Renting to Tenants With Pets :To be successful, landlords have to make many important decisions: which rental applicants to approve, whether or not to hire a property manager, when to raise rent, and more.
But one thing some landlords forget to consider is whether or not to allow pets. Allowing pets has its pros and cons. Let’s go over them so you can make the right decision for your rental property:
Pros of Allowing Pets
- Larger pool of prospective tenants
According to the American Pet Products Association, 70% of US households own a pet. That’s over 90 million families!
So if you let tenants have pets, you’ll attract far more prospective tenants, especially from the millennial and Gen Z generations, who make up 46% of pet owners.
2. Higher rent
Allowing pets will give you a competitive advantage. It allows you to charge more rent or implement a “pet rent” policy to increase cash flow and exploit your property’s full value.
3. Longer tenancies
Since finding pet-friendly rentals can be difficult, tenants with pets tend to stay longer. In the long run, this could lead to fewer costly vacancies.
4. More responsible tenants
If a tenant is responsible enough to take care of a pet, they are more likely to be a responsible tenant and treat you and your property with respect.
5. Pet owners make more money
Pet owners tend to be wealthier. According to one study, pet owners earn nearly $5,200 more per year than those who don’t have pets. And since pet owners make more money, they are more likely to pay rent in full and on time.
6. Happier tenants
Lastly, tenants with pets tend to be happier and less stressed, which makes them more pleasant and easy to interact with and manage.
Cons of Allowing Pets
- Property damage
The number one concern with allowing pets is the potential property damage. Animals can scratch floors, rip and tear walls, chew carpet and cables, and more.
They can also damage the landscaping outside your property and leave waste in unwanted areas.
Some pets bark or make noise that can be a nuisance to you and other neighbors. And multiple pets can be especially disturbing.
3. Animal odor
Pets tend to smell, especially if the tenant doesn’t groom and bathe them regularly. Their odor can seep into carpets and furniture, making it hard to get out and causing future tenants not to want to live there.
4. Liability issues
Allowing pets also creates more liability. For example, a pet that bites another tenant could lead to serious injuries and legal issues. And given that over 4.5 million people get bit by dogs each year in the US, this is not uncommon.
To avoid liability issues, require pet owners to have pet insurance and include liability disclaimers in your rental agreements.
5. Risk of other tenants leaving
Lastly, allowing pets may prompt other tenants to leave. After all, some people have allergies, aversions, or a simple dislike for animals. This could lead to costly turnover rates and vacancies.
Ultimately, the decision to allow pets or not is up to you. Depending on the situation, they can help or hurt your business.
If you choose to allow pets, make sure to screen tenants with pets thoroughly. Check references from past landlords to see if the pet caused any problems in the past. Also, request to see the pet in person so you can see how it behaves.
As a word of caution, be careful not to discriminate against tenants with service animals. People with disabilities are protected under the Fair Housing Act. However, you can require to see proof that a pet is a service animal.
See what works for you and adjust your pet policy as needed.