Back in 2018, about 57% of Americans owned at least one pet. With work-from-home positions on the rise, it’s likely that the rate of pet ownership in the US is even higher now.
As a property owner, it can be difficult to decide whether or not to allow pets in your rental properties. Should you allow all pets, only certain species, or no pets at all in your rentals?
As property managers, we’re experts when it comes to these kinds of decisions. That’s why we’re here to discuss the pros and cons of allowing pets in your rental properties.
Read on to find out everything there is to know about taking on tenants with pets and whether or not it’s the right choice for your property.
The Pros of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Properties
First, let’s talk about why allowing pets in your rental properties may be a good idea. Keep in mind that you’re always allowed to set limits on things like species, breeds, and the number of pets a tenant can own in your property. These pros apply to just about any pet owner, but especially people who own cats or dogs.
More Tenants to Rent Your Properties
As we mentioned earlier, more than half of Americans own at least one pet. When you don’t allow pet owners to live in your properties, you limit your pool of eligible tenants by quite a bit. By opening your properties to pet owners, you’ll likely have a much more steady stream of applicants to choose from–which also allows you to be more selective.
Higher Rent and Additional Fees
Most properties who allow pets in their rentals find that they can get away with charging higher rent. This is, in part, because pet owners have more limitations regarding where they can live, making it harder for them to find cheaper options. Plus, it’s standard to charge a nonrefundable pet fee for dog or cat owners.
Lower Turnover of Tenants
As it turns out, pet owners tend to stay in the same rental apartment or home longer than other tenants. We imagine that this is, in part, because having a pet tends to signify that a person will need a little more stability. Plus, because not all landlords allow pets, they’re less likely to shop around for another rental in the coming year.
Responsible and Happy Tenants
If you, yourself, own a pet, you probably already know that owning a pet tends to make you happier and more relaxed. Who doesn’t want to have tenants who are easier-going and more satisfied? A happy tenant is less likely to raise issues on a regular basis or file constant complaints–which, in turn, will make you a happier property owner!
The Cons of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Properties
When you’re making decisions like this, it’s important to consider both sides. After all, nothing is 100% guaranteed to go smoothly every time. We’re going to talk about the potential cons of allowing pets in your rental properties.
Before we do, it’s worth noting that not all properties are ideal for pets. Small apartments like studios, in particular, may not be the best option for people with pets. If you own a mixed multi-unit building, consider limiting pets to your more spacious apartments or putting a size limit on allowable pets.
Unfortunately, about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. It’s not uncommon for dog bites to occur near or in the place a dog considers home.
If a dog owned by one of your tenants bites someone on your property, is it your liability? If you don’t require tenants to take out renter’s insurance, it could be. Protect yourself from liability by requiring tenants to take out renter’s insurance.
Pets, particularly pets that aren’t kept in a tank or cage, could cause damage to your property. To be fair, this is why most property owners charge a nonrefundable pet fee. However, it will require time and effort to address any damage caused by your tenant’s pets.
Pet Odors and Noise
Pets on the premises can lead to unpleasant odors and noises. For example, a poorly maintained litter box can produce a lingering smell. Dogs that bark can cause a disturbance for other neighbors.
A Note on Emotional Support and Service Animals
Let’s say that you decide not to allow pets in your rental properties. You’ll have to remember that certain animals require exceptions to that rule in all 50 states. In particular, this includes emotional support animals and service animals.
How do these exceptions impact you if you do allow pets? You will need to waive your pet fee for tenants who have emotional support animals and service animals.
If your tenant has an emotional support animal and it’s not clear what they need it for, you can request additional information. If you do, tenants will need to provide a note from a doctor or medical professional certifying that they need their emotional support animal. (Medical professionals include a therapist or psychiatrist your tenant has seen.)
Need Help Managing Your Rental Properties? Let Us Know
When you own rental properties, you have a lot of decisions to make. Trying to handle it all on your own isn’t always your best option. Whether you own multiple multi-unit properties or a handful of single-family homes, working with property management can make your life a lot easier.
From drafting up a pet policy to enforcing leasing regulations and beyond, Reedy and Company is here to help. To find out more about our property management services and pricing, contact us today. We’re proud to manage successful, thriving properties all over the Memphis, TN area.