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What to include in your home swap house rules
Home Swapping Tips

What to include in your home swap house rules

Ellena Morgan
By Ellena Morgan - 10 minute read

What are house rules?

House rules give you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to clear­ly state what your home swap guests can and can­not do, what is expect­ed of them and what the pos­si­ble penal­ties there are if the rules are broken.

Many of our mem­bers include details of their house rules in their list­ing. How­ev­er, too much infor­ma­tion in a prop­er­ty list­ing can some­times be over­whelm­ing for read­ers. A sim­ple, clear sum­ma­ry is best and then more in-depth details lat­er once in the dis­cus­sion stage of organ­is­ing your home swap.

A cat sat on the table

Tips on creating great house rules

Tip 1: Keep it as clear and sim­ple as possible

Tip 2: Be explic­it, don’t leave any­thing up to interpretation

We rec­om­mend send­ing this to mem­bers once you have con­firmed your home swap and a phys­i­cal print­ed copy in an easy to find place in the home (i.e. kitchen table or near the front door). Send­ing as a doc­u­ment is always handy as it makes it easy for mem­bers to print this off or save to their phone to remind them­selves before departing.

Key factors to consider

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Be clear on house rules when it comes to par­ties, gath­er­ings and addi­tion­al guests.

1. Extra guests

Are vis­i­tors or extra guests allowed? If yes, how many? Are there any pro­ce­dures for approval? Nor­mal­ly guests will make clear how many peo­ple (and who) will be stay­ing in their ini­tial swap request, but always best to be clear on your pol­i­cy of extra guests.

2. Gath­er­ings or Parties

Are they allowed? If yes, what is the max­i­mum size? It is not com­mon for home swap­pers to have par­ties or more guests dur­ing their swap, cer­tain rea­sons to swap i.e. a fam­i­ly gath­er­ing or sig­nif­i­cant birth­day could lead to guests who aren’t stay­ing in the home. Be clear on how many are allowed and what you go about approv­ing this.

3. Park­ing

Are your guests able to bring their own vehi­cles? Are you also swap­ping cars too? Will they need a permit?

4. Smok­ing

Is smok­ing per­mit­ted, and if so, where? If you are part of a apart­ment block or com­plex do make your guests aware of pos­si­ble pub­lic spaces that they may not be able to smoke by i.e. out­side entrance of build­ing or next to the pool.

5. Off-lim­it areas

Where can guests not go? Are there any rooms cup­boards or stor­age areas that are off-lim­its? Clear­ly label these, con­sid­er using lock­ing sys­tems and make this clear in your house rules.

6. Clean­ing procedures

Where does house­hold waste go? How does the recy­cling sys­tem work? How do they dis­pose of waste?

Washing machine

7. Laun­dry

Are guests expect­ed to clean their own linen after­wards? Are they able to use your clean­ing facil­i­ties or are these off lim­its? Is there a lim­it to how many wash­es they can do?

9. Qui­et hours

Are there any and when are they? If you are swap­ping your home that is in an apart­ment block, con­sid­er your neigh­bours and fol­low what the norms are.

10. Clean­li­ness

Is there a clean­ing fee? How much is it? Are there any oth­er costs or stan­dards that guests should be made aware of?

Some mem­bers who use their sec­ond or vaca­tion home may charge a clean­ing fee on top of any home swap­ping asso­ci­at­ed costs. This should be clear­ly stat­ed in your pro­file and your house rules. As well as a pos­si­ble clean­ing fee, please state oth­er rules i.e. no shoes indoors.

Pets in the house

Be sure to include whether you allow pets and what kind of ani­mals you allow.

11. Pets/​Animals

Do you allow pets in your home? If so, what kind or size? Con­sid­er the size of your home and the ameni­ties and whether all pets are suit­able. If you’re aller­gic be sure to state this.

12. Secu­ri­ty

Remind guests to always lock the prop­er­ty and close win­dows before leav­ing the prop­er­ty. Not just for your own pos­ses­sions, but theirs too.

13. Emer­gency con­tact details

Who do your guests need to con­tact in the case of an emer­gency? Include mul­ti­ple con­tact details in case any­thing was to go wrong dur­ing their home swap


Home swap­ping is based on mutu­al respect of each other’s homes, after mem­bers often com­ment on it being like a home away from home’. But house rules are impor­tant for both par­ties to ful­ly under­stand expec­ta­tions and help avoid acci­dents or unwant­ed stress.

If you are send­ing your house rules dig­i­tal­ly, a use­ful way to ensure that your guest has read your full house rules we rec­om­mend con­clud­ing the doc­u­ment saying

please reply back say­ing I agree to your home swap house rules’ so that we know you have reviewed and accept our conditions”

Need more advice on home swap­ping? Check out our Tips and Advice blog sec­tion, or alter­na­tive­ly get in touch with our team and we’d be hap­py to answer your questions.