At some point, every rental owner must decide if they will allow pets in their home. Many owners might instinctively believe that banning pets is the smarter choice. After all, they might damage your property, which would add to your maintenance costs. Other owners might be concerned about the potential liability of allowing animals in their rental homes. However, there are several excellent reasons why you should let your tenants own furry friends.
Allowing Pets Widens Your Rental Pool
Pet ownership is widespread in America, especially among renters. In fact, The Humane Society reports that 78% of renters own pets. However, these people often struggle to find housing. For example, according to a survey conducted by the property management company Avail, only 55% of their owners are pet-friendly. This disparity forces many pet owners to surrender their beloved animals to shelters because they cannot find homes. By allowing pets in your rental property, you expand your tenant pool to include this large mass of pet-owning renters who need housing. That means you’ll spend less time searching for new tenants and more time collecting rental income.
Pet Owners Are More Likely to Renew
Because finding pet-friendly housing can be such a big hassle, renters are less likely to move out of homes that already allow their furry friends. Every rental property owner understands the value of long-term tenants. By accepting pets, you make it more attractive for your current tenants to renew their lease. That means your property will be vacant less often, and you’ll spend less money on marketing and turn-over expenses. Ultimately, that equals more rental income in your pocket.
Landlords Can Earn More Money by Allowing Pets
Property owners who allow pets also earn more money off their properties than owners who don’t. That’s because most landlords charge additional damage deposits when tenants own pets and additional monthly pet rent fees. Pet deposit amounts may be regulated differently from one area to another, but they typically average between 40-80% of the monthly rent. Pet rent fees range as well and often fall between $20-$1000 every month. Taken together, pet owners usually pay considerably more over the life of their lease than non-pet owners do.
Other Factors to Consider
Of course, these aren’t the only factors to consider. Even if you’d like to allow pets in your property, other factors might prevent that. Before making the decision, it’s essential to do your due diligence.
- Check Your Insurance Policies. Before allowing pets — especially dogs — it’s important to check your insurance policy to see if it offers guidelines. Unfairly or not, some dog breeds come with increased liabilities. As a result, your policies may ban certain breeds. If you allow them in your rental, and they bite someone, you could be liable and unprotected by insurance. So before deciding to accept pets, check with your insurance broker for guidance.
- What are the HOA rules? If a homeowners association governs your rental home, it may also have regulations on what pets are acceptable. This is likely also based on liability, so check with your HOA board before making a decision.
- Service animals are protected. Some disabled renters may rely on service animals to live independently. As a result, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will likely require landlords to make reasonable accommodations for these animals. As always, property owners should follow the law when it comes to making rental decisions.
Once you’ve done your research and decided to allow pets in your rental property, it’s time for one last step.
Create a Pet Policy
Landlords that allow pets should always create a cohesive pet policy they can share with potential tenants. Just like a lease, these documents outline the conditions for pet ownership. They also prevent property owners from making decisions about pets on a case-by-case basis, which is a recipe for trouble. As you create your pet policy, here are a few factors to consider.
- How many pets are you willing to allow in your rental property?
- Will you place size restrictions on tenant’s pets?
- Are you going to ban certain dog breeds from your property?
- Will you allow some pets but not others? For example, a dog might be acceptable, but you might not want a tenant to keep poisonous reptiles on your property.
As with any legally-binding document, you should hire an experienced real estate lawyer to review your pet policy. Once you’ve outlined what is and is not acceptable, you’re ready to start accepting pets.
You Don’t Have to Make These Decisions Alone
When you self-manage a rental property, you’re forced to make these decisions alone. Sure, you could do online research or ask friends and colleagues for advice. However, that kind of input is a poor substitute for actual industry experience. Owners who partner with property management companies have a built-in resource to help make these tough decisions.
At Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew, our team has decades of combined experience. That means, whenever one of our clients comes to us with questions about their rental, we’ll be able to answer. We can outline the pros and cons of a particular choice — like whether or not to accept pets — and then offer the support owners need to execute their decisions. This extra assistance provides an added comfort level for owners who no longer have to make decisions in a vacuum. If you’d like to learn more about how we support our owners, contact us today. You reach Darla directly by calling or texting (503) 515-3170. You can also fill out the contact form on our website, and we’ll get back to you right away.
Big decisions like these come up regularly for rental homeowners. With a qualified team at your side, you’ll be confident knowing you’re making smarter decisions that support your financial well-being long into the future.