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Cycy, this is one of those questions that you really have to look within your own comfort zone. Look at a number of factors including whether traveler to your area tend to bring pets (fly-in locations would probably be less likely than drive-to). Search the VRBO or Homeaway listings to see if your direct competition is pet friendly. See how well the pet friendly properties are booked and what they charge for a pet stay and their policies. Our cabins are pet friendly and we average $1,200/year/cabin in pet fees. Pet owners also tend to be very loyal customers. As I like to put it, our four-legged guests make one mortgage payment a year.
If you are very particular about your property and don't want to risk any sort of pet damage, then don't even consider being pet friendly. There's always the risk of a scratched door moulding, urine stain or chewed carpet. The less carpet in your VR, the better suited it will be to pets in case they have an accident.
You can be as strict or flexible with your pet policy as you wish to be. You could say no pets over 25 pounds, no more than one dog, crate-mandatory. Or you could be like me and say larger breeds welcome, multiple dogs welcome with owner approval, crate not required but preferred. This doesn't mean we are overrun with dogs, but we are willing to consider a retired couple who has 3 little yorkies.
Also consider your surroundings. Can pets be easily be taken out for walks? Is the area safe for them? If your property has the potential to be fenced or even have a small area fenced in, that's a huge draw for pet owners. (I wish we could offer that.)
If you have carpet in your VR, I highly recommend using a steam extraction Rug Doctor twice a year or more. With 4 cabins, we broke down and bought one last year (30% off at Kohls put it around $450.) Our cabins have never smelled of "dog" and we work hard to keep it that way. We have far more rentals without pets than those that do, so it's imperative that we keep them up.
I apologize for the lengthy response but since there are so many things to consider, I thought you'd want to know the full story from someone who's been there.
amyg, I appreciate the lengthy reply. While we have a no pet policy at this time, I am considering allowing cratable canines. A have an addidtional question: do pet-owners provide their own crates typically? Or does the VR owner do so?
gmajay, we've never provided crates at our properties because people usually bring them with their pets. However we do have a baby gate at each cabin and encourage pet owners to use them on the decks or inside the house if they want to keep their pet confined to a certain area. People have mentioned using them for their dogs so I know they get used for more than just toddlers!
I think it depends on how close you live to your property as to the amount of risk you can take. My property is on the high-end side and I am catering to a higher end clientel. I have had requests to allow pets from a few potential renters but I have delcined them and still had no problem renting every available day for the season. I live 1500 miles form my property so I have to depend on those times that I can visit (about 4-6 times a year) to fix things and check up on clenaing, etc. I have seen homes that get down rated for smells, pet hair, etc. and that hurts your future business so it really isn't worth it for a few hundred dollars. Maybe if I lived close enough to inspect for myself after each rental and make sure everything was up to my standards I would take the risk. If I were having trouble renting the place I might also consider more risk but with neither of these cricumstances met, it isn't worth it to me.
I have two vacation rentals, one large and closeby, one small and far-away. I accept pets at both, but only about one-third of the time does someone ask to bring a pet. It probably isn't really cost-effective for me to do it, as I always have the carpet professionally cleaned at the far-away location and always clean it myself at the closeby location after a pet(s) stay. The pet charge should cover the carpet cleaning, but it doesn't always because if it's a small group at the large house, sometimes I waive the pet fee, and if it's a regular twice a year renter at the small house, sometimes I waive the pet fee. So far I've found people to be very responsible about their pets, but have had a bigger problem with the large dogs due to much more hair shed and dirty spots on the walls they lay near. I provide old towels and ask people to be sure to put them in areas the pet will be allowed. In addition, my agreement is pretty specific about not leaving a pet in the house unless crated, not allowing pets to potty on the lawns, requiring to be leashed when outside and so forth. At the far-away location I'm lucky to have a great housekeeper to let me know what is going on. After reading what other people have said about NEVER renting a place if they see pets are allowed, I've wondered if I should change the policy, at least to a maximum of 25 lbs. (Be aware that if you show pets accepted and don't specifiy, you will occasionally get a request from a cat owner, too.) Since I like to take my own small dogs when travelling and haven't had a problem yet, I'll leave things as they are for awhile and hope to stay on top of it.
There is a lot of great info in this thread already, but in case you'd like a little more, here's an article on the "Pros and Cons of Accepting Pets at Your Vacation Rental."
Similarly, this article presents Three Perspectives on Allowing Pets.
Finally, if you decide to accept pets, here's some good advice on Creating a Thorough Pet Policy for your Vacation Rental.
Hope this is helpful!
All the best,
HomeAway Community Manager
In 3 1/2 years we have had only 1 instance of pet damage. A dog chewed up a $39.00 throw rug when it got out of its crate while the guests were out. The guest was very apologetic and we simply deducted the cost of a new rug from the deposit and included the receipt when we returned the balance.
Fully 40% of our renters bring their dog(s.) The only restriction is no dogs under 1 year. Not allowing dogs would significantly impact our bottom line.
The under 1 year is a good idea... I also have no ******* in season & have lost bookings because of this as I now stipulate this in our information pack - 2 cancellations so far! ... I cannot get my head round it but folk have actually turned up to us here when they know we have 4 small dogs ourselves with 1 still intact!!
We're in rural Normandy, France where castration of dogs is not a common proceedure by any stretch of the imagination... so they really couldn't even have a restful walk!
This, bringing a ***** in season, is a new development as we've been taking dogs for 8 years, however it used to be mainly British with their dogs on holiday, the last few years we have had a lot of Germans & the trend last couple of years seemed to be bring the dog too... this year we have a big drop in Germans booking with more American & British traffic, therefore less dogs.
Bit of a relief really as we have just completed a lot of improvements to especially our cottage and after our couple of unpleasant dog stays last year I'm waivering about saying no to dogs now.
We have had one Jack Russell who came on her holidays in our Beach house on Utah Beach - she flew from New York in a canvas bag under her Mum's seat... so when I reflect on those type of dogs visiting with us I'm thinking it's not a problem and dogs are positvely welcome... however it's always the same conclusion, it's the few that spoil it!
From day #1 when I started renting my house on Cape Cod in 2008, I made a conscious decision to market the house to pet-friendly vacationers. Since I own two German Shorthaired Pointers myself, I knew that the house would have dog hair and/or allergens that could not be 100% removed by even the best cleaning crew.
I have found it to be one of the best "sub-groups" of tenants, as they tend to be multi-generational families and they treat the house like their own. Approximately 60% to 75% of my vacationers bring their dogs (I do NOT allow cats). I do NOT charge an extra pet fee, but I DO charge an extra pet deposit that gets refunded when the cleaning crew advises that there has been no damage. KNOCK WOOD, I have yet to have any damage from any dog that has visited the house besides normal scratches on the wood floors.
In my rental agreement, I have a statement that reads "This is a pet-friendly property. If you have allergies to pet dander or other medical complications that may arise from pet hair or other pet-related issues, DO NOT rent this property." I have lost only 1 rental because a vacationer had allergies.
I also require that the vacationers crate their dogs when they leave their pets alone in the house. I have lost only 2 prospective vacationers because of this policy. Because I own 2 large dogs myself, I have 2 crates that I leave at the property for use by the vacationers. On the rare ocassion, I have allowed vacationers with small dogs that are not crate-trained to bring a baby gate to seclude their dog in the kitchen area.
One of the other biggest draws I did at the outset was completely fence the backyard. This is a huge draw to "pet families" for not only the four-legged family members but also those with young children. This was a costly addition to the house, but extremely worthwhile.
I believe this policy alone is one of the key reasons that I book my house 100% during the 9-week Summer seaon and get significant off-season rentals.
laughscott - we have exactly the same take as you - do not book here if you have any allergies... cats no way & mine are NOT allowed into the rentals either... the 2 Jacks can visit if someone wants to borrow a dog... we have 1 Jack who is convinced everyone comes just to play with her!
I think the more I am reflecting on this 'problem' is because I had a few uncomfortable dealings, with on analysis, German young guests... so maybe I need to have on my booking form a place for DoB
8 years of excellent guest relations with dog owners why spoil it for the 2 cases of young inexperienced holiday makers!
I recently had a guest announce that she had severe pet allergies. Since she wanted to rent for a whole week, I made an extra effort to wash all bedding and do an extra thorough job of vauuming and dusting. We have had more than 50 guests bring their dog(s) over the last 3 years but, this allergic guest had no problems.
We allow pets at our rental home and require a deposit. We have not had any problems with pets but because we allow pets, some renters sneek their pets in. We even had someone bring rabbits without our consent. I found straw on the carpet and my dog sniffed out some rabbit poop under the bed.
We have been renting our house for five summers and made the decision at the beggining to allow pets. We have usually gotten 2 or 3 dog owners per summer, and have not had any problems at all. There was only one where the house cleaner even mentioned dog hair. We charge an extra $25 per night for dogs. We don't require crates or have any particular restrictions. Many of the guests with dogs tell us they normally use crates - probably owners that travel with dogs tend to use crates.
The fact that our rental property is a single family house rather than an apartment or condo makes a big difference. We do have a yard, though not fenced. Also the town tends to be fairly pet friendly, with trails at the adjacent national lakeshore allowing pets on the trails.
The logic of one of the articles was that if you get one extra rental per year because of allowing pets, and extra week's rental would more than pay to have the carpet replaced every few years. Most of our house has hardwood floors. Only one room has wall to wall carpets. Since we occasionally bring our daughter's dog to the house, we couldn't really advertise it as pet-dander free anyway. I suppose being dog owners ourselves makes us sympthetic to pet owners, though we have not travelled with our own dog.
What we have found is that people who travel with pets tend to have pretty well behaved pets, otherwise they wouldn't take them with them. We did have one inquiry about bringing a couple of cats, which sounded scary - cats can do a lot of damage. I mentioned that to the inquirer and they chose not to rent (whether for that reason, or some other reason, I don't know). All in all, it has gotten us a number of rentals, made a little extra money on the pet fees, and has caused us zero problems and no damage. It just hasn't been a problem for us at all.
This is a interesting question. All 3 of our cabins are pet friendly. People can bring up to 2 dogs to our vacation rentals. The main reason is that we get many more renters that way and we separate our listing from non pet friendly cabins. As pet lovers, we want a place where owners can go with their pets. After all like a renter said, dogs need a vacation too. I would say about 35% of our renters bring dogs. We also get an additional revenue stream from pet fees.
Now the downside. Pet can create damage to your rental place. All of our cabins have either hardwood or laminiate floors which really prevents damage. With the except of 1 cabin which has some carpet. If you do have a rental unit that is wall to wall carpet. I might avoid renting it with pets or at least get a refundable deposit.
The one thing I learned is that pet owners really make every effort that their pets won't damage your rental unit. I have pet owners who bring crates so when they leave the unit, they know the pet won't do anything bad.
The one thing I hate is when people say pets do a lot of damage and I shouldn't rent to them. But honestly kids and maybe teenagers make the most amount of damage in my units. They either break something by not using it correctly or use a colored marker that they shouldn't use. I love kids but just hate it when people say that dogs are worst to rent to. I have 2 dogs and always make sure they do not damage any properties that I rent.
If a rental unit is all carpet. I would recommend getting a deposit or not renting to pets.
Also, do you rent to all pets? I only allow dogs. I don't allow cats. I have had some issues with cats in the past.
I too am a pet owner of one cocker spaniel and five cats, so I wanted to have a liberal pet policy. I learned
the hard, hard way to never allow cats again. And this is coming from one who sleeps with cats on the bed.
I vacummed black cat hair for several months as it kept remainifesting itself. The second example was a
wildish kitten, left far too long on his own devices of amusement. He clawed my furniture and left stains on
the carpet upstairs.
I simply stated that due to guests allergies that I would no longer be able to accept felines. I restricted my dog policy to dogs under 30 lbs. I have waived that rule, after discussing the dog, it's training and habilts on a few occasions and have not had any problems. I would not have thought to accept only neutered animals before reading these posts. I am going to increase my dog charges of 15.00 per dog per day to a flat non refundable policy.
I have a small cottage that sleeps 4 max ( with a sleeper sofa) and since the upstairs sleeping loft is accessed by a spiral staircase I do not accept children under 10. I explain to inquiring guests that it is simply too tempting for a young child, and to much angst for me. They have been most understanding.
I plan to remain pet friendly, but to change my policies to non refundable pet deposits, and require all owners to bring extra sheets or blankets to cover any furniture their pet is accustomed to being on. I am also going to continue the 30 lb. limit, and go on a one on one basis for those with larger dogs. I will also implement a 2 dog limit.
I hope my experience can help some of you who are weighing in on this issue. My overall experience has been quite positive..
Jeannie B. gulfcoast of ms
I'm a dog lover and owner of a Yellow Lab.
I've traveled with my dog, frankly found those vacations a hassle and not very relaxing but understand the need and want of traveling with a pet.
This has been a challenging decision for me as well.
Last season was the first year I advertised, "Pets Considered"
Mainly, the trend with the Cape Cod rental market is allowing pets. I found restricting or not allowing pets REALLY effects rental inquiries & bookings.
With telephone and email interviews, I moved forward.
50% of my renters wanted to bring a dog, or two. I did not have an additional pet fee in place.
1. One renter left their dog to the complaint of several neighbor's about the barking dog. I happen to live next door to my rental so I was aware of this issue.
2. Dog hair and dander from ALL the rentals. My poor cleaning people had to spend additional time getting dog hair and smell out of the house.
3. Minor damage to throw pillows and furniture from anxious pets and claws.
Still, I found the benefits out weighted the negatives: BOOKINGS!
I had very grateful and appreciative renters for the most part.
This year I've allowed pets again. 80% of my renters will be bringing pets.
I still did a phone/email interview about the pets to be visiting.
I have put in place a non-refundable $200 pet fee. (The cost of boarding a dog for a week in our area, which I suggest is an option).
I tell my renters this fee pays for additional cleaning time and creates a "damage, replace, carpet/rug shampoo, & fumigating fund" for a heavy cleaning at the end of the season or prior to my next rental season.
I move forward with optimism... Stay tuned
In spite of a "no-pet" policy, I found out recently that some valued renters had brought their cute, little pooch along during their stay our VR. I only found out after viewing some photos our guests had posted on our VR Facebook page in which one showed the back half of a little dog in a photo!
It was quite a shock that someone I had trusted had violated our rental contract and trust! Welcome to the world of renting! I wondered how many others have been sneaking in dogs with out our knowing it.
I have debating allowing canines for some time, and realize that if I had a dog, I would probably rent from VRs that allow them. As the family who violated our policy explained, "our dog is like one of our kids".
So rather than stay rigid on our no-pet policy, I have decided to try out allowing canines, including theirs, during some off-season rentals. Since we are have had a negative cash flow our first two years of renting, I decided that this might also help our bottom line.
I, too, am cautiously optimistic and only hope that the bit of hassle with additional screening, cleaning, etc., pays off.
Fully 45% of our renters bring their dog(s.) We have had over 130 reservations since 11/23.2007. The only problem that we have had was when a dog chewed up a $39.00 throw rug.That is the only time we have deducted from a security deposit for any reason.
I would rather have a middle aged couple with a couple of dogs than a young couple with a couple of kids, any day.
I am not sure how to post an original question...so I will post my question here.
We do not allow pets and it is clearly stated on the contract. We have just started renting out this year and have had two people bring dogs anyway. We have carpeting in much of the house and are worried about fleas and then the usual concerns regarding dogs (urination, scratching, etc).
How would you handle these breaches of contract?
I have had the same problem. I put in my rental agreement no pets and
if pets are found on the premises you will be asked to vacate the
property. I am close by and I have great neighbors who keep me well
posted. I have had to kick out one family and they tried taking me to
court about it but they lost because it was stated in the rental
My thoughts on handling a pet on the premises without your permission.
First, the rental agreement should delineate in strong (and clearly visible - bolded, large font) language the prohibition on pets. This should include information on the penalty for having a pet on the premises without permission. The penalty would logically be forfiture of a portion or the entire security deposit. (This would likely depend on the amount of the deposit and determination of what may be fair.)
In order to enforce the policy you will need to have your cleaners (they will see evidence of pets, if only shed fur) or some one else who is present during the stay or at turnover time inform you of anyone breaking the policy.
I don't see how you can enforce a no pet policy without someone being on site to check. People will break rules.
I allow pets at my discretion and issue an addendum to the lease with rules for pet owners. It states pet owner responsibilities and that the security deposit will be held and costs deducted for any damages determined by the owner or owner's agents. ( I check regularly with my cleaners for damages whether a pet has been present or not.) The addendum is signed by the guest at the same time they sign the lease.
I believe my guests are honest about their pets, although there isn't a way to be 100% positive unless you have someone watching the property.
I think allowing pets with owner approval (ask questions about breed, age, training, and temperment and in turn advise of leash laws, rules inside and outside the property, discouraging unattended pets and encouraging use of a crate (many of our guests use a crate to ensure their pets are comfortable and to prevent damage). No one wants to forfeit a $500 security deposit.
We have been allowing pets for over 10 years and have not had to hold back a security deposit. Our guests and their pets have been very well behaved. Many return year after year. Perhaps we have been lucky but I believe a good deal of our luck is the effort I make to communicate my rules and my concerns. We have had guests that decide not to bring their dog(s) because they are uncertain of how their pet will behave and/or don't want to be restricted in their ability to come and go from the house at leisure. I caution my guests that pets require planning as would traveling with small children. I am very clear about the need to maintain the house and the furnishings for the comfort and enjoyment of everyone. It's noted in every written communication guests receive, along with, "our goal is to provide you with a vacation that exceeds your expectations".
I hope this is helpful and good luck!
A quick tip on how to start your own discussion thread:
- first, make sure you're logged in to Community
- next, go to the forum where you believe your question fits (in this case, because your topic is pet related, you'd want to click here, or Forums -> Policies & Procedures -> Pet Policies.
- you'll notice on the upper right side of the page, there is a link that says "start a discussion"
- click on that link, and you'll be off and running.
For further questions, you may want to peruse this document about How Forums Work.
I hope that helps, and thanks for being a member of our Community!
Our policy is simpy NO PETS. While we may loose business because of this I see it as important for two reasons. First, of course is cleaning and potential damage issues. Secondly, is that people who have allergies, asthma, etc do not want to stay where there have been pets. We stay at some of our properties ourselves. I have a child which is highly allergic and know what she goes through when she is around pet dander. Just this weekend she stayed at a friend's house who had cats and ended up calling us to come get her at 3 am becuase she was having such allergic reaction. So on one hand I may get business because of it, who knows. But NO PET policy works for us.
I believe if you have carpet in your rental that you can't rent to people with pets. I would list this as a reason in your agreement that you won't rent to pet owners. Dogs cannot be trusted on carpet. We are pet friendly in our rentals but we have hardwood flooring and tile throughout home. I have even removed all throw rugs because of past urine issues with them. A dog will mark a rug that he smells another dog on. Last year 38 of my rentals brought pets and I collected close to $3,000 in pet fees. We bought our vacation home so we could have a safe and comfortable place to stay with our dogs. I do screen my guests and will deny heavy shedding breeds and large dogs that could ruin our lawn. In my three years I had to throw out one bedspread a dog chewed a hole in and the damages came out of the deposit not the pet fee. Sometimes there has been extra work for my cleaning crew but if I wasn't pet friendly they wouldn't be making as much money as they do from my house being at capacity on rentals.
I totally agree. I would never have considered renting to tenants with pets if we had carpet in the house. Dogs do have a tendency to mark their territory and then leave unwanted piles. We ripped out all carpet, found huge stains and replaced with laminate floors or tile. Easy to clean when mistakes are made.