Property owners in today’s market have many things to consider when renting out their property to prospective tenants. Among these considerations is allowing pets in rentals. And while there are many pros and cons of renting to tenants with pets. However, when you consider how many prospective renters have pets, it may be worthwhile to welcome these four-legged friends. Pet damage to your rental property, on the other hand, is an issue that you must also consider.
Should I Allow Pets in My Rental Property?
With every decision a landlord makes related to renting their properties, there are pros and cons to consider. This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of allowing pets, screening pet owners, and tips for rental policies.
The Pros of Allowing Pets in Rentals
Most pet owners consider their pets to be family members and would never consider a home unless pet-friendly when looking for a rental. Below we have outlined a few of the pros of allowing pets.
Property Owners That Allow Pets Can Command a Higher Rent
When a property owner sets the rent for a property, it is generally by market value. However, when you allow pets in your rentals, more specifically large breed dogs, you might command a higher rental rate. This is especially true if your community has few pet-friendly homes. At the absolute least, it may offer you an advantage over the competition you allow pets, and they do not. On a side note, there are no pet laws that limit a property owner from charging a monthly, non-refundable pet rental fee in Missouri. Your rental agreement should include all pet policies, including additional charges for pets.
Renters With Pets Tend to Stay Longer
The more a renter considers a place to be their home, the more likely they are to renew their lease. Having a pet can undoubtedly make a rental feel like a permanent home. And, because many pet owners treat their pets like their children, they will be less likely to uproot them to a new home. Additionally, pet owners might find it challenging to relocate to alternative housing that would accommodate their pets, especially large breed pets.
Pet-Friendly Rental Properties Draw a Larger Applicant Pool
Pet ownership is at an all-time high in the United States. According to a survey performed in 2021 by Spots, approximately 67 percent of all American households, or 85 million families, own a pet.
Depending on the demographic of renters you are trying to draw to your rentals, it is essential to know that two-thirds of pet owners across the US are either Gen X or Millennials, with 48% of renters being millennials and 18.2% of Millennials expect to rent for life. Therefore, allowing pets may draw more renters to your properties and provide you more options for finding the right tenant.
Responsible Pet Owners Tend to be Responsible Renters
Owning and caring for a pet requires a significant amount of time and attention, and this behavior will likely translate into tenants treating your home with the same level of respect and enthusiasm.
The Cons of Allowing Pets in Rentals
Allowing pets in your rental properties can come with several risks, some of which you can mitigate. Below are a few of the potential concerns when it comes to renting to tenants with pets.
Pets Can Cause Damage to Your Rental Property
When it comes to allowing pets in rentals, one of the biggest concerns most property owners have is damage to their property. Damage can include pets urinating on floors, destroying woodwork, flooring, walls, and more from chewing, damaging landscaping, and irresponsible pet owners not cleaning up after their pets in public areas.
Pets Can be Noisy
Even the most well-behaved pets can be noisy or bark excessively. Therefore, noise levels should be taken into consideration so as not to annoy the neighbors. While it can be tough to keep noise levels under control, the issue may worsen when multiple pets are involved.
Pets May Cause Bad Odors
If not correctly cared for, pets can cause your rental home to smell. Whether from a dirty litter box, a pet having an accident, or pets not being groomed, your rental property will stink if the tenant does not clean up the mess. In addition, other smells from animals that aren’t adequately groomed or washed may also be an issue.
Potential Injuries to Other Tenants
There is always a possibility that a pet could cause a physical injury to the pet owner or another tenant. If you decide to allow pets in your rentals, you may want tenants to carry sufficient renters insurance. According to NerdWallet, renters insurance may compensate for dog bites or other physical injuries on the premises.
How to Screen Pet-Friendly Tenants
If you decide to rent your properties to tenants with pets, your first consideration should be whether the potential tenant is a good fit, and the second consideration should be their pet. Before renting to any tenant, you should perform a thorough rental screening which includes credit checks, criminal background, history of eviction, reference checks, and may also help you address questions regarding their pet ownership responsibilities and to see whether they’ve ever had any problems with their pets in rental properties in the past.
Another option to provide both you and the tenant peace of mind is to consider meeting the pet and the renter together to determine whether the applicant is a conscientious pet owner. This can provide you an opportunity to see if the pet is well-mannered and well-groomed. If the pet is a dog, you will see firsthand whether or not they are calm and attentive to the owner’s commands. Additionally, you might consider asking the questions outlined below.
- If your pet is left home alone, how long are they unattended?
- Do you kennel your pet when you are not home?
- Does someone watch your pet when you are away?
- Do you exercise your pet daily?
- Is your pet neutered or spayed?
- Is your dog well-trained in terms of obedience?
- Does your your pet have current vaccinations?
- Do you have a pet license?
- How often do you treat your pet with flea control?
While there are no right or wrong responses to this line of questions, it might reveal how responsible the owner is with their pet.
Pet Rental Policy Tips
If you’re concerned about property damage caused by allowing pets in rentals, it’s a good idea to include a policy in your rental agreement specifically about pets. A copy of your pet policy should be provided to all renters, including those who do not have pets. If a renter decides to adopt a pet later, you must communicate your expectations and requirements upfront.
According to Nolo, you should only accept pets that you have approved in advance, and you should make it clear that you have the right to ask the renter to remove the pet if they don’t follow your rules. You may also wish to modify the policy in the future, so make it clear that you reserve the right to do so by providing renters sufficient notice.
Another way to reduce risk is to charge a monthly pet rental as well as a clause in the rental agreement related to payment for damages caused by pets.
A potential tenant will be far more likely to prevent pet damage if the charge is refundable. When considering renting to a pet owner, the best option is to conduct a thorough tenant screening of each potential renter and to make sure your policies around pets are in writing.
Finding the right tenant for your property depends on a lot more than whether or not they are a pet owner. Thoroughly vetting applicants to determine if they are responsible for caring for your property, pay rent timely, and being courteous to other tenants should be your first consideration, with their pets being second. We hope you found our article about allowing pets in rentals helpful. At Real Property Management Consultants, we have over 30 years of experience managing residential rental properties and providing industry-leading property management services to our clients. We provide quality, trustworthy, professional services from tenant screening and filling vacancies to property maintenance and collecting rent. If you are a property owner in need of residential property management, we have the perfect solution to fit your needs at an affordable price. For more information, Contact us today.
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