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Allowing Pets in a Rental Property: Yes or No?

Stephen Foster - Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Property Management Blog

Did you know that there are currently 76.8 million pet dogs in the United States? That's more pets than twice the population of Texas, and we haven't started on cats and birds!

If you're a landlord, you're virtually guaranteed to encounter potential renters who own pets. Allowing pets instantly makes your property more competitive than those with zero pet tolerance.

So how should you treat pets in a rental property? This handy guide will help you answer that question.

A Pet Policy

When you're renting out a space, it's always best to have what you expect from your tenants written in the lease agreement. A pet policy would be a clause added to the agreement describing exactly what the tenant's obligations are if they own a pet. If pets are permitted, the policy would describe which kinds of pets are permitted and extra responsibilities for the owners.

There are a number of different factors that may shape the pet policy you wish to adopt.

The Size of the Rental Property

Larger properties cater better for bigger animals, and more animals. It's a good idea to consider the property's size when deciding which pets to allow. Only allowing small dogs and cats is a good compromise if you want a smaller rental to be pet-friendly.

The Characteristics of the Rental Property

Pets in apartments, and especially dogs, are naturally more restless because there is no space for their natural activities. Pets in rentals are liable to make noise and wreak more havoc in enclosed units if their owners aren't actively involved in giving them the attention they need. It's safer for properties with lots of space to have bigger and more energetic pets.

Many pets can also scratch up floors, fixtures, and furniture. They shed on the carpets. These events will require extra maintenance, especially when the rental is being leased out to new tenants.

The Characteristics of the Neighborhood

Sometimes potential renters will be responsible pet owners, which almost always translates into being great tenants. In a perfect world you could craft individual pet policies for each individual property, but if your rental is part of a larger uniform complex. then the same rules need to apply for everyone. 

Your Policy for Pets in a Rental Property

There are many benefits to having a pet friendly policy. Good pet owners tend to stay for longer and be more responsible with the rental. You can also ask for a "pet premium" in your deposit, and possibly charge a little extra for maintenance purposes.

Remember, the landlord is responsible for general maintenance, as well as reminding tenants what their share of the maintenance would be. Allowing pets in rentals comes with extra admin and labor, but also greater potential rewards.

Attract More Tenants

Should you allow pets in a rental property? Opening your rental up to pet owners is only one way to increase the attractiveness of your property, so be sure to take it under advisement. 

If you're looking to find more ways to maximize your property's status as an investment, check out other articles on our blog.