For most people, pets are a member of the family. Rental property owners must take this into account as they look for people to fill their apartment, condo, or home rentals. Although not allowing pets can eliminate any risk of pet-related damage, it also decreases the total number of renters interested in your property.
Let’s look at the pros and cons. The risks of allowing pets include:
- Potential property damage
- Any increase in allergens on the property from pet hair and dander
- Possible excessive noise
- Possible injury to you or neighbors
And the benefits include:
- More renters to choose from
- More income for you from pet fees
- Higher satisfaction from current and potential renters who have/want pets
- A greater chance renters will stay on with you
5 Ways to Handle the Risks
If you decide allowing pets on your rental property is the best choice, there are ways to manage the risks involved:
Screen and Obtain References
Call any past landlords and find out how their experiences were with the tenant. Ask if they would rent to the person again.
Examine the Dog’s Personality
Although certain breeds have been reported as involved in more injuries to humans than others, it’s not clear enough to use as a judgment for each specific dog (and most of the lists online that claim to have the CDC’s dangerous breeds list are not real).
A dog’s personality usually has to do with how it was raised previously and its current owner. So spend some time with the animal to gauge its temperament. Remember that even really big dogs can be the most docile. Examine each on a case-by-case basis.
Charge a Pet Security Deposite
Most states allow owners to charge a deposit per pet, which is a smart choice. That way you’re covered in case any damage happens to your property—and you’ll only attract renters who understand the importance of the fee enough to pay it. Just be sure you’re within the maximum amount you’re allowed to charge in your state. A property management company can help make sure you’re following to rules
Charge More Rent
If you’re going to allow pets in your unit, you can plan to charge more—as much as 20 to 30 percent more. Even if your rate is more, you’ll stand out from the other rental property owners in the area who have more restrictions. If you allow bigger dogs and don’t have as strict a weight limit, you’ll stand out even more and still end up with more income per month. It’s better to charge this extra month in the rent than tack on more pet fees.
And remember that whatever direction you decide to take regarding pets, you’ll want to include all the specifics in the lease. Be sure tenants thoroughly read the details and sign a separate pet agreement about the type of pets you allow.