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    Encouraging a property to become pet-friendly has more than one time come back to “bite me”...excuse the pun.

    Here in the desert, the majority of our vacationing guests will stay one to four months. If the guest has a dog they will want to bring it along—after all it’s a family member.

    I love dogs, you love dogs, we all love dogs, but property owners should carefully weigh the risks against the benefits. ALL dogs have accidents occasionally. A “no” to our four-legged guests will surely lose bookings, but a “yes” could result in property damage. 

    Here is how I approach the subject: I explain all the pros and cons, and then let the owner make the decision.

    If there is tile throughout the vacation home then obviously the property is better suited for dogs. Expensive carpet means an owner should give this serious thought.

    There is also the issue of prospective tenants that do not have dogs and may have pet allergies.

    Even if the owner has a dog themselves, it may be best to say no to dog guests. Here’s why: Dogs are territorial. If an owner’s dog or the visiting dog smell the other, either may “mark.”

    If an owner decides to accept dogs there are some ways to safeguard the home against mishaps.

    First, I would recommend that you require a non-refundable pet fee. The fee should cover the costs of professional carpet and upholstery cleaning, as well as cleaning bedspreads, and you will want to have this additional cleaning done immediately following the visiting dog’s departure.

    Even if you do not see or smell any mishaps, believe me: If not professionally cleaned, your next four legged guest will know and may “mark.” You also need to safeguard your future guests who may have allergies they have not mentioned or guest that have overlooked the fact that the property accepts dogs.

    I also recommend that you add a statement to your rental agreement or contract that the guest agrees that any damage or repairs over the pet fee will be deducted from their security deposit, and if costs exceed the deposit the overage will be the responsibility of the guest.

    I have seldom encountered extensive damage but when I have, the costs were significant. From holes dug in the yard that killed landscape, to chewed carpet, scratches on leather furniture, scratches on doors, and most recently, replacing a scratched and very costly UV film on an oversized sliding glass door.
     
    Managers should be sure to check vacation homes carefully after the departure of their four legged guests, document and take pictures of any damages.

    Doggone it's a tough call.


     
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