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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Renting Your Property To Pet Owners?

Property Management and Tenant Placement

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Renting Your Property To Pet Owners?

pet owner

Are you planning on renting your property but you’re not sure if you should rent to pet owners?

This is understandable because many landlords have had negative experiences renting to pet owners and this is why some owners will say no to all pets, while some will approve pets but with specific conditions.

In this article, we will break down the pros and cons of renting to pets just so you will be able to make an informed decision on if you should rent to a tenant who has pets or not.

The Pros Of Renting To Pet Owners

Responsible tenants – Since most pet owners know how difficult it can be to find pet-friendly rentals, you will find that most pet owners are responsible, take good care of their pets, and are quick to make sure that they don’t cause damage to properties.

Higher Rent – Pet owners know that they can expect to pay a high rent because with their pet typically comes to a pet deposit, and pet rent that can be an additional $100 or more on top of their monthly rent.

Longer Tenancies – Besides having more responsible tenants who are willing to pay higher rents, most pet owners are also going to be longer tenants who will live in their rentals for more than 12 months at a time because they know that finding pet-friendly rentals can be difficult.

Fewer Lease Violations – Another HUGE benefit that will come from renting to pet owners is that you will also have little to no lease violations with those tenants because pet owners are eager to live in properties with their pets and they don’t want to jeopardize those rentals.

What Are The Cons Of Renting To Pet Owners?

  1. Pets may cause damage to the property.

One of the most common reasons cited for having a no-pet policy is the potential for property damage. Dogs and cats can scratch furniture and wooden floors, tear soft furnishings, and rip up carpets. Of course, you can get well-behaved pets just like you can get responsible tenants. However, the wear and tear in an apartment tends to be more significant when a pet lives there.

  1. You may get complaints from neighbors about noise.

According to the American Kennel Club, “barking is the most common complaint about dogs.” And, issues with a noisy dog or excessive barking can become severe nuisances to other residents. In some cases, neighbors could even cite a breach in their right to quiet enjoyment.

  1. Pet odor, fleas, and allergy issues

Animal-related odors are another reason some landlords do not allow tenants to bring their furry friends with them. It can be challenging to get rid of offensive pet odors after a tenant has vacated the property.

And, other issues, like fleas, can stay behind in soft furnishing and carpets. Plus, allergens get trapped in air ducts, making clean-up more costly and time-consuming.

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More Tips On Renting To Pets

Include a “Pet Agreement” in the Lease

You can reduce the additional risks created by having pets on your property by creating smart pet policies, putting them into a “pet agreement,” and including the agreement as part of your lease. (Your lease should refer to the pet rules and incorporate them as part of your lease.) This provides notice to tenants that their continued tenancy depends on honoring these rules.

Require that all tenants sign the pet agreement, even non-pet owners. That way, if a tenant gets a pet later, she already knows what the rules are and what is expected if she wants to stay in their apartment.

Here are some common provisions to consider including in your pet agreement.

Policy 1: Identify the Types of Pets Allowed

Your pet agreement should specify which types of pets are allowed. Some landlords allow only common domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, and small reptiles. The agreement should also specify any limit to the number of pets allowed.

“Dangerous” dog breeds. Some landlords ban certain dog breeds that many people believe have a propensity toward violence, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers. Although the question of whether certain breeds are truly dangerous is a topic of controversy, landlords are legally entitled to ban these breeds from a rental property. (Fair Housing laws apply to human beings, not to dogs.) Before you allow such breeds, check with your insurer. Some companies won’t issue liability policies if certain so-called “dangerous breeds” are kept on the property.

Tenants’ pets only. In your pet agreement, make it clear that you allow only tenants’ pets. You don’t want your tenants caring for other people’s pets in their rental unit. Also, specify whether you will allow guests to bring their pets with them while visiting tenants.

Policy 2: Allow Only Pets You Approve

Finally, state that your approval is conditioned upon the tenants’ continued compliance with the terms of your pet agreement. Make clear that you have the right to ask the tenant to remove the pet from your property or terminate the tenancy in the event of serious or repeated violations of the agreement.

Policy 3: Require Proper Identification, Licenses, and Vaccinations

Make sure tenants understand that all dogs and cats must wear identification collars or tags, which include proof of current vaccinations. Learn what your local ordinances require concerning regular cat and dog vaccinations and licenses, and insist that tenants give you current proof that they’ve complied (such as a copy of their municipal license receipt or the vet’s bill).

Policy 4: Make Tenants Responsible for Their Pets

Tenants should agree to keep their pets under control at all times so that they don’t disturb other tenants and their guests. Require tenants to clean up after their pets, both inside their apartment, and in all common areas and other parts of your property. Tenants should also agree not to leave pets outdoors or unsupervised in their apartment for an unreasonable period, and to keep pets inappropriate, contained areas within their apartment. For example, small reptiles such as lizards should be kept in terrariums and birds should be kept in cages.

To further reduce the risk that a tenant’s pet will cause injuries to other tenants or their guests, consider requiring your tenants to carry renters’ liability insurance (assuming your state and local law allow it). If you do require this insurance, be sure the policy covers damage caused by pet accidents and that it doesn’t contain a dog bite exclusion or other such limitation.

Policy 5: Consider Charging a Pet Fee

Many landlords routinely impose a “pet fee,” in addition to the normal security deposit, reasoning that pets typically cause added wear and tear to an apartment. Think carefully before implementing such a policy, for these reasons:

A fee might not be legal. In some states, such as California, landlords cannot charge more than a specified sum as a deposit. This sum covers the total of all types of deposits. So, if the total amount of the deposits that you charge to all tenants have reached the maximum, you cannot charge a pet deposit on top of that.

A fee might not be a good idea. Setting aside a certain sum as a deposit to cover pet damage isn’t always practical. Suppose a pet is well-behaved but the tenant who owns the pet is a slob. If part of the deposit is marked for pet damage only, you might not be able to use that money to clean up the tenant’s mess. Often, it’s better to impose a non-specific deposit.

A fee might be unreasonably high. If you decide to impose a specified pet deposit, keep it reasonable, such as $200 to $300 per year. Otherwise, if your tenant challenges it, a judge may not enforce it.

Finally, do not impose a pet deposit or fee for a tenant who keeps a service or companion animal. Such animals aren’t pets — they are animals needed to accommodate a disability.

Make it Easy to Change the Pet Agreement

From time to time, you may want to change your pet policy. For example, you may decide to no longer allow cats. So that you can easily make a change, a state in your pet rules that you have the right to amend the rules by giving tenants reasonable notice (typically 30 days).

Consider a grandfather clause for pet policy changes. A “grandfather clause” exempts tenants already in the building from having to comply with the new rules for pets they already had before the changes took place. The rules would apply to any new pets they get. Without a grandfather clause, some tenants might have to get rid of a pet that no longer complies. This is certain to trigger considerable resistance.

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For more property management tips, or to speak with us about the services that we can offer you, contact us today by calling (503) 447-7735 or click here to connect with us online.