Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property? Here’s Everything You Need to Consider


There are a lot of things to ponder when choosing whether or not to allow pets in your rental property. Pros and cons on the subject range from gaining potential guests vs. alienating others, to worrying about the potential for damage vs. the ability to charge added fees to protect your investment. All these conflicting opinions, however, make it hard to get a clear picture of what makes the most financial sense. So, let’s take a look at the stats to help you make an educated decision on whether or not you should allow pets in your rental property.

According to research by 2nd Address titled, The 2019 Short-Term Rental Industry Pet-Friendly Housing Study, 47% of all landlords with short term rentals in 2019 are pet-friendly.

pet-friendly rental

The vast majority of the allowable pets are cats and dogs, with 45% welcoming dogs and 43% allowing cats. However, there is a growing number of properties that allow a variety of other small pets. Listings are highly likely to invite small-sized pets who are well trained, but exclude sick animals, barking dogs, puppies, and due to insurance concerns, some aggressive breeds.

Certain areas have been quicker to adopt the trend than others. There are some indications that larger, more metropolitan areas are the most likely to have available pet-friendly accommodations. For example, the largest city in the United States, New York, is also the most pet-friendly with 63% of short-term rentals allowing pets. They are followed closely by Seattle in the number two spot at 61% and Chicago to round out the top three at 54%.

There is also growing evidence that pet-friendly properties are more lucrative than their non-pet neighbors. For starters, pet owners tend to stay longer in one location, meaning higher occupancy rates for your property.

Plus, pet lovers pay on average 16% more per stay or about $23 extra per night to accommodate their furry companions as compared to non-pet rentals in the same areas. This is because they expect to pay extra fees to facilitate their pet’s needs.

On average, short-term rentals will charge a $50 pet fee and a $120 cleaning fee to cover the cost of hiring professional cleaning companies to get rid of animal hair and stains, ensuring that the home is reset and ready for the next guest.

The question remains: Is the opportunity to increase revenue in your rental unit worth the effort? 

Traveling with furry companions is becoming a growing trend and the demand for pet-friendly rentals is likely to continue to increase. As of 2019 data shows that pet-friendly units are 4% more likely to be occupied than similar units in the neighborhood. Most indications point to allowing pets in your rental to both increase revenue and increase occupancy rates. This is even more true in areas where it is hard to find a pet-friendly property to stay.

The numbers show that pet-friendly short-term rentals are more profitable, however, you are probably still wondering what could possibly go wrong? The surprising answer is that with a little forethought and preparation, the answer is: very little.

Of course, we have all heard the horror stories about property damage, noise complaints, and lingering pet odors, but many landlords have discovered this to be relatively unlikely. In fact, they have begun to notice that pet owners’ network and recommend other good pet owners to pet-friendly properties through positive feedback.

If you are considering making a switch, here are a few tips to attract responsible guests and protect your property at the same time:

1. Take Care of the Proper Paperwork

Start by checking with your home insurance company to see if allowing pets will impact your insurance premium. Some insurers allow most breeds of dogs, cats, and fish with minimal or even no additional charge.

Be very specific with your rental property’s pet policy to avoid any unexpected surprises. For example, if your property is simply pet-friendly with no specifics, you could end up with strange and unwelcome visitors like pigs, snakes, or perhaps even a monkey. Include requirements for all pets to have up-to-date vaccinations, flea/tick prevention, licenses, and tags.

You can find information on your local city codes regarding required vaccines and licenses online for most cities and counties.

2. Make Some Simple Upgrades

After the legal requirements are taken care of, it’s time to take a look at the property. The first and most obvious bit of advice is to install pet appropriate floors. Tile or hardwood is great, but remember to seal wood floors to lock out any unwanted odors. If you can, provide an outdoor feature like a patio, enclosed yard, or dog run to make the space more comfortable for pets.

3. Add Some Finishing Touches

Once the basic accommodations are taken care of, consider some little details to attract more guests. Similar to a hotel snack basket and mini bar, put together a pet welcome kit stocked with treats and toys to make guests and their pets feel right at home. Include food and water bowls, waste bags, and perhaps a dog mat to make the space as accommodating as possible.

Also, remember to include pet-friendly guides to the area for locating amenities like the nearest dog park.

4 Protect Your Investment

In the rare event of damage to the property, it is important to make sure that pet fees are enough to cover the damages. Keep your repair quotes up to date for common damage like furniture, carpets or moldings, and update your fees as needed. Some landlords use a refundable deposit of around $200 to ensure they aren’t stuck with the cost of any unexpected damage.

None of this will come as any surprise to responsible pet owners who are happy to pay for good, pet-friendly accommodations. The growing trend means that there are plenty of opportunities for landlords to tap into a huge pool of potential renters by offering pet-friendly lodging. The risk for landlords is relatively low as long as you cover the basics and have proper insurance. You can protect your investment and serve the demand of a very large and ever-growing segment of short-term renters. So, go ahead and welcome those furballs to your short-term rental, maybe even a scaly one too.