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Allowing Pets in Your Rental Home Property: Factors to Consider

Cuddly cat and dog inside the house
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You may have considered opening your home to pet-friendly tenants as a rental property owner. After all, nearly half of all renters in the U.S. own a pet, according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey. And, as The Balance Small Business reports, “allowing pets could help you attract a larger pool of potential tenants and ultimately help you rent your property faster.”

But before you start advertising your rental as “pet-friendly,” there are a few factors to consider. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of allowing pets in your property and tips for making the transition to pet-friendly status.

The Pros of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property

There are several potential benefits to allowing pets in your rental property, including:

1. Wider pool of potential tenants

As mentioned above, by opening your rental property to pet owners, you’re increasing the pool of potential tenants who may be interested in renting from you. Many pet owners have difficulty finding rental properties that allow pets, so by advertising your pet-friendly status, you’re likely to attract more attention from potential tenants.

2. Increased rent prices

According to recent research, “the average rent for an apartment advertised as pet-friendly is 5.8% higher than for a non-pet-friendly unit.” So, if you’re looking to increase your rental income, welcoming pets could be one way to do so. They could also help you fill vacancies more quickly.

3. Longer tenant stays

Tenants who own pets tend to stay in their rentals longer than those who don’t; according to another report, “renters with pets stay an average of 46 months compared to 36 months for those without pets.” This could save you money on things like turnover costs and vacancy rates in the long run.

The Cons of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property

Of course, there are also some potential drawbacks to allowing pets in your rental property, which include:

1. Damage to property

Pets can cause damage to floors, walls, doors, and more—damage that will likely be at least partially your responsibility (and expense) to repair. They can also be disruptive to other tenants in the building, leading to complaints or even legal action.

2. Increased liability

Suppose someone is bitten or otherwise injured by a tenant’s pet while on your property; you could be held liable—especially if you knew about the animal and did nothing to warn visitors or take steps to prevent an incident. So, it’s essential to consider the potential risks before allowing pets in your rental property.

3. Noise complaints

Dogs bark and cats meow; both can keep neighbors up at night or disturb the peace during the day. If you allow pets in your rental property, be prepared for noise complaints from other tenants or residents in the area.

Tips for Making the Transition to Pet-Friendly Status

If you’ve decided that you would like to allow pets in your rental property after all, there are a few things you can do to make sure the transition goes smoothly (for both you and your future pet-owning tenants):

1. Maintain your property well

It’s important to maintain your property well, even if it’s pet-friendly. This means regularly cleaning and repairing any damage, as well as taking steps to prevent future damage from happening. You can work with a reliable property management company to help you with this. They can also help you develop and enforce pet policies that protect your property while still allowing tenants to enjoy the benefits of owning a pet.

2. Add language about pets into your lease agreement

Be clear about what kinds of animals are allowed (dogs? cats? reptiles?), how many each tenant is allowed to have, any size restrictions that apply, what areas of the property pets are allowed access to (e.g., yard only), and what kind of damage deposits (if any) will be required. This will help set expectations from the start and give you some legal recourse if problems arise down the road.

3. Require proof of vaccination and/or licensing

To help protect yourself (and other tenants) from disease and liability risks, require new pet-owning tenants to provide proof that their animals are up-to-date on vaccinations and/or have any required licenses. You may also want to consider requiring them to provide proof of renter’s insurance, including coverage for damages caused by their pet/s.

Deciding whether or not to allow pets in your rental property is a big decision that should only be made after carefully considering all of the pros and cons (as well as taking steps to protect yourself). You may find that the benefits outweigh the risks, or you may decide that it’s not right for your property. Either way, making an informed decision is the best way to ensure that you’re happy with the outcome.

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