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Should You Have a Pet-Friendly Rental?

The number of people bringing pets into their homes is at its highest. Over 70% of renters have furry companions, compared to less than 50% in 2012. However, having a pet-friendly rental home can create a moral dilemma for landlords. Should they risk getting stuck paying for damages caused by them or simply not allow pets, turning off a large majority of renters from their property?

If you're on the fence about having a pet-friendly rental home, we can help you decide.

Pros and cons of a pet-friendly rental

There are various factors to take into serious consideration before you allow pets in your rental home. We've outlined some pros and cons for you below.

Pros:

  • Pet owners tend to seek longer leases.
  • Monthly rent will be higher due to pet fees. 
  • Most pet owners are responsible. 

Cons:

  • Irresponsible pet owners could result in their pets damaging your property.
  • You could be liable if the pet injures another tenant.
  • You will potentially lose out on renting to people who are allergic to pets.

FAQs about renting to people with pets

What are pet deposits?

The pet deposit is an additional amount of money required that’s a one-time payment. It's similar to a security deposit, paid at the start of a lease.

Like rent, the amount of the pet deposit can vary. It’s the landlord’s discretion on how much to charge. The average pet deposit is anywhere between $200 and $500 and often depends on how many pets there are and their various sizes.

Are pet deposits refundable?

This is a state-by-state issue. Some states allow property managers to keep the pet deposit, while others don't. In some cases, it depends on if there were any pet damages or not. If the pet didn’t damage the property, many landlords refund the pet deposit. In extreme cases where severe damage was caused, both the security deposit and pet deposit are kept for repairs.

How is pet rent different than pet deposits?

Pet rent is a certain amount of money added to the regular monthly rent each month, while a pet deposit is a one-time, potentially refundable fee.

What are some common pet policies?

Pet policies are set by each individual property owner and should always be discussed with potential tenants before an agreement is signed. While each landlord has the ability to create their own pet policy, here are some of the topics usually covered within one.

  • Pets must be licensed and up-to-date on vaccinations. Many cities and towns have their own laws that require pets to be licensed. 

  • Pets must be under a certain weight limit. Many properties only allow pets under 25 pounds because a larger dog might cause more damage. However, little dogs can cause just as many problems as larger ones.

  • Breed restrictions against so-called aggressive breeds. Dogs such as pitbulls, rottweilers and dobermans are considered by the general public to be “aggressive.”

  • Specific number and types of pets allowed. One way to limit the amount of damage done to your rental property is to limit the number of pets allowed. Some property owners will also allow cats but not dogs and vice versa.

  • A quiet-time curfew to discourage nuisance barking.Those without pets don’t want to hear a dog barking every time the owner leaves the house or after a certain hour. Pet curfews can give all residents quiet enjoyment time. 

  • Owners must clean up after pets on lawns and other public areas.  This is considered common sense, but a lot of pet owners need to be reminded.

  • Dogs must be supervised by the owner at all times. Also obvious, this policy is often in place so irresponsible owners won’t tie up their dog outside and leave them for hours on end.

  • Tenants must have a pet insurance policy. One of the most common reasons landlords reject pets is because they're a huge liability issue. Requiring residents to carry their own pet insurance policy can help mitigate any responsibility you may have.

Is allowing pets a risk you’re willing to take?

Property owners must make a difficult decision about whether or not to have a pet-friendly rental. When it comes down to it, whether a property is a pet-friendly rental or not is a personal preference. But keep in mind that 70% of all renters are pet owners, so not allowing pets in your rental could push away a large number of potential tenants.

Categories: Landlords

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About the Author
Leo Wilson

Leo Wilson graduated with a major in Animal Health and Behavior. He’s had over a decade of experience working in the pet industry and has contributed many dog and pet-related articles to several websites before he decided to start sharing his knowledge on his own blog. When he’s not busy working, he and his wonderful wife love spending time at home with their 3 dogs and 2 cats.