Most people who own pets consider those pets to be part of the family, and no one is going to move into a new home without a beloved family member. When landlords ask if they should allow pets, we like to say yes. While we understand the anxieties that can come with having a pet in your investment property, there are things that can be done to protect your home and mitigate any potential damage.
Today, we’re talking about the benefits of allowing pets into your rental home.
Accepting Pets Leads to Lower Vacancy Rates
More than half of the population owns at least one pet. So, if you decide to say no to pets, it means you’re immediately eliminating over 50 percent of your potential tenant pool. You’ll probably have an unoccupied property for longer. Well-qualified tenants with pets will go elsewhere, and you’ll have to wait for a renter who doesn’t have any animals. Longer vacancies are more expensive, so a no-pets policy will hurt your cash flow and impact your ROI.
Responsible Pet Owners Make Good Tenants
In our experience, good pet owners make good tenants. When you’re screening your tenants, screen the pets as well. You can ask for vet records, request a meeting with the pet, and talk to former landlords about the animal’s behavior and cleanliness. When people love and take care of their pets, it usually means they will love and take care of their home, too.
Pet Policies Hold Tenants Accountable
While we always recommend that landlords allow pets, it doesn’t mean that you have to allow all types of pets, without limits. You can restrict the types of pets you’ll allow by limiting their number, size, age, and type. Maybe you don’t want puppies or kittens, so your pet policy allows for adult animals only. If you have a small apartment you’re renting, it might make sense to allow only one or two animals per tenant or an animal that weighs less than 20 pounds. You should always be careful with dog breeds. Many insurance companies won’t cover what they consider to be vicious breeds. This usually includes Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and other historically dangerous types of dogs.
Make sure you have your pet policy included in your lease. Discuss your expectations with your tenants and be sure they understand the responsibilities that pertain to their pet.
Protecting You and Your Property from Pets
It’s easy to worry that pets will damage your property, but it’s extremely rare that a pet will ever do more damage than what the security deposit will cover. Some property management companies charge a pet fee when tenants move in. At RP Management, we require all tenants with pets to have their pet screened. We have a pet application and the animal is screened with photos. We also ask a series of qualifying questions to determine information about any vaccinations and if the pet is spayed or neutered. If the tenant claims the animal is an assistance animal, there are specific qualifications obtained for verification.
Pet Guarantees Can Give You More Assurance
You can also offer a Pet Guarantee to help protect against pet damage. For example, we charge the tenant an initial pet acceptance fee and a monthly pet rent and then we cover up to $1,000 in pet damage over and above the security deposit collected. The pet fee/rent is retained by us to cover administration and pet damage up to $1,000. Please remember that service and support animals are not considered pets. You cannot charge pet rent or pet fees, and you cannot increase a deposit when tenants move in with service animals and emotional support animals.