8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 8, 2020 8:47 AM by twobitrentals RSS

    Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)

    bonesxxx Active Contributor

      I thought I'd start a thread on best practices with respect to being a pet-friendly rental where we can share our tips & tricks for allowing pets while protecting both our homes and our sanity.


      My property attracts a lot of dog lovers... probably 50% of my rentals include a dog (or dogs).  In my property description, I say: "This listing is 'pets considered.' Please send me an inquiry before making a booking request or using Instant Book.  While I try to be as accommodating as possible, I am particular about the number and types of dogs I will allow."


      Whenever I get an inquiry, I fire off this template:


      "Dear <GUEST_FIRST_NAME>,


      I am a dog lover so I am trying my best to allow people to bring their dogs.


      That said, in order to bring a pet (or pets), you will need to sign my rental agreement and the pet addendum.


      So there are no surprises, here is the executive summary:


      * I don't charge a pet fee. Instead I ask that you clean up after your pet such that my housekeeper can't tell that you had one there (pet hair, paw prints, nose prints, doodie, etc). It's important that you understand and are ok with this as it means doing a little cleaning at the end of your stay (especially if your dog sheds a lot). So far all my fellow dog people have LOVED this approach since many of them tidy up after their pets anyway and, like me, don't like paying pet fees.

      * Crate use is mandatory if you leave the pet unattended inside the cabin.


      * Pet's nails must be trimmed before your stay. This is the #1 reason I may not allow pets in the future... my 2-year old floors look like 10 year old floors due to the scratches left by untrimmed nails.


      * Make sure your pet(s) are up to date on flea and tick prevention.


      I appreciate your understanding. If you agree with the above, I am happy to have y'all. As you can see from my reviews, dogs have as much fun (if not more) as their owners when visiting H'Owl at the Moon Farm.





      So far this approach has worked out very well.  I think if you charge a pet fee, people just think they can let the dogs create all the mess they want since they paid for it.  Whereas if you tell the guests you are giving them a pass on a fee in return for being responsible and courteous pet owners, they will step up and pretend that they are even when they might not always be.

        • Re: Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)
          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

          I  charge a pet fee and pet deposit and still have all the same requirements for their pets. I love that you ask that they trim their nails, my hardwood floors are pretty scratched from dogs too, so I may adopt that as well. My pet addendum spells out everything that is required. They may not leave the pet unattended in the house or outside in the fenced yard. The pet must be crated also during those times. I supply a crate for their use. I know many think that a fenced back yard should allow for a pet to just stay outside, but I can’t have a dog barking, or digging while guests are out and about. I never allow for a large dog for liability reasons.....I know many will say a smaller dog will bite more often than a larger dog, but the reality is that larger dogs do more damage should they ever become aggressive. In addition, I have lawncare that come and go and don’t want to lose someone’s pet or have my Lawncare folks in a difficult situation.


          I really don’t see the problem with charging for the extra pet hair that is left for the cleaner to clean or a surprise in the yard that the guest missed that must be cleaned up (haven’t had that happen yet, thankfully).....but as you mentioned more damage to floors and probably decks too (I just installed a brand new deck). The deposit is for anything that might be damaged as in chewing, urinating or carpets, etc.

            • Re: Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)
              bonesxxx Active Contributor

              Out of curiosity what is your pet fee and how much do you charge for the pet damage deposit?

              • Re: Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)
                casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                Thanks for starting this threat. I like the friendly tone of your pet agreement, and am inspired to make mine a bit more friendly.


                For dog owners (I don't take any other kinds of pets), I leave: a doggie treat in my welcome basket, poop bags, furniture covers folded up for guests to use if they know they can't keep their dogs off the furniture, food and water bowls, and pet accident cleaner under the sink.


                I charge a $75 pet fee, which is modest in my condo complex--I've seen fees as high as $250. Occasionally my cleaner will have a lot of dog hair to clean up and when that happens, I pay her extra. Otherwise the pet fee just goes towards any wear-and-tear from having pets. I rarely have problems, but, for instance, I'm pretty sure one set of dogs peed on the floor and splashed a long curtain--had to send those out for cleaning. I waive the pet fee for certain long-time repeat renters.


                I also provide a list of local dog-friendly restaurants, and the contact information for local doggy-daycares and for a wonderful dog sitter/walker who, conveniently, lives in my complex.

                  • Re: Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)
                    scowol Active Contributor

                    As I read casitacynthiasantafe 's post, I could have written it myself!  I do exactly the same.


                    What is very important to keep in mind is that if your guest's dog is accustomed to sitting on furniture and/or sleeping in their bed at home, it will do so at your VR.  A contract won't change that behavior no matter how nicely or strongly it's worded.  So do as casitacynthiasantafe is doing and provide furniture covers. I keep a unique color of sheets (so they don't get mixed with my regular sheets) folded up in a bin labeled "Pet sheets."


                    I also leave a letter that is written to the pet at the house for their check-in.  This is because the rental agreement they signed is long forgotten.  So they need to be reminded at the house.


                    "Dear Fido,


                    Welcome to our vacation home!  We bet your trip out was very exciting!  To help you get settled in right away, a bowl for your food and fresh water has been set out for you.  In case you are hungry after your journey, there's a special bag of treats just for you!

                    There's lots of new things to sniff!  But if you are running about on the grass lawn and feel the sudden urge to go, try to cross your paws, and run to the side yard.  It's a special place just for you to take care of mother nature in private!  That will make sure that the grass lawn stays nice and green for you and your human family to enjoy!   If you need to go poopy, we have a roll of bags that your humans can use to keep your special area looking and smelling nice and clean!  


                    and so on....


                    P.S.  I charge $75 per stay.  I tell my housekeeper when there is a pet, and she will spend the extra time (and $75) to use the vacuum crevice tool along baseboards, under furniture, etc.  I give my housekeeper the full $75 as not every guest has a dog or likes them.  I don't want future guests to find a single hair.

                      • Re: Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)
                        casitacynthiasantafe Contributor

                        Hey scowol--thanks for the validation! I agree: dogs that are used to sleeping on the beds and the furniture at home will do this anywhere. How do I know this? Because my own little cupcakes think that all furniture is made for their comfort. We travel with beds and furniture covers for them.


                        I like your letter to Fido & may add that.


                        I used to give all the $75 to my cleaner/manager, but, after a couple years, she told me that most of our pet owners are so meticulous that she didn't want to take it unless she really had to do extra! (Yes, I know, I am so lucky that she works for me and I do try in many ways to make it worth her while to stick with me....). She also takes any towels that are stained by makeup, etc., and no longer useable in the bathrooms, and rolls them up very neatly and stacks them in a nice wicker basket by the door, labelling them "utility towels" for dog paws, muddy shoes, etc.

                  • Re: Being a Pet-Friendly Rental (tips and tricks)
                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                    We are happy to accommodate your canine companion with advance notice and the following conditions…

                    • Most importantly - well-behaved owners must accompany your dog!

                    • Your dog must be friendly and well socialized with other people and other dogs. Your dog must be at

                    least 2 years old. Your dog must not be a “chewer”.

                    • Your dog must be housebroken. And if you have a male dog, please donʼt allow him to “mark” on the

                    deck posts, planters or on any other object on the decks. “Potty pads” are not to be used inside – your

                    dog must be relieved outside.

                    • You must use some type of flea control product on your dog – either a flea dip or Frontline (also good

                    for ticks) or equivalent.

                    • An increase in the security deposit to $375. This is a refundable deposit less damage and

                    extraordinary cleaning fees. Any damages in excess of the $375 will be the responsibility of the Guest.

                    • A charge of $25 per night for your dog.

                    • Your dog must be on a leash when outside – reason is that we run cattle on our property and simply

                    cannot have your dog chasing our cattle on this steep property. Our county also has a leash law

                    and most properties in the county are not fenced.

                    • Your dog is not to be left unattended in the house or tied up outside. However, if your dog is a

                    non-barker and crate-trained, we will allow leaving your dog in a crate for a short timeframe such as

                    going out to dinner.

                    • You must clean up after your dog. Plastic bags will be provided for your use.

                    • You should provide your own bowls and bedding for your dog. We prefer that your dog sleep on the

                    floor. But if your dog does not, please bring any covers for bed and/or furniture. And please do not

                    leave any pet food outside.

                    • Please do not allow your dog in the pool or hot tub. You may use a hose to cool your dog off during the

                    hot summer months. Please bring your own towels for drying off your dog before it re-enters the house

                    – this includes towels for rainy weather.