Pets: Why We Recommend You Allow Them In Your Rental

The Joseph Group Mar 2018

Ian Joseph

“Clients first!” – is a huge part of the DNA that Ian Joseph and his Team have established at The Joseph Group. This motto helps them focus on striving for the highest level of customer experience, for their clients (landlords) and customers (tenants). In fact, Ian strongly believes that in life, family and business, you must strive to give more than you receive. “You can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

Pets: Why We Recommend You Allow Them In Your Rental

One of the easiest ways to prevent tenant damage to your property is to limit pet ownership. However, 75% of Seattle tenants have a pet, so banishing them from your property altogether cuts you off from a large part of the real estate market. We recommend you allow them in your rental, but only under the right circumstances. 

rentals and pets

Pros of Pet-Friendly Property Management

Since we constantly hear about the problems animals cause for landlords, you may not be as familiar with the benefits of allowing your tenants to have pets. Here are six good reasons to allow pets on your property:

  1. Larger Prospective Tenant Pool: As we’ve already mentioned, almost 50% of renters across America own a pet (this percentage is 75% in the Seattle rental market). Therefore, simply allowing your tenants to own pets will make it easier to fill a unit. 
  2. Pet Owners Make More Money: 65% of pet owners earn over $50,000 a year. While this doesn’t guarantee that someone with a pet makes more money than a tenant who doesn’t, (and you should still run a credit check to help determine if this money will go toward paying the rent), allowing pets at your rental property can lead to more qualified tenants. 
  3. Longer Tenancy: Pet owners typically stay in a rental longer because it can be harder for them to find other pet-friendly options. That means you’re less likely to scramble to find new tenants every year.
  4. Responsible Pet Owners Are Responsible Tenants: If someone is mature enough to take good care of an animal, there is a good chance they will treat your property with the same respect.
  5. You Can Charge Higher Rent: Look around your area. If there are not a lot of pet-friendly properties, tenants will have fewer options, and you may be able to charge slightly higher rents if you allow pets due to the increased demand. Some property owners choose to charge a monthly fee for each pet to help offset any potential risk. 
  6. Happier Tenants: Animals can help reduce stress. Having a pet around can make your property feel more like a home for the tenant, which leads to a higher quality of life for everyone. 
pet friendly rentals cats

Cons of a Pet-Friendly Property Management

Unsurprisingly, there are risks involved in allowing pets in your rental properties. Four of the most common problems pets cause are:

1.   Damage to Your Property:  Animals can scratch the floors, chew up carpets and have accidents on the carpets or wood floors.
2.   Disturbing Neighbors:  Dogs barking, birds squawking, and four-legged animals running around the apartment can disturb other tenants in the property, as well as outside neighbors.
3.   Liability: There is a risk of the animal biting other tenants or neighbors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that dogs bite 4.7 million people a year, with 800,000 of those needing medical attention.
4.   Pet Odors:  Accidents inside the unit or in the building common areas will cause odor.
pet friendly rentals dogs

Steps to Take If You Want to Allow Pets in Your Rental Property

The decision to make your property pet-friendly is not one that should be taken lightly. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of allowing pets so you can decide what is right for you and your property. If you’ve chosen to allow pets on in your rental property, there are a few steps you must take before moving forward:

  • Follow the Fair Housing Laws: Yes, there is a Fair Housing Law regarding pets. Even if you have a no pet policy, you cannot violate the housing rights for the disabled who require an animal for their well-being. You can ask for a note from their physician verifying their need for an assistance animal. The definition of “disabled” is broadening every day. Service dogs for the blind or paralyzed used to be the norm. This law has now expanded to allow animals for groups such as the clinically depressed and those with post-traumatic stress because the animals can provide emotional support.
  • Check Your Insurance Coverage and Liability for Animals: Consequently, you will want to check your insurance policy to find out what type of coverage you have if you decide to have a pet-friendly property. Make sure you know the amount of liability coverage your policy includes. Ask your insurance company if there are any limitations or exclusions to this coverage, such as if they have a list of dog breeds they consider to be “dangerous breeds,” which will not be covered under the policy.
  • Include Your Pet Policy in Your Lease: You should include a pet addendum in your lease and require every tenant to sign it. This policy should clearly state your pet policy (whether or not you allow animals) and your expectations of the pet owner. Make it clear that by signing the lease, the tenant agrees to these terms and if they violate these terms, it will be considered a breach of contract.

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