Should Landlords Allow Pets?

The Joseph Group Jan 1970

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

A common question landlords face at some point is whether or not they will allow pets on their property. The decision can impact the tenants you can attract over time (and your bottom line)! 

What's the right choice? In this article, we will discuss how to use a Kitsap County property management professional to determine if pet-friendly properties are right for you, how to allow appropriate pets with pet screening, and why you need a pet addendum!

Young family with beautiful labrador puppy in front of cardboard house

Why Allow Pets?

Allowing pets onto your rental property is a big decision. Investors want to avoid any damage to a property that could be caused by animals. However, allowing occupants with pets often boost revenue for rental property owners. In many cases, pet owners stay for more than one lease term!

Partnering with a property management company gives landlords insight into extra costs and fees they can charge pet-owning residents, such as a higher deposit, a non-refundable pet screening fee, and more. It's also wise to consider a monthly pet fee, or pet rent when you allow an aminal onto your property. 

Apply additional fees to cover pet "mistakes" or accidents and any damage that happens due to a cat or dog living in your rental. Make sure any additional fees comply with local laws. Property managers can assist with the details on these fees, and the local laws and regulations surrounding pet fees for real estate investors. 

Don't Miss Out On Good Tenants

As a landlord, you want quality tenants that will care for your property, pay their rent on time, and stay there for the long haul. However, many rental property owners don't realize they could miss out on high-quality tenants simply because they don't allow them to bring their pets!

In some cases, it may make more sense to allow pets to widen your potential pool of quality tenants. If you work with a property management company to ensure you can filter through the possible occupants and develop a top-notch screening process, allowing pets could bring in high-quality, long-term occupants. Typically, when pet owners get comfortable, they do not want to move year after year because they know the struggle to find a good property that allows animals.

If you're struggling to find (and keep) quality residents, it's time to consider a pet policy that opens your rentals to pet owners—and allows current residents who want to get an approved pet to stay!

Add a Pet Addendum to the Lease

If you decide to allow pets on your property, the terms of pet ownership and responsibilities need to be clear in the lease agreement. Any tenant with a pet on the property should have a professional pet addendum added to their lease, which a property management professional can help with. 

The addendum outlines: 

  • Your pet screening and approval process
  • The pets you allow (and don't allow)
  • The rules for keeping a pet 
  • Penalties for violating the rules, owning unapproved pets, or failing to pay additional fees

The addendum should also detail any additional clean-up costs for the pet, repair fees for pet-caused damage, and more. The right property management company can help you with their definition and wording in the lease agreement, so the terms are clear and comply with the law. 

While allowing pets is an excellent way to increase your overall revenue, it's essential to understand when "pets" aren't "pets and how that applies to your pet policies. 

Cute dog

Understand Assistance Animals vs. Pets

One other type of potential animal occupant needs to be top of mind as you think about the pet policy at your rental property. Service or emotional support animals (ESA) cannot be considered "pets." While household pets are typical domestic companions, service animals are described as dogs (or other animals) critical to helping someone with a disability carry on a quality lifestyle. 

The distinction between service animals and pets is critical. It will help you categorize your policy and plan for reasonable accommodation requests from residents with disabilities who require service animals in their rental homes. Property managers can help you craft policies that follow the ADA while protecting your properties and income!

ADA Awareness

If you are renting to individuals with service animals, make sure you're aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and comply with all regulations. If you have a "no pets" policy for your rentals, you must modify that policy to allow service animals in the rental if a resident requests one.

Work with a property manager to understand how to comply with the ADA, accommodate renters, protect your investments, place quality long-term tenants (with or without pets), and maximize returns!

A Property Manager and Pets Can Increase Your ROI

The decision to allow pets or not at your real estate investment property is up to you! However, most investors find that an effective pet policy for pet-friendly rentals boosts ROIs and long-term revenue. Work with a Kitsap County property management company to decide if pets are right for your rentals and goals. 

The professional property managers at Joseph Property Management are here to help! If you don't love pets (but you love the idea that pets can bring in more revenue), reach out, and let's talk about how we can make it work for you. 

To learn more about placing quality residents, download our Tenant Screening Checklist today!


Subscribe to Our Blog

Subscribe to receive real estate investment news and industry insights.