Today, sixty-seven percent of US households own a pet. Pets are able to provide joy and companionship to many people. Most pet-owners consider their pet as part their family, and wouldn’t want to move without bringing them along.
Before renting out your property, you need to decide on the pet policy. Accepting pets in your units has both its advantages and disadvantages. While you’ll get more tenant applicants, there will also be a greater risk of possible property damage.
The Pros of Allowing Tenants with Pets
1. Larger Pool of Prospective Tenants
In a study done by the American Veterinary Association, 50% of tenants own pets. When you set up a strict “no pets” policy, you give up half of your potential tenants. But if you choose to be flexible, you’ll be able to get a larger pool of tenants.
2. Higher income from Increased Rent
If there aren’t a lot of pet-friendly properties in your area, tenants will have less options. This means you’d be able to charge a somewhat higher rent because of the higher demand. You may also charge pet deposit which is like an additional security deposit for pet owners.
3. Longer Tenant Stay
Tenants who own pets tend to stay in the property longer. It’s harder for pet owners to move for a few reasons. Here are a couple:
- There aren’t many pet-friendly rental properties, so when they find one, they tend to stay.
- Pet owner, especially those who own dogs, don’t want to stress out their pet by moving often.
4. Pet Owners Earn More
Although the reason is unclear, pet owners tend to have higher income. Several studies show that pet owners earn above-average salary and have better financial health. As a property owner, this is good news. A tenant with a good financial record is less likely to miss payments or abruptly leave without paying rent.
5. More Responsible Tenants
In general, pet owners are responsible tenants. Since they’ve decided to take care of a pet, it shows that they are mature and can also take care of themselves and your property.
6. Pet Owners are Happier People
Since animals help reduce stress, your tenant will be happier. They will be more relaxed and will make your property their home. Having a happy tenant will also make you a happy owner.
The Cons of Allowing Tenants with Pets
1. Increased Chance of Property Damage:
Pets can chew carpets and scratch floors. They might even chew through doors and cause damage to the garden. Of course, some pets are more well-behaved than others, but there is always a greater risk for damage when pets are present.
2. Pets can Disturb Neighbors:
No matter how well-trained a pet is, their behavior is unpredictable. Pets can make loud noises that can disturb neighbors, or they may unexpectedly bite neighbors and damage their property.
3. Allergens in Air Ducts or Carpets:
Even if your current tenant isn’t allergic to pets, allergens can stick to carpets and air ducts. These allergens can remain there for a long time. If a new tenant who has an allergy to pets moves in, they might experience an allergic reaction.
4. Pets Cause Odors:
When pets are present, accidents can happen which cause odors in the property. It might not be noticeable at first, but the odor can be hard to get rid of, even after having the unit professionally cleaned.
If you decide to accept pets, that’s great! However, you should follow the following steps to mitigate the risks.
Mitigate the Risks of Having Tenants with Pets
1. Screen Tenants Well
You can request potential tenants to provide you with a pet resume or letters from previous landlords. Having these documents will help you know more about your tenant and their pet.
If letters from former landlords isn’t possible, you can call them instead.
2. Collect a Higher Security Deposit
Aside from charging a higher rent, you can also require a pet deposit. This is different from pet fees. Pet fees are like an admission fee to enter the property.
On the other hand, pet deposits are similar to security deposits. They are reserved for property damage caused by pets. If unused, the deposit is returned back to the tenant when they move-out.
3. Require the Pet to be Spayed or Neutered
If the pet has been spayed or neutered, it is generally more well-behaved and relaxed. For example, neutered males no longer feel the need to roam around the neighborhood or engage in fights. Also, spayed females will not go in heat, bleed on the carpet or make noises to attract males.
4. Follow Fair Housing Rules
It’s important to be familiar with the Fair Housing Law related to pets. Even if you don’t allow pets, you can’t reject a disabled tenant who needs their pet for assistance. Also, this law includes those who are clinically depressed and suffer from post-traumatic stress.
5. Make the Lease Specific
If you decide to allow tenants with pets, you need to include a pet addendum in your lease. It should specify your pet policy, and your expectations from the tenant. By signing it, your tenant agrees to follow all the terms. If your tenant fails to comply with it, it is considered breaking the contract.
6. Check Your Insurance Coverage for Animals
Contact your insurance company and find out the amount of liability your current insurance policy includes. Ask if there are exclusions or limitations in the coverage. Some insurance policies exclude certain types of dog breeds, so it’s important to know about it.
Making your rental property pet-friendly is not an easy decision to make. It’s important to study all the pros and cons of allowing tenants with pets. If you decide to allow tenants with pets, following the tips mentioned above will help you mitigate the risks.
For further assistance, contact us today.