Did you know that around 85 million households in the U.S. own a pet, but only 55 percent of landlords and property management companies allow pet-owning tenants to rent their properties?
As a property owner, allowing pets into your rental unit can widen your tenant pool, but it does come with risks when it comes to property upkeep. In short, there are two sides to the coin. While you may be able to earn more rental income each month, there’s also the possibility that your property will end up being destroyed due to their pets.
In this post, we will walk you through the pros and cons of allowing pets into your rental property. If you do decide to say “yes” to pets, you’ll find useful information from our property management agents on how to enforce policies to keep your property safe from pet-related risks.
What are the pros and cons of allowing pets into your rental property?
Many tenants consider their pets as members of their family. They won’t be willing to rent a unit that does not allow pets. With that said, it may be worthwhile to welcome their four-legged friends into your South Florida rental as it allows you to broaden your tenant pool. But understandably, property damage due to pets might deter you from agreeing to it.
Our property management company has outlined the pros and cons to help you to decide whether or not to permit pets in your rental property:
Pros of allowing pets in your rental property
#1 Widen your tenant pool
Over 72 percent of tenants own pets, however, there aren’t many property owners that allow pets in their rentals. As a result, these tenants are forced to put up their pets for adoption. By welcoming pets into your rental, you’ll be able to solve this problem and widen your prospective tenant pool. Pet-owning tenants will likely flock to your property since the supply of pet-friendly properties is low.
#2 Increase your rent
Pet owners are prepared to pay more if their pets can stay in the rental property. By operating a pet-friendly rental, you’ll be able to collect a pet deposit, pet fee, and pet rent which all contribute to your rental income. In other words, renting to pet-owning tenants allows you to earn more.
#3 Reduce tenant turnover
Pet-friendly rental properties are scarce. So, when pet owners find a place that welcomes their pets, there’s an extremely low chance that they’ll move out. Chances are that they’ll extend their rental contract because they don’t want to go through the trouble of searching for a new rental unit again. From the landlord’s point of view, this translates to fewer vacancies and tenant turnover.
Cons of allowing pets in your rental property
#1 Pet-related damage
One of the disadvantages of allowing pets involves damage. Pets – particularly dogs – can scratch and stain the floors and furniture. They also tend to leave their odor behind, which can be hard to remove without the help of a professional cleaning company.
#2 Risk of dog bites
As the landlord, you’re responsible for the type of tenants that you allow into your property – that includes the type of pets that they own. If you know that your tenant has an aggressive dog, yet you’ve done nothing to address it, you may be held liable in the event that it bites another individual.
Pet owners are more likely to be understanding when it comes to pet-related noise, but if you’re also renting out your multi-unit property to tenants that don’t own – or dislike – pets, brace yourself for complaints. Tenants with pets will be happy that they’ve found a place to live, but there’s also a chance that tenants without pets will move out due to the disruption.
What can you do to mitigate the cons of allowing pets?
If you’ve decided to allow pets, we’ve outlined a few useful tips to help you oversee your pet-owning tenants, and to prevent potential problems to both your property and other people:
#1 Identify the types of pets that are allowed
Your rental contract should be clear about the types of pets that are allowed in your rental property. Small pets aren’t a problem (what damage can a goldfish do?) but big pets such as dogs are likely to be risks. In addition, you should allow only domesticated animals in your rental unit, such as dogs, cats, gerbils, and guinea pigs, among others.
#2 Determine the number of pets allowed
You should not allow your tenants to own too many pets because this will create more problems down the road. There’s no hard and fast rule on the number of pets that should be allowed, as it should be based on factors such as the type of pet, type of property, association rules, and so on. Consider hiring a property management firm to help you determine the ideal limit.
#3 Conduct a pet screening
If you can conduct a tenant screening, you can conduct a pet screening, too. The pet owner should provide copies of their pet’s recent vaccinations as well as evidence of training they’ve undergone. You or your property management agent should call the tenant’s previous landlord to find out if the pet is well-behaved and if the potential tenant is a responsible pet owner.
#4 Collect a pet fee
You can collect a pet fee to cover the costs of repairs as there’s a possibility that the property will be damaged beyond regular wear and tear. However, make sure to check if it’s legal to collect the fee. In some states, property owners are not allowed to collect a separate fee aside from the security deposit. Furthermore, never collect a pet fee from tenants with service animals – they aren’t considered pets.
Managing pet-owning tenants will take more work, but considering the benefits of welcoming pets, the effort will be worth your while.
If you’re thinking of allowing pets into your rental property, make sure to partner with a professional property management firm. At Luxury Property Care, our experts will take care of tenants screenings, rental contract signings, and more. We’ll make sure that your property is protected from all kinds of pet-related risks.