Allow Pets in your STR/Vacation Rental? Yes or No?

21 Replies

Did a search for this and couldn't find a lot of discussion about pets in STR, only LTR. I am trying to rent my "winter" home in St. Pete, FL for 6 months while I'm gone (in 30-day minimum increments thanks to my HOA). I have gotten a couple inquires in two weeks on the market but not much. The lack of interest has me wondering if allowing pets would open things up for me? We have an older Golden Retriever and are dog people, but I just keep thinking about younger dogs or dogs that aren't trained well being at the property and destroying things. Do you folks generally allow pets in your STR's or not? I am open to the idea of collecting additional revenue via the NR pet deposits/pet fees and rolling the dice, but I don't want my house totally destroyed either, thanks!

I think offering pet friendly will definitely interest potential renters, especially with a 1 month min. Most people with pets would not want to leave them with someone else for that period of time and are definitely willing to pay to bring their pets with them. I also do 1-3 mon rentals in Florida and have been pet friendly since I started STR's 4 years ago. I have had many pets in my properties and have never had any issues. I believe people that travel with pets respect your home as they would their own. I charge a non refundable $100/mo pet fee and on the off season with shorter rentals I charge $5/day. I'm sure people would probably pay even more to have their pets with them. I do only allow dogs though, because there are so many people with cat allergies.

I am pet-friendly in both of my listings, and it's a selling point for me because most STRs in my area don't take pets. 

In 2.5 years, I have had no destruction of anything by a pet (I realize it will probably happen someday). Occasionally, a dog will be so hairy/shedding that cleaning takes extra time (I do my own), but not often. Minimal poop on the property, too. I'm in the country, so barking is not an issue.

Most people who take pets take a deposit or fee. I don't, but it has even been suggested that pet fees are a good revenue stream. Someday, I may have one.

In your advertisement, do you say “no pets”? If so, that could be why your response has been light. If you’re open to the right dog, and take an extra deposit, you can decide request by request. Try removing that from your listing, if so and you’ll know.

 You’re dog people. Understanding that it is extra risk is essential and you’ll collect more money as a result of that. You’ll only lose the guests who are allergic, fewer than those who have pets.

Also, if someone even mentions they have a service dog, you can’t use that as a reason to deny them. Read up on it on Airbnb if you’re use unfamiliar with that.

I have a wonderful dog.  I will not allow animals in any of my rentals.  I've seen too many people who are not careful about their animals, and it's not a thing I want to deal with.  

@Bob Mueller Jr. I allow pets in my 5 vacation rentals. I definitely see this as a selling point and we are substantially busier than nearby listings. I charge a refundable deposit on all reservations regardless of pets and my cleaning fee is higher due to the extra cleaning involved. I think it is a great market. I am very specific with weight limits, number of pets, etc. It is really important to get all possible issues out in the open before they book the property. If you would like the specific language I use in my listings, I’m happy to pass it on. Just send me a PM.

Good luck and have fun with the process!

I let people who I know bring their pets but haven't allowed the general public renting our vacation rentals to bring theirs. We manage a couple of cottages side by side and all else being equal, the one that allows dogs is rented out far more. There is risk but there is also reward in the form of additional revenues and additional bookings. I would recommend marketing your property to realtors. They have people looking for places to stay short term all the time! 

Originally posted by @Bob Mueller Jr. :

Did a search for this and couldn't find a lot of discussion about pets in STR, only LTR. I am trying to rent my "winter" home in St. Pete, FL for 6 months while I'm gone (in 30-day minimum increments thanks to my HOA). I have gotten a couple inquires in two weeks on the market but not much. The lack of interest has me wondering if allowing pets would open things up for me? We have an older Golden Retriever and are dog people, but I just keep thinking about younger dogs or dogs that aren't trained well being at the property and destroying things. Do you folks generally allow pets in your STR's or not? I am open to the idea of collecting additional revenue via the NR pet deposits/pet fees and rolling the dice, but I don't want my house totally destroyed either, thanks!

 Funny, I was just pondering this exact thing. Biggest downside for me is the shedding & pet hair that literally gets everywhere & is a pain to fully clean up. My main concern would be future guests (esp those with pet allergies) giving me 1-star bc  they couldn’t stop sneezing all week while on vacation at my place & now they’re pissed at me that I let a prior guest have a pet

I guess if you’re gonna allow pets make it clear in the listing so people with pet allergies don’t stay there and give you unexpected 1 star reviews

Sounds like you answered your own question. I allow pets, collect the pet fee and have never had any issues.

We allowed dogs in our vacation rental and never had a problem. Charging a pet fee is a nice way to generate a little extra income. My husband is allergic to cats so we did not allow them. We found that guests who brought their dogs to our home were respectful and good about cleaning up after them. If your home has carpet then you may want to consider getting them shampooed a little more often.

Our home is dog friendly. We allow up to 2 dogs with a maximum weight of 80lbs. That covers most popular dogs like labs and such. If someone asks about a larger dog, I consider it depending on the breed.

I don't allow certain breeds (pit bulls, Cane Corso etc) and charge a $50 per dog per stay.

I have had one person balk at the 50 bucks. My dog is so sweet, never does anything ever, washes dishes and does laundry, he is amazing! I shouldn't have to pay!

She ended up paying.

@Michael Baum I don’t see where AirBnb allows a pet fee to be charged but I think maybe VRBO does. Are you just manually charging these pet fees?

Originally posted by @Bob Mueller Jr. :

@Michael Baum I don’t see where AirBnb allows a pet fee to be charged but I think maybe VRBO does. Are you just manually charging these pet fees?

 Yes, I add the fee via the Verbo dashboard when they first inquire just before I send the acceptance. I state the fee in the ad, but I also make sure they are OK with it before I actually accept their reservation.

We only get a few AirBNB guests and none have had a dog yet so I haven't tried to add the fee. There doesn't seem to be an easy way to add one.

No pets for me. Used to have one that was pet friendly. Wasn’t worth it. Let them stink up someone else’s house. 

I have always allowed dogs from the first day I started so I don't know the difference from not allowing pets.  So far I have never had a problem.  Occasionally I have a guest with a dog a when it is raining and get a little bit of a wet dog smell.  I keep mild air fresheners out and open the windows right away.  We don't get many rain days here though.  I have never had a problem with the yard being a mess or anything damaged.  The neighbors right next to my units have 2 little white poodle yapping dogs, and they have never complained about a guests dog to me either.

@Bob Mueller Jr.

Permitting pets will indeed attract more renters. If you are wary about fur getting everywhere, damage, liability, etc. you can certainly limit size and weight of pet.

I'm a fan of being more lenient of allowing pets in rentals in class B+ and up neighborhood as the type of renters you get are typically more responsible than those in, say, class C and D neighborhoods.

Finally, if you are to permit pets make sure you're not in violation of your insurance as some prohibit certain breeds.

No way.

Funny story- While I was getting my rental ready, (I had already decided no pets after house was ready to rent) i had family members stay at the home- they had a large dog and a small dog. Both dogs were house broken.

The first night they stayed, the large dog went into our master and laid a huge dump. The small dog went under the pool table and took a piss. Both areas are carpeted.

@Jake Cohen

Could you please email me your pet policy on your rentals? Thank you in advance!

I am not a fan of pets in my rentals. But recently we been allowing pets in my rentals. We wanted to reward honest people who love their pets and are upfront about pets. When we were not allowed pets in the rentals, crooked tenants always find a way to bring pets in claiming they are “emotional support animal”.

@Bob Mueller Jr. I actually just wrote a blog post about this last week.

shelbypracht.com/pet-friendly-vacation-rentals

We do allow pets when the HOA allows it, and find it to be significantly more profitable (Higher occupancy and higher gross income) than our other properties, and we dont charge any kind of additional pet fee or deposit. The cleaning fees are slightly higher, but nothing substantial. I know this will sound terrible, but I've had children cause way more damage to our units than pets ever have.

@Eric P. : One thing that has helped with dog hair is supplemental vacuumings with a robotic vac. I don't find the robotics adequate for a full, normal vacuuming, but they do pick up a lot of hair the regular vac misses. Especially when I have a day or 2 between guests, I can just send the robo-vac out on several daily rounds.

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