Over 69 million dogs and 45.3 million cats live as domesticated pets in the United States. This means there's roughly one four-legged friend for every three people in the country. The chance you'll get tenants who want to bring their pets is extremely high.
Some landlords see only the upsides to allowing pets in a rental property, while others see only the downsides. The reality is that there are pros and cons to allowing pets, and in this brief article, we will break down what these are.
Pro: Good Pet Owners Are Responsible
If a person or family embraces the responsibility of good pet ownership, they're far more likely to adhere to other responsibilities too. These types of pet owners pay their rent on time and fix whatever problems their pet causes.
Con: Damage, Smell, and Noise
Unfortunately, certain breeds and species do more damage and make more noise. Larger dogs are the biggest perpetrators in this regard. Damage and smells are easy enough to deal with (repairs can come straight out of the security deposit), but noise can drive tenants in adjacent properties away.
A good policy fix for this is to charge a little extra for pets or to have a size limit. You should note that in terms of the Fair Housing Act, you're not allowed to restrict the use of support animals.
Pro: Larger Pool of Tenants
When you allow pets in rentals, you increase the number of families that can choose your properties. Not only does this increase the number of good tenants you'll be able to choose from, but the laws of supply and demand also mean that you'll be able to charge more monthly.
Con: Need for More Detailed Screening
Selecting from a bigger pool means that the number of prospective bad tenants will be higher too. You'll need to do a more detailed tenant screening to check the quality of the tenants and how well your property would cope with their animals.
Pro: Tenants Stay for Longer
People who find a pet-friendly rental property tend to stay for longer. This happens because only a limited number of landlords allow this. People who are happy living with their animals in rentals, therefore, opt not to move around as much.
Con: Risk of Injury
All animals still retain base levels of their natural instincts. Most will snap after enough antagonization, and certain breeds are known to attack without warning.
Be sure to set up your pet policy to highlight that pet owners bear the liability if their animals ever attack a third party if you want to be pet-friendly. It's also an excellent step to ask all residents in apartment blocks or similar arrangements to respect each others' pets as a matter of conduct.
Pets in a Rental Property: The Final Word
Allowing pets in a rental property comes with significant economic and social benefits. Your pool of tenants is more significant, they stay longer, and you can ask for more rent. Seeing how people treat their pets also gives you a good idea of how they handle other responsibilities.
There are downsides, too, including a need for better policy construction and risks of property damage and injuries. If you need help setting up a pet-friendly policy or navigating Fair Housing laws, contact our property management experts today and get started.