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Renting an apartment or shoreside home for your summer getaway? With sites like AirBnB, VRBO, and HomeAway, it’s easier than ever to nab a centrally located spot near the beach or in your favorite city. But summer rentals come with a caveat: You’re often staying in a host’s weekday residence, which requires certain etiquette. It’s best practice to treat their home as you treat your own. Here are six ways to ensure a pleasant stay and a very happy host.

Communication is key.

Before you arrive, establish a line of friendly communication with the host. Make sure to inquire about the wifi password, garbage or recycling pickup, and contacts in case of emergency. Also, ask if the host would like you to do things like strip the bed linens or start the dishwasher before you check out. And, of course, it’s smart to ask for restaurant or sightseeing recommendations so you can explore the area like a local.

Assess the space upon arrival.

You’ll want to make sure you leave the rental just as you found it. As you settle in, make note of any breakable objects, especially if you have kids or plan on throwing a dinner party, and move them to a safe spot. (Just be sure to move them back before you leave.)

Clean as you go.

Whether you’re using the kitchen, grilling out, or hanging by the pool, make sure to tidy up as you go. That means brushing the grill grates, doing a load of laundry here and there, and grabbing pool floats from the water before turning in for the day. And the number one rule of tidiness for a summer rental: Make sure your shoes are sand-free before walking in the door.

Follow house rules.

There’s a reason most rentals have a maximum number of guests allowed. Cold showers, blown fuses, and sleeping on the floor don’t make for the most relaxing vacation. And make sure to limit the number of parked cars if the rules specify. Following house rules keeps the host happy and ensures a smooth stay for your crew, too.

Avoid leaving an angry, negative review.

Sure, it’s possible for things to go wrong during your stay. In the event that something goes haywire, make time to discuss the issue with the host, whether over the phone or in person when you check out. It’s likely they’ll appreciate an honest conversation, rather than an angry review on their online listing. Road rage in the comments box is oft not the best idea—and you’ll probably get an equally unpleasant review in return.

Leave a personal touch.

As you’re wrapping up your stay, think of a special way to thank your host. It could be a simple note on a Post-It, a personal card, or some fresh flowers for the kitchen table. Also, if the host has scheduled a cleaning service following your stay, leave a bit of gratuity for them. If the golden rule is to leave the home better than you found it, a sincere “thank you” to your host and housekeeping will certainly do the trick.

Image via onefinestay