Many landlords and property managers tend to shy away from allowing pets for obvious reasons. Animals that are not properly cared for, trained and/or supervised can cause a lot of costly damage to a property. That being said, there are some advantages to offering pet-friendly rentals for responsible pet owners. Before you include “no pets allowed” in your next listing, consider the following.
Studies have shown that tenants who are allowed to have pets tend to stay in their rental units longer. There are a lot of reasons why, but it’s primarily the idea that trying to find another place to live that also allows pets can seem like a daunting task, so they choose to stay where they are instead. Whatever the reason, greater retention is the result.
Not only do existing pet owners tend to stay longer, but when those units open up to be re-rented, pet-friendly ones tend to fill much more quickly. Again, the lack of other available options can help make your properties stand out from the crowd.
Because pet-friendly housing is much harder to come by, people who love their animals are often willing to pay more in rent in order to keep their fur family intact. Obviously, you should never price gouge, but charging a bit more for pet-friendly units is generally considered common practice and often expected by tenants who own pets.
As you can see, there are a number of benefits to allowing tenants to own pets. That being said, there are some policies you should put in place to minimize your risk and protect your investment. Here are a few tips for safely welcoming pet owners into your properties.
Require a pet deposit. Most pet owners expect to pay an extra deposit on top of their normal security deposit. This money is earmarked for any damages that may be attributed to the animal in question and may or may not be refundable. At the very least, it demonstrates responsible pet ownership for those willing to pay the extra.
Screen carefully. It’s perfectly acceptable to request a “meet and greet” with an applicant’s pet before deciding whether to rent to them or not. Ideally, a visit to their current dwelling (with express permission, of course) can really shed light into whether or not the pet is well-behaved and the owner is responsible.
Specify any restrictions. It’s not uncommon for property managers and landlords to specify certain restrictions within their pet policy. For instance, many will prohibit certain aggressive breeds or have a size and/or weight limit that they will allow. Make this clear upfront, right in your listing.
Formalize a pet agreement. In addition to, or as an addendum to your lease agreement, you should also have a clear and specific pet agreement that your tenants with pets must sign and adhere to. This will specify expectations and responsibilities.
If you’re searching for a way to reduce vacancies, improve retention rates and boost your bottom line, providing pet-inclusive housing can help you achieve all of these things. Provided you do so carefully and responsibly, you can avoid potential problems down the road.