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The essence of home swapping is to treat any home as if it were your own. A great way of ensuring that your guests understand your own living standards is by creating a ‘house rules’ guide. If you’re a bit lost on where to start, read our helpful guide on what to include in order to keep having great home swap experiences.   

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.  


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:


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.


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


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?


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.


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.


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


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.

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