When you are deciding on whether or not you are going to accept pets, think about the pros and cons before making your final decision.
By allowing animals in your rental you will most likely gain more repeat bookings throughout the year. Guests will have also have a chance to stay for a longer period of time, because they can bring their pet along.
Most people decide to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel because of two reasons: children and pets. Having a strict no pet policy can push away many of your future guests. This also makes your rental twice as hard to rent during your off peak season.
If you do not accept animals, one of the problems we have ran into are the rules about "service animals". Some people claim they have a service animal to avoid pet deposits or cleaning fees.
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) states:
You are not allowed to ask what disability a person has that makes them require a service animal and the person with the disability does not have to provide you with any proof, unless they are trying to gain employment or find permanent housing
A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for person with a disability.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.
The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.
Conventionally, when owners decide against accepting animals, it is for a number of reasons such as animal hair, pet accidents, noise/barking and the possibility of property damage.
ADA does not allow service animals to be charged as part of regular pet fees so owners can run into problems charging if it's a service animal. You can get around this by charging an "extra cleaning for pet hair" or an additional fee for heavy cleaning because the ADA does allow businesses to charge if the pet made a mess. The ADA also allows you to evict the person if the pet is unruly or dangerous to others.
If you've overly concerned about messes, you might want to install an animal friendly access way such as a doggie door or dog run.
A good way to go about allowing animals is having a case by case policy. If an animal is under so many pounds, or not allowing certain breeds ect. Some people have severe allergies to animals and can cause a problem for other potential renters.
Guests should always inform you that they are bringing a pet, even if it is a service animal. Some states have up to a $1,000 fine if a person is falsely stating they own a service animal to gain access.
No matter what you decide on, make sure you review your state's pet policy before disclosing anything on your website. You never want to deter guests from booking, but sometimes it can hurt your ROI allowing animals into your premise.