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Tips for First-time Renters on Nantucket


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nantucket vacation rental

From starting the Nantucket vacation rental search, to making the most of your stay, Rental Agents Lara and Liza have your questions covered. If this is your first time booking a rental home with Fisher, this FAQ will answer the top questions we are often asked, including: when is the best time to book, what is the minimum rental period, can I bring my pet, and more.

by Liza Hatton & Lara Hanson

 Nantucket Vacation Rental FAQ

When is the best time to book my Nantucket vacation rental home?

Many seasoned renters will rebook for the following summer just after they return home from their vacations. Often homeowners will give preference to returning guests, but it is a good idea to book as soon as you know your preferred dates as demand continues to be high. If you intend on bringing a vehicle, it’s best to book by January 1st, as the Steamship Authority opens up vehicle reservations on January 16th for Headstart reservations and January 23rd for general public reservations. If you’re not able to plan this far in advance, that’s okay too, we simply recommend you reach out to us once you have settled on your desired dates as well as your group size.

Are rates negotiable?

Your Fisher agent can always ask the individual homeowner if they will consider a concession, but due to high demand, we are not seeing many rate reductions for single-week rentals, or for rentals during peak weeks in July and August. Occasionally for a long-term rental, or for something in the shoulder months, that is a possibility.

What is the minimum rental period?

July and August are generally a one- or two-week minimum. During shoulder seasons, some owners are flexible and will welcome bookings with 3-night minimums.

Can I put a rental property on hold while I finalize my plans?

To secure a rental property, a lease must be signed by both the tenant and landlord, and payment must be received by Fisher by the date specified in the lease. Without both signatures and on-time payment, a property cannot be held.

Can I bring my pet?

We get asked this question quite often and know that many clients would love to bring their furry companions.  While we work with some homeowners who do welcome pets, many do not. It is important that you disclose to your rental agent if you would like to bring your pet before beginning the search process to ensure the booking process goes smoothly and the terms of the lease contract are clearly identified. 

Can I have an event or party at my rental house?

Events and large gatherings are not permitted without the prior written consent of the owner. Please speak with your rental agent prior to booking if this is in your plans. Fisher has a limited inventory of homes that allow larger events, such as weddings, but they require additional lease language and permits.

What is the cancellation policy? Is there specific coverage for COVID related cancellations?

Many firms have lease language that requires the property must be rebooked in order to be eligible for a refund. It also typically stipulates that the refund will include a 15% cancellation fee and that any difference in the rebooked rate is deducted. However, Fisher is acting as the intermediary so, ultimately, if a homeowner wishes to be flexible on the rebooking portion of this policy, alternate terms may be mutually agreed upon. For COVID and other pandemic-related issues that include government-imposed short-term rental bans and/or travel restrictions, the lease allows for a full refund. Please request a draft lease for the exact language.

What is the short-term rental tax?

All short-term rentals in Massachusetts are subject to a short-term rental tax. This applies to leases that are 31 days or less. Nantucket’s current short-term rental tax rate is 11.7%. These tax rates are subject to change and will be finalized at the time occupancy transfers. Visit Marleah’s blog for more information on the Massachusetts short-term rental tax.

What forms of payment do you accept and what is the payment structure?

Fisher welcomes paper checks but prefers wire transfers. At this time we do not accept credit cards or online platforms such as Zelle or Venmo. The first payment includes half of the rent and is due upon booking. The second payment includes half of the rent plus tax and security deposit and is due 45 days prior to arrival. You are also welcome to pay in full upon booking. If someone else in your party is making the lease payments, please note the leaseholder will be the recipient of any refunds or security deposit returns.

Does Fisher have vehicle ferry reservations to sell?

While Fisher Real Estate does not sell ferry tickets, you may ask your rental agent whether the homeowner of a specific property has transferable ferry reservations. These are special cases and, in general, ferry reservations are the responsibility of the renter.

Do I need to bring anything with me to my rental?

Bath towels, beach towels, and bed linens are provided. Kitchens are fully stocked with basic cookware and dishware. If you have specific kitchen needs, please ask your agent for more detail on what is provided. You can also ask your agent about beach chairs, coolers, and beach umbrellas.

Do I need to stop by and pick up keys on check in day?

You do not need to pick up keys at the Fisher office unless your agent directs you to do so. You may head right to the house and it will be unlocked for you with keys inside (unless alternate instructions were provided).

Annyes Market

Can you help me with grocery provisioning?

Currently, Nantucket’s Stop and Shop locations do not offer delivery services, but your rental agent can point you in the direction of some great local provisioning and concierge companies. For deliveries on arrival day before check in time, please notify your rental agent so we can ensure that the house has been cleaned and ready for a drop off.

What is the process for security deposits?

A typical security deposit is 10% of the rental rate or $500, whichever is greater. Some homeowners require a higher deposit, especially for those guests bringing a pet. The security deposit is due with the second payment and will be refunded to you within 60 days of checkout barring any damages, excessive cleaning, or on-demand cable charges. After checking out, your rental agent will be in contact with the homeowner, who is then in touch with the cleaners and caretaker to ensure that all is in good order. After this is communicated, we initiate the return.


Do you have additional questions before you sign a lease? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to inquire about Fisher’s Nantucket vacation rentals.