Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?


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allow pets in your rental propertyWith the exception of service animals, there’s no law stating that you should allow pets in your rental property. This means it’s up to you as the property owner to decide whether to accept tenants who have furry or feathered friends. Here are some factors to consider in making your decision.

Three Reasons Not to Allow Pets in Your Rental Property

  1. Property damage is the most common issue caused by pets. They can tear up carpets and draperies, scratch hardwood surfaces, soil the floor, and fill the air ducts with dander. Pet-related damage can make it expensive to rehabilitate the unit before it is ready for the next tenant.
  2. A noisy pet is a nuisance that may disturb other tenants. This is a particularly troubling problem in multi-unit properties. A barking dog can drive neighbors up the wall—and ensure they don’t renew their rental agreements. Pets may also negatively impact the appearance (and odor) of common areas.
  3. What’s the worst-case scenario? Probably a dog bite incident. Landlords are rarely held liable in dog bite cases unless they knew an animal was dangerous. However, the fallout can still be traumatic.

Keep in mind that if you forbid pets, tenants may sneak them in behind your back. If you have a “no pets” policy, have a plan in place for how to deal with tenants who break the rules.

Three Reasons to Allow Pets in Your Rental Property

  1. Pet owners represent about half of the potential tenant pool. But they often have trouble finding a property that allows pets. When you accept pets, you automatically double the number of people who may be interested in your property.
  2. Good pet owners typically make good tenants. They know how to take care of their responsibilities. They may also be more content and because they have an animal companion. Happy tenants are less likely to cause landlord headaches.
  3. Pet owners are often in a higher income bracket than tenants who don’t own pets. They may be willing to pay slightly more rent for a pet-friendly property. They are also likely to stay longer because their options are limited. These factors can improve your rental revenue.

If You Decide to Accept Pet Owners as Tenants…

Interview the potential tenant with their pet so you can gauge whether the animal is friendly, well-behaved, and well kept. Ask about the animal’s medical history (spaying, neutering, shots, parasites), how the owner leaves it alone, and if it is house trained, etc.

Include a pet addendum in your leasing policy that covers your expectations and the tenant’s responsibilities. Reserve the right to amend the pet policy (with reasonable notice) in case things change.

Add a pet deposit (if allowed by law in your area). Consider making the pet deposit refundable so the tenant will be more careful about preventing damage.

If you need help creating and enforcing a reasonable pet policy, Ardent can help. Contact our team today for assistance.

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