Custom renter agreements are here!
We've just released an update that lets you create your own custom agreement, directly within the system. You can copy in any text you want, including from any MS Word document, Outlook email or web page.
Let's get started. Navigate to your property, select the Legal link and click the Use Custom Agreement button. You'll notice a new page that opens with a large editor area for entering text.
If you don't know where to begin, you may want to start with the text that the auto-generated agreement uses. At the bottom of the editor, on the left side, there's a link labeled "Prefill with auto-generated agreement".
Starting with the auto-generated agreement will give you some valuable text from which you can add your own bullet points or move things around. It is certainly not necessary to use the prefill option, but it may be helpful.
As you'll discover, the editor is very strict in terms of what kind of formatting it allows and what kind it does not. We have purposefully restricted some formatting options like colors and font styles. The reason we did this is because we believe that those formatting options tend to make agreements look less professional to guests. When copying from MS Word documents, for instance, bits of color and font will persist after the text is pasted into the editor. Our editor cleans out those custom colors and styles so that the text you edit, from that point forward, is clean and valid for the web.
The editor does support several formatting options that will make your agreement look professional. It supports bold, italic and underlined font as well as multiple title/subtitle text sizes. You can change the horizontal alignment of your text and create bullet or numbered lists. You can also create hyperlinks around text if you need to link to a different location.
The editor also supports custom fields or "mail merge" fields. You'll notice a drop-down list in the menu called Insert Field. This drop-down list contains a set of fields that you can insert into the editor - wherever the cursor is currently located - that are automatically converted to a real value when the agreement is displayed.
For instance, say you need to create a custom agreement that two properties will use. If you need to reference the property name in the agreement, you'll need to use a custom field. Otherwise, it would not be possible to write a sentence (such as "this agreement is for Acme Cabin") that serves two different properties. You can easily do that by setting the cursor to the position in the agreement where you want the property name and then selecting the "Property Name" field from the drop-down list. You'll see a yellow box, with the field name in red, drop into place.
Saving the custom agreement requires that you enter a name. The name is not used anywhere in the interface, nor is it shown to guests. It is only displayed for your conveniece so that if you create multiple agreements, you can quickly tell them apart.
You can create as many custom agreements as you want. If you do have multiple agreements and you click the Use Custom Agreement button, a grid of all your agreements will be displayed so that you can select from them before adding a new one. The grid will show you which agreements are in use and allow you to edit or delete them.
Wasn't it possible to upload a custom agreement before? What's the difference?
Previously, we allowed users to have custom agreements by uploading their own file. You could upload your own MS Word or PDF file, and it would be displayed when the user viewed the Terms and Conditions. The problem with this approach is that is lacked uniformity. Since users could upload any file format they wanted, it was hard to guarantee what the file would look like. Also, it wasn't possible to sign the file with a digital signature at the time of booking so no uploaded files ever got signed. The new process keeps all the text inside the system in a clean, uniform way that permits us to render and sign all agreements, whether they are custom or not.
This is the first version of our custom renter agreements so there will be things you like and things you don't like. If there are options you would like see, please let us know. Use the forum or send us an email.