Are you considering an investment in pet-friendly apartments? Are you undecided about whether to allow pets in your rental properties?
There are a lot of conflicting opinions on the subject. Some landlords are happy to welcome renters with pets. Others resist the idea because of liability or other concerns.
While California housing trends are always changing, the number of renters doesn’t appear to be going down anytime soon. And since many renters do own pets, the question merits serious consideration.
Read on to learn the pros and cons of opening your rental properties to pet owners.
The Demand For Pet-Friendly Apartments
First of all, is there truly a need for more pet-friendly apartments? The answer is yes.
One recent survey revealed that 75% of renters own pets. Of those, 60% claimed to have trouble finding apartments that allow pets.
Another survey reports that Millennials aged 18 to 36 consider dog-friendly features a “huge factor” in where they live. In fact, concern for their pets ranked higher than either marriage or the birth of a child.
Clearly, there are legitimate reasons to consider renting your properties to pet owners.
Pros of Renters with Pets
We hear a lot about the negative aspects of pets in apartments. What are some potential advantages of having renters who own pets?
Larger Tenant Pool
Since three out of four renters are pet owners, opening your property to them exposes you to a wider tenant pool. Making your apartments pet-friendly will open you to a large and very grateful group of renters.
Because pet owners often have trouble finding apartments to rent, they’re likely to stay in one place longer. This equals less tenant turnover for you and more money in your pocket.
More Responsible Tenants
Pet owners are responsible for keeping their pets alive and healthy. If they’re mature enough to care for a live animal, chances are they’ll show the same consideration for your property too.
Higher Rent Prices
Is there a lack of pet-friendly apartments in your area? Use this to your advantage! Because of supply and demand, making your properties pet-friendly may allow you to charge a higher price for rent.
Pet owners are always thrilled to find a nice rental property that allows their animals to live there. Not only will they consider you to be an awesome landlord, but they’ll feel less stressed having their furry family members nearby.
Cons of Renters with Pets
It’s clear that there are many advantages of renting to pet owners. What are some of the potential disadvantages of making your properties pet-friendly?
The biggest concern for most landlords is the potential for property damage. Animals may scratch doors, chew carpets, or have accidents on the floor.
No one wants to listen to a dog that won’t stop barking or a parrot that won’t stop squawking. Allowing animals into your apartments could lead to noise complaints from other tenants.
If pets pee or poop inside the apartment or common areas, this could result in lingering odors. The same goes for pets that aren’t bathed or groomed regularly.
Animals inside an apartment building are a potential liability for owners, landlords, and other tenants. Every year there are an estimated 4.5 million dog bites, 800,000 of which are severe enough to require medical attention.
Loss of Other Tenants
Your new pet-owning tenants may love living on your property, but your other tenants might not feel the same way. If they’re allergic to animals or nervous in their presence, they may move on to another building.
What to Include in a Pet Policy
After weighing the pros and cons, maybe you’ve decided to go ahead and make your apartments pet-friendly.
If that’s the case, what are some things you should include on your rental policy?
Before allowing any tenants (and their pets) to move in, you should conduct a thorough interview. Some questions you should ask are:
- How long have you owned the pet?
- How old is the pet?
- Has the pet ever damaged property or bitten anyone?
- Who will care for the pet when the owner is away?
- Does the pet have all required vaccinations?
The responses will not only tell you about the animal, but it will also give you an idea of how responsible the owner is.
Refundable Pet Deposit
Some owners charge nonrefundable pet fees. This may seem like a good idea, but consider the implication.
If your tenant has to put out $200-$300 knowing they’ll never get it back, that’s much less incentive to keep your property in pristine condition.
A better idea is to charge a refundable pet deposit. No one likes to lose a deposit, for any reason. The idea of getting the money back should motivate the tenant to keep the apartment clean and make sure their pet behaves.
Be Specific in Your Pet Policy
There should be specific information in your rental contract about what types of pets you will and will not allow.
Do you want to place a limit on the number of animals a tenant may own? How many dogs, cats, or birds will you allow? Hows many hamsters or other small pets will you allow?
Do you want to place on restrictions on allowable pets? Are you comfortable with the thought of a boa constrictor or another exotic reptile living on your property?
How do you feel about potentially dangerous dog breeds? If you don’t want to name specific breeds, you could impose a height or weight restriction instead. This will allow you to exclude most of those dangerous breeds without explicitly banning them.
As a landlord, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to pet-friendly apartments. There are many good reasons to allow pets, as well as legitimate reasons to deny them.
No matter which path you choose, it’s vital to insure and protect your rental properties. Call us at 800.644.6443 or fill in our contact form so we can help you with all your property concerns.