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Renting to Tenants with Pets: Pros and Cons

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Americans are obsessed with their cute and cuddly companions, there’s no doubt about that! 

In fact, according to APPA’s latest market research, up to 68 percent of all American households own at least one pet. This number is even higher for millennial renters

With this in mind, you may be inclined to believe every landlord should allow pets into their rental property. For many, however, it isn’t that simple. After all, there are two sides to every coin. 

Yes, allowing pets may generally mean having a larger pool of prospective tenants. It may also mean you will be able to charge higher rent. However, allowing animals into your property isn’t always a bed of roses. 

Many new landlords find themselves asking whether they should allow pets into their rental properties. Fortunately, after learning the pros and cons of each option, you’ll be in a better position to make the right decision. 

Reasons to allow pets into your rental property

#1: Higher profit

Allowing tenants to have animals in their home may mean more profit for you. This is particularly true if your rental home is in an area where most other properties don’t allow pets. The lower competition will give you an edge to ask for more rent. 

This is just one of many tips for increasing your rental property value.

#2: Longer tenancies

It stands to reason that when a tenant is happy, the chances of them renewing their lease are higher. Naturally, allowing a tenant to settle in with their furry friend can make a rental feel more like a permanent home. 

Furthermore, since many properties don’t allow pets, your tenant will have fewer options to choose from. This, in turn, may lead your tenant to rent for much longer. 

getting longer tenancies

#3: Larger selection of tenants

As previously mentioned, the majority of Americans own a pet. In fact, in many U.S. cities, pets are actually more common than kids. For example, in the city of San Francisco, there are nearly 150,000 dogs but just 115,000 kids. 

Farther north, Seattle has more houses with cats than with kids. 

So, what does this all mean? Well, it means one thing for certain: By allowing pets, you will likely have more prospective tenants to choose from. 

#4: Responsible tenants

It’s every landlord’s dream to rent to a responsible tenant that pays rent on time, cares for the property, and follows the rules. 

By allowing pets, you may have a higher chance of landing more responsible tenants. Owning a pet comes with tons of responsibilities – these include feeding it, exercising it, training it, and so on. 

For this reason, pet owners are often naturally responsible people. This may place them higher on the list of tenants who are likely to respect and care for your property.

Reasons not to allow pets in your rental property 

#1: Risk of injuries

Pets can sometimes be dangerous, if not properly trained. Not only can they injure their owner, but they may also attack others. As such, allowing them into your property may not be a great idea in all cases, especially in a highly-populated neighborhood

#2: Property Damage

This is normally the biggest reason why landlords are against the idea of allowing pets into their properties. The damage animals can cause includes: 

  • Chewed-up fences.
  • Claw marks on the floor and walls.
  • Soiled carpets. 
  • Serious damage to your property’s landscaping. 

Reason #3: Noise

Pets can also be disruptive to neighbors. Dogs that excessively bark, for example, can be an annoyance to those in the area. If there are multiple pets, this problem can be exacerbated. One dog barking normally causes the others to bark, also.

cons of renting to pet owners

Reason #4: Offensive Odors

Whichever pet your tenant has, there is always going to be some kind of odor in the property. Pet urine, for instance, can be quite invasive. It can seep through the floor and even into the sub-flooring beneath. 

Tips to Mitigate Pet Damage

Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to limit these issues, should you decide to allow pets. One of the most important things you can do is draw up a detailed pet policy for tenants. 

The policy should include specific conditions, such as: 

  • The weight of the pet. You could, for instance, state that you will not allow any pet that exceeds 20 pounds. 
  • The number of pets allowed. It goes without saying that the fewer pets you have, the less damage you will risk having. 
  • The types of pets allowed. Your policy could also state what types of pets you allow. For example, you can allow guinea pigs, rabbits, and birds, but not cats or dogs. 

Another important step to protect against pet damage is screening every prospective tenant. In addition to checking a tenant’s income, credit rating, and criminal, eviction and eviction histories, you also want to learn a thing or two about their pets. 

pet property damage

Here are some important questions you could ask before having a tenant sign a lease agreement:

  • How long have you had your pet?
  • Have you had any complaints regarding your pet?
  • Has your pet ever caused any damage? If so, which ones, and how was the matter resolved?
  • Are you ready to pay a security deposit to cover pet damages?
  • Who looks after your pet when you are away?
  • Has your pet been spayed or neutered?
  • Does your pet have an identification and license tag?
  • Do you always make a point of cleaning after your pet?

Asking such questions can help you learn a few things about the tenant and their pet, enabling you to make an informed decision regarding whether to allow it or not. 

Carefully screening each applicant is your best bet at successfully handling pets on your rental property. Keep in mind, however, that service animals do not count as pets. 

This means you cannot deny housing to a disabled person should you decide to have a “no pets” policy.