house-insuranceWhether you’re an animal lover or not, you’ve surely contemplated whether or not to allow pets in your vacation rental. In fact, travelers likely are choosing (or not choosing) your property based on this factor alone sometimes. On Homeaway, it’s on the initial search menu when selecting dates and how many guests will be staying on the property. On Airbnb, pet-friendly properties are part of the advanced search. PetsWelcome.com is an entire website devoted to hotels and rental properties that are pet-friendly. So, it’s a pretty important choice for you to make as a property owner!

Why allow pets?

Allowing pets can be a differentiator if your region is saturated with rental properties. If a renter wants to bring their dog (or sometimes cat) on vacation, they will be seeking out properties specifically allowing pets.

If you do allow pets, you’ll need to have clear house rules regarding age of dog (puppies are cute but can do a lot of damage!), size of the animal, number of animals, vaccination requirements and more.

If you’re hesitant to allow cats due to allergy concerns, make sure your pet policy states this.

VRBO does a nice job of summarizing the considerations you should think about with allowing pets.

The case against allowing pets

Many people are allergic to pet dander, particularly to cats. You may thoroughly clean the property after guests with animals stay there, but if you elect to be pet-friendly, you may be unknowingly turning away those with severe allergies.

There’s also the potential for damage. Pets in a strange place may have anxiety and may be prone to chewing furniture or smaller household items. They may urinate or defecate in the house.

Other factors to consider

If you belong to a Homeowner’s Association, make sure that if you wish to allow pets, you’re clear on where guests can walk them. It goes without saying that your guests should clean up after their animals, especially if they defecate in common areas! Pets should be kept on leashes when not within a fenced yard (if your property has one). See if your city has a noise ordinance and make sure your guests keep barking at bay so you don’t get calls from the neighbors.

Are you going to charge an extra fee for pet owners? Research what property owners usually charge in your market area.

Service animals

What about emotional support animals? Legally, you must make accommodations for people with service animals, no matter what species they are. Technically, a person with a service animal can even rent a property that says “no pets.” This can be a tricky grey area where the law is not on your side. This is something that, as a property owner, you should be aware of in case the situation ever arises.

Ultimately, it is your property, and you must decide what makes the most sense for you and the way you would like to market your short-term rental to potential guests.