Pets and Your Vacation Homes and Condos

So you purchased a vacation home or condo and now you are trying to decide if you should allow pets. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Will I get more bookings if I allow pets at my vacation home?
  • Will renters not want to rent my vacation home because I allow pets at my home?
  • Do pets really damage vacation rentals?
  • If I say No Pets Allowed, can I really enforce that rule?
  • What type of pets should I allow if I decide to allow them?
  • How many pets should I allow?
  • Am I trying to rent my vacation home to guests with pet allergies?
  • If I decide to allow pets what should I do to minimize any associated risks?
  • After all is considered should I allow pets?

Here is my advice and suggestions based on 8 years of experience and owning 7 vacation rentals.

Will I get more bookings if I allow pets at my vacation home?

It has been our experience that allowing pets has increased our rentals. If you refuse pets, you will lose rentals to anyone who wants to vacation with their pet. It becomes a question of balancing the number of rentals lost due to refusing pets, by the number of rentals lost due to renters with allergies. They may be unwilling to stay if you occasionally have pets in your rental home. However, keep in mind we do have rules with respect to type of pet, number of pets, and activity of pets. We also have renters who bring pets and get them to sign a Pet Policy.

Will renters not want to rent my home because I allow pets at my vacation home?

Some renters will already have it in their minds that vacation rentals who allows pets are dirty, smelly and run down. You will not be able to change their minds, so do not even bother trying. Such renters would likely be problem renters anyway. Some renters with allergies will also avoid your home, but in our experience there are fewer of these than there are pet owners.

Do pets really damage vacation rentals?

While some pets do, the vast majority do not damage vacation rentals. You would never even know a pet had ever been there. Most pet owners who travel with their pets, have clean well kept homes. They expect their pets to behave in their own home and while on vacation. These kinds of renters will always ask if they can bring their pet to your home. These are not the renters and pets you need to worry about. Pets you need to be wary of are ones that are not used to traveling or even being indoors.

Unfortunately, there are some renters who seldom admit they are bringing a pet because they anticipate damage or at least a mess. Protecting yourself with a good pet policy is more effective than simply banning pets. Banning them will not ensure that renters would not bring them along anyway and try to sneak them in.

If I say no pets allowed can I really enforce that rule?

We do not come right out and say that pets are allowed at our vacation homes, but rather we ask renters to inquire about pets. We found this to work very well. Renters will then ask us about pets and we can find out what type of pet they intend to bring etc. We then are able to inform them of our pet policy and we ask them to sign the pet policy. I use the pet policy found on www.GoRentPro.com. This pet policy has everything I needed and could also be modified to suit my individual needs.

You can also ask for an additional security deposit for any renters who bring pets. It has been our experience that renters who told us about their pets were not the problem, but renters who try to sneak in their pets are the problem.

If you know in advance that certain renters will have pets at your vacation home, you can let your property management know. They can check for any problems while the renters are there, and also check more closely for evidence of damage after the renters check out. Inform your property management of any pets that will be staying at your vacation home. Insist that your management staff immediately report any unauthorized pets at your home.

What type of pets should I allow?

Most renters travel with a small dog or cat. Very few travel with a large dog because a large dog takes up so much room in a vehicle and usually that room is used for people and luggage. Renters that travel with dogs and cats will usually have them in pet carriers. Most renters do not want an unruly pet accompanying them on vacation.

How many pets should I allow?

How many pets you allow at your vacation rentals will depend on the size of your rental. If your home is a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom vacation home and the guest want to bring 4 dogs I think that is a bit much. Really, it will be up to you to determine if you will permit any exceptions but do so only if you are very comfortable.

After all is considered should I allow pets?

In most cases it is more profitable to allow pets than to refuse them. Most people who tell you they are bringing a pet are never a problem. It is often when they try to hide a pet, that you have problems.  It is generally better to allow pets and to insist on full disclosure. Have the renters sign the pet policy to encourage them to be responsible and to have a security deposit to ensure accountability.

When it’s all said and done,  I travel with my own pet. If you travel with your pet, you know how difficult it can be at times to find accommodation suitable to both your family and your pet. As a pet owner and rental home owner who sympathizes with this dilemma, I allow pets in my vacation home.