Land or home rentals offered by grid owners or region owners are a time consuming and often thankless "merry go round" of endless effort. With all good intentions, the owners of regions look at letting property and land for two main reasons.
Firstly, grid owners and region owners see land rental as a way of increasing the number of visitors to their lands. Secondly, in the true sense of community spirit, it is often seen as a way of enhancing or building a solid community. Sadly, expectations are higher than the resulting chaos and disappointment that it can bring.
I won't dwell on the fact that there are not many active communities in Opensim. I did a previous post on this which explains why. This article looks at rentals from a land, grid or region owners perspective.
The first thing anyone offering rentals is going to need is a rental box. They will then normally make a land parcel, give it a name and advertise it somewhere. At Tropicana we have an Estate Office and a website that helps do this for us.
Very quickly after you have set things up you will start to realise that this is a very time consuming task and the more properties you offer, the worse the situation gets. At your Estate Office you need a way of showing people which properties are taken and which are not. This needs to be kept up to date, especially if you have a lot of rentals.
People who rent from you are for the most part fickle. They want everything for free and they demand attention there and then. This is a recipe for disaster. Do not fall into that trap. Many of these people are bouncing around all over the grids renting multiple homes and creating their own little housing empires that they will hardly ever use.
Make sure that you set your rentals to a maximum of 4 weeks before a top up is required. It is reasonable to expect that someone renting should visit at least once a month right? Also it is reasonable to expect people to tell you when they decide to move and to assume that they will clear out their homes or land when they do move. Well, human nature being what it is you will find many leave all their debris behind and jump around creating a trail of chaos and work behind them.
This is why you need a set of rules. This will at least help you to have a social life too and not jump everytime someone wants something. At Tropicana we have everything clearly detailed. We make it clear that we are after long term tenants who will use their properties as their main home. We allow moves just once a month and we stopped having auto join on the rentals group a long time ago due to the abuse of a minority of people who ruined it for others.
Consider a ticket system. This really does help. It gives you back some control and allows you to respond when it suits you and not be at the beck and call of all and sundry. You should also make cross checks of IP addresses that use your rentals. You might be surprised to find out that some of your tenants are renting more than one property under their alts.
You will meet a very wide and diverse group of people when you let property. Some are entitled individuals who will make demands and think you are desperate for them to rent with you. I had one particular lady who made some very precise demands which we were not prepared to offer and when refused she followed up by saying "Do you not want my business?" The lady was quickly reminded that a business is an entity that makes money, and no, we do not need people like her.
If you enjoy the interaction and are happy to offer rentals then good luck to you. We still do this at Tropicana but we are no longer commited to jumping around like frogs in a box the minute someone IMs us for a group join. We have a ticket system. It has made our lives much easier. Sure it may be an inconvenience for those short term land or addtional home seekers but do we care? We are not here solely for your convenience.
The main benefit from rentals is that your regions or land will get visited by some of your tenants for a few minutes a month. There will also be a number of very genuine tenants who are in it for the long stay and who do not have multiple homes and who actually use their properties. They are the people that make it all worthwhile. We thank you.
As for building a community? I am not convinced. If you are a tenant renting from a grid owner or benefitting from free land from someone, then make an effort to encourage them to keep things free for you by giving them a like or comment on the region you have your free home and which can normally be found on https://opensimworld.com/ At the very least give something back by attending the events that your land or home providers host.