Among the many decisions, you will make as an investment property owner is determining if you will allow tenants to have pets. There are many details to consider when allowing pet-friendly rentals. The pros and cons, as well as management tips mentioned in this guide, will help property owners like you make the best decision for the greatest investment gain. Doing your research and working with your property management team will ultimately help you to decide if offering pet-friendly rentals is right for your property.
Pros of Pet-Friendly Rentals
- More renters will be interested in your property. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 72% of renters have pets. Thus, allowing pets at your investment property attract more prospective tenants.
- You can charge more for rent. If the demand for pet-friendly rentals is high in your area, you can very well get away with increasing rent prices. Having a well established pet-friendly property is also beneficial.
- Decrease of sneaking pets into rentals. Studies show that having a pet-friendly rental property will decrease the chances of owners sneaking pets into your property. This helps you avoid any unwanted pet situations and make an additional income by enforcing pet fees.
- Tenants tend to stay longer. Once tenants find a reputable, pet-friendly property, it’s not always easy to find another one. This factor typically pushes tenants with pets to stay longer than tenants without. As long as they don’t cause any problems, having less tenant turnover ensures better business.
Cons of Pet-Friendly Rentals
- Pets can be a major cause of property damage. Animals of all types can damage a rental by scratching or chewing up a surface and having accidents on floors. Although this can be avoided by ensuring your property hosts good pet owners, bad owners may slip through the cracks, potentially causing unwanted financial burdens.
- Pet odors can be persistent. Accidents on carpets can leave unwanted, long-lasting smells in units. Not only is this be a pain to get rid of, but it can also turn prospective tenants away from your property.
- Pets can disturb the peace. Often, dogs, birds, or other pets might cause noise disturbance to neighbors in close proximity. This can potentially cause a lot of complaints and a bad reputation for your property.
- Liability is always a factor. With pets, there is always a chance for injury-related incidents. To ensure a landlord is not liable, a pet must be covered in specific insurance policies.
After considering the pros and cons, you’ll want to take into consideration the many aspects of how to cultivate the best environment for your pet-friendly rentals.
Understand Fair Housing Laws
The Fair Housing Act requires that rental properties require “reasonable accommodation” to renters with assistance/service animals. Such accommodation could include a renter requesting to waive part of the pet policy, such as the deposit or another fee. This could also include a renter requesting their service animal to live at a property with a no-pet policy. As long as a tenant has all of the paperwork required for their service animal, there is really no way around this law, pet-friendly or not.
Create a Clear Pet Policy
Every leasing agreement for a rental property should include a pet policy, even if pets are not allowed. If pets are not allowed, this should be very clearly stated in the policy. If pets are allowed, there should be set expectations required for the pet owner. Some examples of pet policy terms include:
- A pet limit based on property size
- Any breed restrictions such as “dangerous breeds” not covered by insurance
- A weight limit
- Pet deposit
- Monthly pet rent fee
It’s a good idea to emphasize the importance of following the policy because, just like the rest of the lease, a violation of the terms is a breach of contract.
Require Approval for Pets
If you decide to allow pets at your rental property, there are things you can do to avoid having bad pet owners. Before completing a lease agreement, all pet owners should provide vaccination records. You should also obtain spay and neuter records. Pet owners should be informed about their responsibility to clean up after their pets. Also, pet owners should be informed of designated areas for pets to use outside. Another tip to avoid a bad pet situation is to require “pet interviews” prior to moving in.