According to the American Pet Products Association 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, sixty-eight percent of US households own a pet.
Of those US households with pets, 60.2 percent own dogs and 47.1 percent own cats.
This means there is an overwhelming majority of Americans with furry friends - who may also be looking for a property to rent...
As a landlord, if you do not allow tenants with pets, are you missing out on a large piece of the pie? Or is the wear and tear caused by tenants with pets not worth the hassle?
Ultimately, there is no universal answer to this question - it will often depend on the type of pet your tenant has and the size/amenities of your rental property.
However, if you do find yourself sitting on the fence, we are here to help. It’s time to list the pros and cons of offering a pet-friendly rental...
Untapped renters market
By not excluding tenants with pets, you are able to tap into a previously untouched rental market.
The vast majority of Americans have pets and there is a growing trend for cafes, bars - even luxury hotels - to offer a pet-friendly service to their customers.
Why not join the movement? The “tenants with pets” rental market are full of professionals and families, looking for long term leases, who would make great tenants.
According to a nationwide study conducted by FIREPAW, an estimated fifty percent of housing in America is pet-friendly. Despite this, only nine percent of housing allows pets without limitation. Is your rental part of this statistic?
If you do decide to allow pets, it makes sense to screen animals before they move in.Is their pet toilet trained? Is it long-haired or short-haired? Does it bark a lot? Does it have a passive nature?
Do remember that if your tenant has a service or companion animal, such as a guide dog, you must allow these.
You never know, your dream tenant could be a short-haired cocker spaniel by the name of Sandy…
When tenants have pets, and there is a shortage of rental properties in the market which allow animals, you may be able to charge a premium on rent.
There is evidence to suggest that by allowing pets, landlords can make increased profits.
It is becoming increasingly popular for landlords to charge a “pet rent” in addition to the tenant’s regular rent if renters have pets. This is based on the size, type, and a number of pets your tenant has.
Many landlords who allow pets also charge a separate pet deposit which is refunded when the tenant moves out if the pet hasn’t caused any damage. Some will charge a pet fee which is not refundable. Refer to your state laws to check whether these practices are allowed in your state.
An easier option may be to use the security deposit or property bond to pay for any damage caused by a pet. If you do opt to charge a pet fee or deposit, check whether you can also use the security deposit to cover any damage caused by animals, as this is not allowed in some states.
Wear and tear
If you have ever owned a pet, you will know this is true. Animals caused wear and tear. It doesn’t matter if your pet is teeny-tiny, it can still cause damage by scratching at furniture or making a mess on the carpet.
Wear and tear can be minimized by having a “no pets inside” policy or by having titled floors, but this is still a disadvantage that needs to be taken into account.
You can always charge a “pet rent” or ask for a bigger security deposit to help cover the damage.
But if your rental property is brand new or has expensive furnishings, it may not be worth taking your chances with your tenant’s Labrador.
Noise and nuisance
Barking at 4 in the morning. Pets marking their territory on the neighbor's lawn. These are factors that may be hard to control if you allow pets.
If your rental is in a quiet neighborhood or there are neighbors close by, it is important to take their quality of living into consideration.
You don’t want neighbors calling noise control on the regular, because Spot can’t stop barking at the postman.
This risk can be minimized by appropriately screening any pets before they are allowed to live at a property. But it is worth noting that no amount of “pet rent” can make up for an unhappy neighbor - especially if you own the next door property.
If your property has a big, fenced off the yard, with plenty of room for a furry friend to run around, it may be worth looking into becoming a pet-friendly property.
Have you allowed pets at your rental? Do you think the benefits, outweigh the cost?
We hope you found this blog interesting! However, do note that it should not be used as a substitute for competent legal and/or other advice from a licensed professional.
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