Nowadays, more and more landlords are allowing pets at their rental properties. This choice has many benefits, including increased tenant retention and a larger pool of potential renters. However, just as with anything else, a few potential risks are associated with allowing pets in a rental property. For example, property damage and pet smells can be problems if they are not managed correctly. This article will discuss the benefits and risks of accepting pets in your rental property so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to allow them.
For landlords, one of the biggest challenges is finding tenants who will take good care of the property and pay rent on time. Unfortunately, many great potential tenants won't even consider a rental property if it doesn't allow pets. This is because many people see their pets as family members and are unwilling to give them up to find a place to live. By allowing pets at a rental property, landlords can dramatically increase the number of potential applicants. And while there may be some additional wear and tear on the property, this can be offset by requiring a higher security deposit or employing a professional property management company that will screen pets on your behalf.
Benefits of Allowing Pets
Most people aren't willing to give up their pets to find a new place to live, and, according to the US Humane Society, 72% of renters have pets. So, as you can see, having a pet-friendly rental property can alleviate one of the biggest challenges renters face today.
However, several other reasons allow pets at a rental investment property can be beneficial. For one thing, it can increase tenants' likelihood of lease renewal. In addition, tenants with pets are more likely to stay in one place for longer since they don't want to go through the hassle of finding another pet-friendly rental.
Allowing pets can also attract potential tenants who don't currently have pets but may want to get one in the future. A pet-friendly policy shows that you're flexible and accommodating, making your property more attractive to potential tenants. Ultimately, allowing pets at a rental investment property can be a smart business decision leading to higher occupancy rates and longer-term tenants.
Millennials currently make up the largest percentage of home buyers and renters in the US, and they really love their pets. A lot. So they will greatly appreciate landlords who allow pets. In fact, many renters consider their pet's needs when choosing a rental property. Furthermore, renters who are excellent "pet parents" (have you seen some of those dog outfits?!) are often responsible people as they are used to the daily routine of feeding, walking, and exercising their pets and making sure Buttercup only chews on her toys.
Landlords looking to attract tenants with pets can do a few things to make their property more appealing. Firstly, fenced backyards provide a safe place for animals to play and exercise. Secondly, solid surface flooring is easier to keep clean and free of pet hair than carpet. Lastly, well-maintained yards provide a green space for pets to explore and enjoy. By considering these factors, landlords can make their property more attractive to tenants with pets and create a happy and healthy environment.
Risks of Allowing Pets
While there are certainly many benefits to allowing tenants to have pets, there are also some risks that landlords need to be aware of. One of the most common problems is property damage. Pets can scratch or chew on floors, walls, and doors, and they may also have accidents that can damage the carpet. In addition, pets can leave behind odors or allergens that may be difficult to remove.
Some things can be included in a pet policy for landlords who are on the fence about allowing pets. For example, many landlords restrict certain breeds of dogs known to be aggressive. Others may limit the number of pets allowed in the home or put a weight limit on allowable pets. In some cases, landlords may stipulate that only dogs or only cats are allowed. By including such provisions in a pet policy, landlords can help to ensure their property is appealing to prospective tenants while remaining comfortable with the types of pets in their rental properties.
Sweyer's Pet Screening Program
So, how can you tell whether a particular pet will be a good fit for your home? At Sweyer, we use a pet screening service that allows prospective tenants to enter their pet's information and then provides a score indicating how likely it is that a pet may cause damage to the home. Further, this service researches if the pet has a history of being aggressive or biting – if it does, it won't be accepted.
We also offer a pet guarantee to owners. If a pet causes damages that exceed the security deposit, we guarantee against that damage up to $3,000. This gives owners extra peace of mind that if a pet does end up causing damage to the property, it'll be handled by our team of professionals.
Service Animals & Fair Housing Laws
One thing to remember is the difference between pets and service animals. Fair Housing laws require landlords to accept service animals regardless of the animal's breed, weight, or any existing pet policies. However, a service animal cannot be designated by a certificate someone prints off a random website. Renters with true service animals will be able to provide documentation from a physician that states they need the animal to perform a specific service, and the animal is trained to perform that service. However, the tenant and doctor are not required to tell you what that service is.
In conclusion, allowing pets at rental properties is ultimately a good decision for landlords. Pets create a wider pool of potential tenants and increase the likelihood of lease renewal. Additionally, tenants who are allowed to have their pets see landlords care about the family moving into their rental. Though some risks are associated with allowing pets at rental properties, landlords and property management companies can set pet policies to help mitigate these risks. Have you considered allowing pets at your rental property? If not, we encourage you to do so – the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.
Are you a rental property owner who would like to learn more about the advantages of allowing pets at your investment property? Reach out to our business development team here or contact them directly at 910.239.1338.
Sweyer Property Management is a full-service professional property management company specializing in all aspects of rental management. If you're an investor or property owner looking to learn more about our services and what a professional property manager can do for you, reach out to us today at 910.256.3031 or via our website. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland, and Hampstead areas while maintaining an excellent Google+ rating for customer service.