It’s hard not to love our pets — they’re loyal, sweet, cuddly, entertaining, and adorable. When it comes to rentals, however, a whole new host of concerns crop up. Keeping a pet in a rental home or unit involves more than simply releasing them into the wilds of an apartment to explore to their heart’s content. Depending on the type of animal, property managers have to be concerned with property damage, stains, cleaning, the potential allergies of future tenants, noise pollution, possible attacks on other tenants, and more.
Despite these potential issues, it may still be in your best interest to allow pets on the premises. Millions upon millions of people in the United States are pet owners with companions ranging from Dumbo Rats to Great Danes. Cat and dog owners comprise at least half the population, possibly more. People love their animals and are unlikely to give them up easily. This means that they’re specifically looking for housing rentals that accommodate their pets. If your properties have a big fat NO PETS clause plastered across the contract, you may be losing out on a wide range of quality tenants.
So how do you balance accepting pets with keeping your property secure and in good shape? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Be crystal clear in your contract. Allowing pets to cohabit your properties will open up more possibilities in your tenant pool, but you should still be very clear about your expectations and the consequences your tenants will face if things go awry. Stipulate the type and number of pets that are allowed, weight guidelines, and tenant responsibility for damage or issues such as noise or harming other tenants.
Enforce rules that encourage responsibility. Have your tenants fill out information sheets about pets and provide proof of spay/neuter, as well as rabies vaccinations. Install trashcans specifically for waste if you allow dogs, and insist all tenants pick up after their pets. Do not allow animals to roam the property unsupervised. If a tenant cannot abide by these rules, they must forfeit the animal or break their lease.
Hire an excellent cleaning service or keep pet-free units. While many people simply love having pets and are more than happy to live in a unit previously occupied by animals, others may have allergies or sensitivities. In order to remain open to the widest range of applicants, make sure units are thoroughly cleaned by a service used to dealing with animal dander. Alternately, you can keep a set number of your units pet-free.
Utilize tenant screening services to check rental history. If a pet owner has been previously evicted for damage, breaking contracted pet agreements, or having a problem animal, that information may show up in a rental background check.
Charge higher rent or pet deposits. If you’re concerned about the potential hazards of allowing pets, make sure your bases are covered by charging an appropriate amount for the privilege of keeping pets in your units. This gives you a buffer in case you have to deal with repairs or other issues down the line, while also bringing in extra income.
Millions of renters are looking for units that will take their adorable cats and dogs, so it’s in your best interest as a property manager to welcome them with open arms. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence, however. For more advice on pet rentals, contact us here at Tenant Screening Center!