How the rental industry is embracing pet-friendly

Worldwide: ShortTermRentalz speaks to 2nd Address content marketing manager Yuqing Pan about how the short-term rental industry is becoming more pet-friendly.

Travel is often about leaving the comforts of home, but something is hard to leave behind—pets. Nowadays, more pet owners are bringing along their furry pals on their travels. A study by TripAdvisor shows that 53 per cent of travellers take their pets with them.

Short-term rentals are particularly good for pet-friendly trips, as many accept animals—dog, cats, and even guinea pigs. Contrary to hotels with small space and no outdoor area, travellers who opt for pet-friendly rental homes ensure a happier time for their fluffy travel companions.

Just how pet-friendly are short-term rentals? Data scientists at 2nd Address, an online marketplace for furnished apartments, crunched numbers to find out:

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The 2019 short-term rental industry pet-friendly housing study

How many short-term rentals are pet-friendly?

Overall, 47 per cent of short-term furnished rentals are pet-friendly in 2019, according to the 2nd Address study. Pet-friendly homes usually come with outdoor features like a patio or a fenced yard. Some hosts even provide a welcome pet-kit, from pet treats to a portable water bowl, for some first-class comforts.

When it comes to the classic “Cats vs Dogs” debate, 45 per cent of short-term rentals are dog-friendly compared to a slightly lower 43 per cent that are cat-friendly. Cat allergy is a major concern for property hosts, as cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. Some hosts are also worried about scratches on the furniture and the smell of cat urine.

The types of pets most welcome in furnished rentals? Small, well-behaved adult dogs. Sorry puppies—cute as they are, they also chew on shoes and furniture. Some hosts may place restrictions on certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls, due to their home insurance policy.

To welcome Fidos, many short-term rental hosts prepare waste bags, a dog mat, and guides on the nearest dog park.

Other small animals, such as fish, hamsters, and birds, are also likely to be welcomed at short-term rentals. There are hosts who even accept reptiles in their properties, if they are kept in the tank.

Which city has the most pet-friendly units?

New York City is quickly becoming a hotspot for traveling with pets, with 63 per cent of furnished rentals allowing pets. It doesn’t come as a surprise considering the city’s 1.1 million pet population—dogs and cats alone! From pet-friendly subway to restaurants, New Yorkers don’t like to leave their pets at home, and thanks to pet-friendly rentals, out-of-towners don’t have to either.

The Emerald City on the west coast also sends a warm welcome to pets, as 61 per cent of short-term rentals opt in as pet-friendly. In Chicago, 54 per cent of units allow dogs, cats, and other furred, scaled, or finned friends.

It’s a different story for San Francisco—a famous pet-loving city but has a lower percentage of pet-friendly units. In the nation’s tightest rental market, property hosts are less incentive to do so because don’t have to worry about missing out on tenants with pets.

How much do pet-friendly rentals cost?

Having furry companions in short-term rentals come with a premium. On average, pet-friendly rentals are 16 per cent more expensive than comparable units in the same neighbourhood, which translates to approximately $23 per night, according to the 2nd Address study.

In most cases, property hosts charge a one-time admission fee for pets. The average pet fee is $50. Some may choose to go with a refundable pet deposit, usually at $200. The deposit will be returned if there’s no damage at move-out—just like any security deposit.

Pet cleaning fees also apply, which covers the cost of hiring professional cleaning companies to get rid of animal hair and stains. The average pet cleaning fee is $120 per booking.

Does pet-friendly attract more renters?

With more people hitting the road with their fluffy friends, the demand for pet-friendly rentals has increased. Data show that pet-friendly units are four per cent more likely to be occupied than comparable units in the same neighbourhood.

Tips for pet-friendly property hosts

Turning a short-term rental property to pet-friendly can be beneficial for hosts. Not only will it attract a wider selection of guests, but also happier guests. For hosts who want to grow their rental income by allowing pets, there are a few tips to consider:

1. Check with home insurance companies to see if allowing pets will impact insurance premium. Some insurers allow most breeds of dogs, cats, fish with a minimal or even no additional charge.

2. Have a clear policy on what pet is allowed. Allowing pets doesn’t mean that the property has to allow all kinds of pets. Obviously, few hosts would be happy to see a monkey or five-foot python at their properties.

3. Require all pets to have up-to-date vaccinations, flea/tick preventatives, licences, and name tags. Check with your local policy to determine the required vaccines and licenses.

4. Make sure that pet fees are enough to cover any potential damages. Keep quotes for carpet cleaning, new carpet installation, and furniture replacement up to date. Adjust pet fees when necessary.

Bottom line

Pet owners are willing to go through the extra trouble of finding suitable accommodations where their pets won’t be consigned to second-class citizen status. Picking up on the trend, the short-term rental industry is becoming more receptive to pets. A little extra something for pets, whether it’s a water bowl or a few waste bags, makes travellers and their loyal companions feel at home.