If you’re a short-term rental host, you’re likely to face the Pet Dilemma: whether to let guests bring their pets. Lots of people travel with their “very well-behaved” dogs (and sometimes, other pets). These special animals would never sleep on the furniture or relieve themselves on the carpet, and they have only the softest bark so as not to disturb the neighbors. Right.
The issue of whether to allow pets in your short-term rental might be moot: you might have pet allergies, live in a building where pets are not allowed—or maybe you just don’t like animals. Otherwise, you’ll have to decide whether the risks are worth the benefit of making your home more attractive to a larger group of potential guests.
Consider these strategies to increase your confidence and avoid problems when you let guests bring their pets.
Charge more for rent, damage deposit, and cleaning
People who travel with their pets usually find it hard to find a short-term rental that will accept them, so they’re usually willing to pay a little more. You can charge a slightly higher rent, although you want to keep it low enough to stay competitive. Most traveling pet owners also expect to pay a higher damage deposit and cleaning fee.
Set criteria for the type of pet, its age, and its size
Just because you accept pets doesn’t mean you have to accept every pet. You might decide to accept dogs but not cats, or vice-versa. You might want to limit the size of the pet. Also consider the pet’s age: very young animals are more likely to chew up or scratch your furniture, and older animals may be incontinent or leave unpleasant odors behind them.
Ask for “pet references”
People who travel with pets might have rented from other hosts. Ask for the names and contact numbers who can stipulate to the pet’s good behavior.
Warn future guests that pets have lived in the home
Many people are allergic to animals. Even if you have no pets of you own, be sure guests know that pets have lived in the home. Highlight that information in your short-term rental listing, and be sure to mention it when you speak with guests directly.
Set clear rules and double-check to be sure guests understand them
Draw up a list of rules for pets’ behaviors: e.g., no pets on furniture or in certain rooms, and pets not left alone in home if they are prone to create a disturbance. Include language in your rental agreement stating that guests assume full responsibility for the pet’s behavior and will reimburse you for any damage the pet might cause.
Alert your neighbors
Let close neighbors know that a pet will be staying in your home. Give them the guests’ contact information and let them know how to reach you in case pets cause a disturbance.
Have you ever accepted pets in your short-term rental? Please share your experiences and tips in the Comments or on our Facebook page.