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Should Landlords Allow Pets?

The pet debate is a good debate to have when considering the amenities for your rental properties. Should you allow pets? Or is it better not to deal with that hassle?

There are both pros and cons to allowing pets in your properties. If you choose to allow pets, there are ways to pet-proof your property to help manage potential damage from pets. But how do you know if pets are a good idea? Here’s a guide to help you decide if you should allow pets in your rental properties.

Why Pets are a Bad Idea

There are good reasons not to allow pets. Your decision might depend on your ability to work with a few cons about letting renters have pets while they live in your properties.

  1. Liabilities: With pets on the property, there is an increase in opportunity for harming others. Pets can be unpredictable. Whether it’s other tenants in a multi-tenant building or people in the neighborhood, a dog might bite or scratch someone. About one in five dog bites require medical attention. You never know when a dog bite from a tenant’s pet could result in an expensive medical situation. As the property owner, you could be liable.
  2. Damage and Odors: One of the biggest concerns with pets is damage to your properties. Scratches to the floor, chewing on walls, accidents, and digging create issues that need repair or deep cleaning. Damages create an expense for you as a landlord. Sometimes odors linger in a home no matter how well you clean. Are these issues something you want to deal with? Or is it worth it to rent to pet owners anyway?
  3. Disturbance and Loss of Other Tenants: Some people can’t tolerate barking dogs or cats wandering a property. When renting to pet owners, you risk losing other tenants and disturbing neighbors with noise and nuisance. Choosing to allow pets comes with these headaches and others. However, it can also be a great asset for finding good tenants and keeping your properties occupied.

Why Pets are a Good Idea

If you can deal with a few headaches, allowing pets is a good idea. Here are a few reasons why it’s a good business decision to allow pets in your rental properties.

  1. Larger Pool of Tenants: In a survey done a few years ago, researchers found that 75% of renters own pets. If you limit your options by not allowing pets, you’re excluding a large population of good tenants for your properties.
  2. Responsible Renters: Good pet owners take excellent care of their pets. That level of responsibility can spill over into being responsible renters, too. When you rent to pet owners, you’re bringing in tenants who will take good care of your property–like they take good care of your pets.
  3. Pet Owners Stay: Allowing pets gives pet owners a place to live in a rental market that tends to discourage pet owners. In most cities, there aren’t as many rental options available to people with pets. It’s a challenge to find a pet-friendly rental home. If your renter feels like your property is a good fit for their pet, they’re less likely to seek a new place when their lease is done.

Remember, with so many renters having pets these days, they’re going to find a way to have them in their home–one way or another. By allowing pets in your properties, you’ll discourage tenants who try to sneak pets into the home. Offer a pet-friendly environment from the start, and you’ll encourage better tenants and tenant behavior.

When Pets Aren’t Negotiable

Sometimes a pet isn’t “just” a pet.  Assistance animals are a separate issue from pets. Under the Fair Housing Act, people with disabilities require accommodation for service animals. Service animals include signal dogs, guide dogs, or other animals trained to perform tasks for a person with disabilities. Be sure you stay on the good side of the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) to accommodate tenants with a need for service animals.

Use a Property Management Company to Help With Pets

If the idea of allowing pets is still hard to accept, work with a property management company. They will help you decide how to allow pets in your properties. A property management company can recommend an increase to rent or additional pet deposits to offset potential costs from pets in your properties. If a pet causes damage, your property management company handles the issue with tenants–including scheduling maintenance to fix the damage. Don’t leave money on the table by ruling out pet owners from your properties. These valuable tenants can help improve your income from your rental investment portfolio.

Real Property Management Sarasota & Manatee is here to help. Contact us to talk through how we can help you comfortably rent to pet owners and download our free ebook, “Your Guide to Finding the Best Sarasota Area Property Manager.”

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