Pet Policies for Short and Long Term Rentals

Pet Policies for Short and Long Term Rentals

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As an investor, your objective is to list the most attractive long-term home or short-term vacation rentals Big Island HI has to offer. We’ve discussed, in previous posts, the importance of adorning the interior and exterior of both home rentals and short-term vacation rentals Big Island HI offers with functional amenities and aesthetic appeal.


What else would matter to a prospective tenant of a short or long term rental? For many people, a landlord’s policy on pets is thefactor that will make or break their decision to rent. Your pet-free dream rental has no appeal to a couple that has declared death-do-they-part to Fido. Thus, it is critical to create a comprehensive pet policy that is attractive to renters with pets.


However, you don’t want to be accommodative to pet lovers in a way that is financially detrimental to you. Though it is important to be empathetic and accommodative, doing so to an extent that creates financial loss is counterintuitive. This week we have put together a few tips and tricks for outlining a policy on pets that will protect your rental while rendering it attractive to pet owners. Below are the three most importance factors to consider when creating your policy on pets.


Factor One: The Pets


Most animals are friendly and gentle. It is actually quite rare to encounter a violent animal, or an animal that is so anxious that he or she chews up all of the furniture. However, these pets do exist, and they are a huge liability for landlords.


The behavior of a pet is predominantly contingent upon the way it was raised. Animals that were rescued from abusive situations may be anxious or angry, and thereby more inclined to aggressive or destructive behaviors. Even if the present owner is attentive and nurturing, these animals will retain the behavioral conditioning of poor treatment early in life. Thus, if your tenant’s animal has a history of abuse, ask carefully about the pet’s behavioral history.


A friendly, laid back pet is less likely to cause damage via destructive behavior. But even happy pets can cause long-term damage. Young dogs and cats, for example, are more likely to tear up furniture or urinate on carpets. Animals that are larger may inadvertently cause more damage to a space. Animals that haven’t received proper vaccinations for fleas, ticks, and certain diseases can develop illnesses that cause messes in the home—gastrointestinal illnesses, for example. You may want to stipulate that animals must be of a certain age and size and have received all necessary vaccinations before accepting them.


Factor Two: Your Space


Certain spaces are far more equipped to handle certain types of pets. For example: if your floors are primarily tile, pets will have a hard time inflicting permanent damage upon them. Wood floors, however, are far more susceptible to damage. And repeated urination in a carpeted space could result in permanent stains and smells that will repel future tenants.


It is also important to consider a pet’s needs in determining whether or not to allow it  on the property. If your tenant has an excitable greyhound and you are renting out a small condo, the hyperactive dog, with no place to run and play, is liable to tear the place up. A cat would be better suited for that kind of space. If, however, you are renting out a large home with a fenced backyard, a greyhound may be a perfect fit.


Another factor to consider is the purpose of the space. Is it a long-term rental? Or do you invest in the many vacations rentals Big Island HI has to offer? If you have long-term rentals with lease periods of a year or more, allowing for safe and happy pets may be a financially beneficial move. However, vacation rentals Big Island HI are a different story. In a space with rapid turnover, pet damage can be hard to reverse quickly and repeatedly. It is thus farm more time and cost intensive to allow pets. Further, allowing guests to bring allergenic dogs and cats may be a deterrent to future renters with allergies.


Finally, if you are furnishing your rental with your own money, anxious pets can make for large losses. If your guests are bringing their own furniture, and your space is mostly tile, you don’t have a whole lot to lose by allowing pets on the property.


Factor Three: Your Agreements


This third tip pertains less to whether or not you should allow pets on your property based on the nature of the pet and your space, and more to the ways in which you should outline your policies once you have crafted them.


Of course, you don’t want to permit violent animals to live on your property. It is easy enough for prospective renters to lie about their pets’ history or behavior. However, tenants are far less likely to lie if they have to put their money where there mouths are. Consider requesting a mandatory pet damage deposit and return it upon the completion of a lease. In so doing, you render the renter responsible for any of the damage their pets incur. In turn, you dodge any guesswork on your part as to whether or not the tenant is being truthful.


Ask your renter to verify that his or her pet receives regular visits to the vet. You should also seek confirmation that the pet has been neutered, potty trained, and treated for ticks, fleas, and diseases. Make clear in the agreement that the deposit becomes non-refundable if you can verify that the tenant falsified any of this information.

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