Being a landlord can be a challenging task and the decision to accept tenants with pets may seem daunting. But with the high population of people owning pets these days—and a good portion of them being renters—renting your property to pet owners can give you a chance to earn better returns for your rental investment.
While the idea of accepting pets into your investment asset can be scary, with the right knowledge and approach, renting to pet owners may provide you with a positive and lucrative experience. A pet screening process is an important tool available to help landlords make the right decision of whether or not to accept pets into the rental home.
Pet screening is simply the process of evaluating a prospective tenant’s pet for health, behavioral, and other issues that may affect the property, neighbors, or other tenants. Similar to tenant screening, pet screening is becoming more common in rental property management, as the results from it can help landlords make the right decision that’s best for their overall bottom line.
Why You Should Consider Accepting Pets Into Your Rental Home
Opening your rental unit to pet owners provides several benefits, including:
1. Opportunity to Earn More
Since there are only a few rental properties that allow pets, opening your rental to pet owners gives you a chance to charge higher rent, especially because the demand from these units is high. Moreover, tenants with pets are more than willing to pay a little extra to find a property for them and their animals to settle in.
2. Long-Term Residency
Pet owners are most likely to stay long-term because finding a rental that allows pets are rare, and once tenants find a place, they tend to settle down not to disrupt their surroundings. That means that you’ll enjoy a continuous flow of income throughout the duration of the tenancy.
3. Having Better Tenants
Generally, pet owners are high-quality tenants. They tend to take better care of the property, follow the terms of the lease, and aim to satisfy the property owner. Making your rental home pet-friendly will give you a higher chance of landing yourself with responsible renters.
Reasons to Conduct a Pet Screening
Since there are risks to making your rental home pet-friendly, it’s important to conduct a comprehensive pet-screening process Here are two major reasons why you should always conduct pet screening:
1. To Reduce Risks And Liabilities
It’s important to think about liability risks when renting to residents with pets. For example, a dog could bite another tenant, guest, or neighbor, ultimately leading to more stressful conflicts. Also, some pets can cause damage to your property or the neighbor’s house. By conducting a pet screening, landlords can identify high-risk pets and take necessary steps to reduce liability.
2. To Maintain a Clean and Safe Property
Pets can be messy and cause odors, damage property, and create litter or waste in inappropriate areas. By assessing the pet’s behavior and lifestyle, a pet screening can help ensure a clean and safe environment for all tenants and homeowners in the neighborhood. This can also help reduce pet-related issues that may arise down the road.
What a Pet Screening Process Involves
The pet screening process may vary depending on the specific screening company or landlord. Commonly, it may involve a questionnaire, phone or video interview, veterinary record review, and/ or an in-person meeting with the pet. The goal is to explore the pet’s health, behavior, and other factors, such as whether the pet is house-trained or has any loud or destructive habits.
There are pet screening companies that specialize in this process and have developed comprehensive tools to help landlords navigate pet policies, laws, and risk management. If you are not trained to deal with different types of animals, it’s recommended to work with a professional to ensure that the process is done correctly.
How to Incorporate Pet Screening into Your Renting Process
Every landlord has different policies and procedures when it comes to pet ownership in rental properties. However, here are some general tips you can use:
Create a Clear Pet Policy
Prepare a pet policy that details which pets are allowed, their expected behavior, what documentation is required, any additional fees or deposits the owner must pay, and what owners should do if their pet violates the agreement.
Stay up-to-date with Legal Requirements
Make sure you are familiar with local laws and regulations, as well as any HOA or condominium agreements regarding pet ownership in your area. Be sure to stay in compliance with all applicable laws to avoid penalties and any legal issues.
Communicate with Tenants
Make sure to communicate with tenants about changes or updates to pet policies or regulations. Encourage them to report any issues or concerns related to their pet.
Monitor Pet Behavior Regularly
It’s important to monitor pet behavior on a regular basis to ensure that they’re complying with the pet policy and avoid any potential issues. Regular inspections, additional deposits, or other measures may be needed if a pet is causing damage in some way.
Hire a Professional
Hire a professional pet screening company to do the screening process for you. Or better yet, work with a reliable property management company that can address all your property management needs.
Making your rental unit pet-friendly can be daunting, but it’s also a great way to maximize your earning potential. If you decide to accept pets into your rental home, make sure to incorporate pet screening with the application process. Pet screening can be a valuable tool for landlords, however, this is best done by trained professionals.
Talk to our experts at Realty Management Associates, Inc. if you need help managing your rentals!