As the owner of a rental property, you might be on the fence on whether or not to make your property pet-friendly. While some property owners have had bad experiences with pet-owning tenants, there are benefits to welcoming pets into your rentals.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of having a pet-friendly rental property.
The Pros of a Pet-Friendly Property
1. Higher rent.
Market value determines how much you can charge for rent. By allowing pets, especially when very few properties in your neighborhood are pet-friendly, you can tack on a monthly pet fee that increases your overall monthly rental income.
2. Larger pool of potential applicants.
Pet ownership in the United States is at an all-time high. According to the American Pet Products Association (APP), 68% of U.S. households own a pet. If your rental property is marketed towards a younger market, there’s an even higher likelihood that a pet is part of the package. Zillow reports that over 76% of millennial renters own pets.
3. Longer tenancy.
The more a tenant considers a rental their home, the more likely they are to renew a lease. Certainly, settling in with a pet can make a rental feel like a permanent residence. Pet owners typically stay in a rental longer because it can be harder for them to find other pet-friendly options.
4. Responsible pet owners are more likely to be responsible tenants.
If someone is mature enough to take good care of an animal, there is a good chance they will treat your property with the same respect.
The Cons of a Pet-Friendly Property
1. Pet damage.
There are certain behaviors that property owners associate with pets and property damage, including urinating on carpets, scratching floors, chewing wood, and destroying landscaping. This can affect your bottom line.
Excessive barking can be disruptive to neighbors - and it can be hard to keep noise levels at manageable levels when there are multiple dogs, cats, and birds on the property.
3. Unpleasant odors.
If litter boxes aren’t cleaned out or pet accidents occur, offensive odors can build up in common areas. Animals that aren’t properly groomed or bathed can also cause odors inside the unit.
4. Injury liability.
There is a risk of the animal biting another tenant or a neighbor. You may want to consider requiring pet owners to hold adequate renters insurance. NerdWallet states that renters insurance may potentially provide coverage against dog bites on the property.
Include Your Pet Policy in Your Lease
You should include a pet addendum in your lease and require every tenant to sign it. This policy should clearly state your pet policy (whether or not you allow animals) and your expectations of the pet owner. Make it clear that by signing the lease, the tenant agrees to these terms and if they violate these terms, it will be considered a breach of contract.
The decision to make your property pet-friendly is not one that should be taken lightly. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of allowing pets so you can decide what is right for you and your property.