Renting(out) a motorhome/RV between privates or with the help of an on-line plathform

Sometimes we receive questions from customers about the difference between motorhome rental prices from private individuals and rental from professional rental companies such as OrsonRent. That is why we present a short analysis of the implications the rental of campers via private individuals in Spain for both parties can have. Although we base ourselves on the Spanish legislation, the practical objections, in any case, will correspond in most other countries as well.

 

Physical state of the vehicle:

To be able to enjoy an unforgettable holiday you obviously want a camper in good condition, clean and well insured. The professional rental companies generally have a fleet of one or two years old vehicles and follow a rigorous, methodical maintenance and of course have the necessary insurance. On the other hand, the state of a private camper depends on the owner and his economic poibilities at that moment. Normally these vehicles are older than 2 years and private individuals generally only have one vehicle and the possibility of replacement in case of breakdowns is non existent.

Legal implications:

All vehicles in Spain have a document with the technical characteristics of the vehicle and the actual use of that vehicle. Here are the two options, a vehicle can legally be used for:

  • Private purposes: the vehicle is assigned to a private activity of the owner, or
  • Rental without a driver: the vehicle can be rented without a driver.

A private vehicle is intended for private use only and may not participate in activities that are not exclusively intended for private activities of the owner. Therefore the vehicle cannot be legally rented out. A vehicle that is stated to be (exclusively) for private use can never be insured for a rental. This is considered to be an illegal activity. In the event that the insurer finds out that a vehicle that is insured for private purposes is used commercially, the insurance will automatically and irrevocably be excluded. If there is damage, the insurer covers the costs of third parties but these costs are directly reclaimed from the policyholder, the owner of the vehicle. In addition, it is important to know that a motorhome is simultaneously a vehicle and a “home”. When the vehicle is circulating, the vehicle insurance covers any accidents and damage. Rental companies also have legal liability insurances which cover other incidents where the vehicle is stationary and is therefore used as a “home”. If the vehicle is parked and, for example, a fire breaks out causing damage to other cars and/or the public domain, the vehicle insurance does not cover the damage and the owner (with all of his own capital) is liable.

Tax consequences:

If an owner regularly rents his motor home, he conducts an economic activity and must be registered as an independent entrepreneur. He must then pay VAT and file a tax return every quarter. If a company does that, it will be taxed for corporation tax. It is clear that if you rent a motor home from a private person (of which only a few meet the legal and fiscal requirements) you contribute to an illegal activity and a help maintaining a black market endangering jobs and businesses that do contribute and pay their taxes.

And what about the rent via internet platforms, market places and intermediaries?

On-line platforms and intermediaries charge a percentage of the revenues for bringing the buyer and seller into contact without having to bear any legal (and often moral) responsibility for the rental process and the possible problems that may arise in that process. All responsibilities therefore remain with the lessor. If you rent through an online platform and read the fine print, you will notice that the contracts and general terms and conditions generally contain sentences such as:

  • “the owner is responsible on his own account …..”
  • ¨X (intermediary) is only responsible for ……… ¨

In the Netherlands for instance, responsibility is always shifted to the (private) lessor. For example, we encounter the following sentence on one of the largest motorhome rental platforms in the Netherlands: ¨The motorhomes rented at XXXXXXX are well insured (by?). If something happens, this is covered by the landlord’s insurer. Breakdown assistance and replacement transport are often (therefore not always) included¨.

The fact that you approach a professional intermediary for hiring a motorhome/RV does not make the process more professional and therefore safer. The guarantees remain the same as when renting from a private individual. An exception to this is of course if you hire a motorhome/RV from a professional company through an internet platform or an intermediary. The guarantees then come from the same company.

Conclusion:

It may be clear that OrsonRent, as a legal, professional and tax paying motorhome rental company, does not recommend renting privately a motorhome/RV vehicle, even if this is done through an online platform or application. It is logical that private individuals, due to their lack of infrastructure, obsolete vehicles, lack of services and additional insurance and without tax payment can often offer a slightly cheaper product than many professional companies can, but of course everything has its price. If the moral objections to maintaining a black market and jeopardizing employment will not stop you from doing so, the risks of hiring from a private individual might. Some examples:

  • At the pick-up the reserved vehicle is not available or the vehicle is not in an adequate technical / hygienic state to enjoy your holiday
  • The vehicle does not have the necessary documentation, such as a valid insurance and/or proper inspection papers.
  • The tenant and landlord are in an uncertain legal situation and a legal process for whatever reason will always be difficult and often long-term.
  • In case of breakdown or accident, the insurance of the individual will not respond when it concerns a commercial activity.
  • Due to the absence of a complete company insurance, the resources of the private lessor to deal with any disputes or costs (repairs and repatriation of the tenants) are often limited.
  • The internet platforms are exempt from any liability and do not have the legal means to help you even if they are in good faith.
  • Perhaps it is therefore more sensible to spend a little more money or to go on holiday for one or two days less, but with all professional guarantees. So you can enjoy a carefree holiday with the certainty that someone is always there looking after you.

OrsonRent

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.