Do you own or operate a rental cabin or B&B with a hot tub for the guests to use? If so, you know that a spa can significantly increase the appeal of the property for renters, but that it also brings with it another layer of maintenance in between guest stays.
My husband and I have had a mountain home near Mammoth Lakes, Ca that we rent out when we are not using it, through a rental agency. Over the past 15 years, I have many stories to tell about our little mountain spa.
Like the time we found broken champagne glasses in the bottom, or the time we discovered it missing nearly 1/3 of the water, or the many times we have found it left uncovered, cranked up to the max and low on water.
Here’s a list of ways to improve management of your rental home hot tub, and reduce surprises and potential conflicts with your guests.
I’m a big believer in signs all around the house – small, tasteful signs that I print up and laminate. Here’s a sample of some useful signs around your spa:
- Spa Rules – Standard sign warning of potential health dangers.
- Spa Operation – Custom sign telling how to remove cover, turn on jets, air, heater, lights. How to add water if needed. How to shock if needed.
- Spa Closing – Sign by the door, reminding users to turn off the spa, replace the spa cover and latch it securely.
- Spa Heating – Tips on spa heating, troubleshooting checklist of simple fixes for the spa temperature.
In order to be sure that our spa stays as sanitary as possible, we have a small inline brominator installed under the skirt, an ozonator, and we use a mineral stick. In most cases this amount of overkill is not needed, but it can be a little insurance against the occasional group of guests that really push sanitation to the limit, with heavy spa use.
The spa filter cartridge should be replaced every 6 months in a heavily used spa, or at least that’s the schedule we keep. We buy 6 at a time, and keep them stocked at the property. Same with the mineral sticks, which gets replaced at the same time.
We have a formula that we use to calculate when to drain the spa, based on the number of guests, but we also try to tell whether or not the spa has seen heavy use. The water level is always a good indicator, since most guests will never add water. If the water level is close to the level where we always leave it at, and other indicators don’t point to heavy spa use, we don’t drain the spa after each guest, but we vacuum, clean the filter, balance the chemistry and shock the spa.
However, in order to maintain a sanitary spa in your rental, you should drain and refill the spa if it looks like your guests really enjoyed it! Our spa gets drained about every month, but sometimes twice per month, if the unit has seen heavy usage, or if we rent to snowboarders (jk, lol).
First off, the spa should be isolated on your property. If there are adjacent town homes or condos, a safety fence should be built around the patio, to cordon off the spa, and also add some privacy.
Secondly, a covered spa is always safer than an uncovered spa. Make sure your cover clips and straps are in good shape. A spa cover lifter should be installed to protect your spa cover and prevent guest injury.
Third, our Spa Rules sign makes these specific restrictions:
- Children under 14 with Adults only
- No single use, 2-4 people only
- No alcohol or drugs
- No pregnant women
- No Hypertensive people
Fourth, keep all spa chemicals safely stored, and out of the reach of children.
Fifth, make sure that your spa is in good electrical condition, without any chance of accidental electrocution.
What’s a Spa Worth?
Adding a spa or hot tub to your rental property will add another recreational element to your offerings, and will allow you to charge a premium – to at least cover the additional costs and maintenance involved. In our case, our property management company raised their price a set amount, and we have figured out our annual expenses for the spa. From there, we were able to figure out a fair amount to add to a night’s rental, which has by now, over the last 10 years ~ paid for the spa many times over!
Hot Tub Works