, and maintained.
Description of per occurrence services
Why does a clean cost more for an owner booking?
When VillaDirect makes a booking, it charges the owner 33% of the cleaning cost and the guest pays 67%. The combined fees cover:
- The cost of the clean
- The disposable items like tissues, soaps, trash bags, etc
- The cost of the pre-arrival inspection
- Some of the linen/towel replenishment offset
- The welcome bag (includes additional tissues, soaps, coffee, cookies, condiments, sponges, dishwasher detergent, washer detergent, additional trash bags, kitchen towels, Disney Goofy gift box for the kids and more)
- The clean cost also includes replacement of remote batteries and light bulbs found and replaced by the inspector.
On an owner booking or an owner stay, the company does not have the option to build that cost into the rental rate. VillaDirect still has to to perform the full clean, replaces disposable/replenishment items, replaces broken/blown light bulbs and batteries, performs a towel and linens check, does a walk-through inspection and flags the property as ready for occupancy. The cost of these items, not covered by the guest portion of the clean, needs to be paid for in the charge to the owner. We strongly recommend that owner bookings reflect the cost needed to cover the cleaning costs and can use the rates displayed on the VillaDirect website as a guideline.
How often is lawn maintenance performed? Is it mandatory?
Lawn maintenance is performed weekly or bi-weekly depending on the season, and is mandatory with VillaDirect unless covered under your HOA dues.
What is a “fluff cleaning”?
A “fluff” cleaning is a light cleaning of the home in preparation for a guest’s arrival. This includes things like dusting, sweeping, sanitizing and more.
What if I don’t know the name of my floorplan?
We would be glad to help you find your particular floorplan and will handle labeling it for you.
USA bank details
Can I use my foreign bank account for my VillaDirect transactions?
Yes. However, we recommend all of our owners establish an account with a U.S. bank in order to expedite transactions.