Although it may be hard to figure out what the fascination is, it seems that pet goats and micro pigs are now a thing. However, as a rental property owner would you consider renting your apartment to a tenant who owns one of those? As a matter of fact, would you consider renting to a tenant who has a companion of any furry, feathery or scaly variety? Is there something to be lost or gained by excluding people with pets from your list of prospective tenants?
The consensus among most rental owners is that renting to pet-owners is a problem. This is because pets tend to cause damage. Given that more than 50% of households in the United States have at least one pet, this is a huge problem.
Conversely, pet owners and their pets need a place to live; and many have problems finding suitable accommodations. Are renters with pets that much trouble? Are the problems they bring easily solved? What are the pros and cons of renting to pet owners?
Pros of Renting to Pet Owners
More prospective tenants.
The percentage of households in the US that have pets currently stands at about 68-70%. On the other hand, only around 55% of landlords will rent to pet-owners. Allowing pets in your properties, therefore, means have a larger prospective tenant-pool to lease to. On the other hand, restricting your options to non-pet-owning tenants limits you to less than 40% of the population.
Generally, pet owners are more affluent than other renters and can afford to pay higher rent. This means that you’ll have the opportunity to make more money by accepting pets in your properties. This money comes from charging a tenant pet-rent fee which is an additional amount to the standard rent. You can charge as much as 20-30% more in rent. In some cases, this adds up to an additional monthly income of around $200. Having a pet on the premises lets you earn more on gross rental income.
Longer lease agreements.
Pet-owning tenants, once they find suitable accommodations, tend to stay longer in them. This is because there are not many rental properties that will accept them. So if they find a decent place, they stay for the long-term. Dog-owners, in particular, do not like to move often; frequent changes of environment stress-out the animals. When tenants stay long-term, you have guaranteed rental income.
Looking after a pet is a lot of work; it requires a lot of responsibility. As a result, pet-owners are usually more accountable than other renters and make excellent tenants. This is also partly because they do not have many other rental options. They make the extra effort to pay on time and look after the property, in order to avoid being asked to leave.
Tenants with pets tend to be overall happier people; pets provide some emotional therapy and stress relief. This emotional stability means less trouble for you. Your tenant’s happiness will reflect in how they take care of your property. Also, by allowing pets, you can avoid having to face the issue of tenants sneaking pets on to the property after they move in.
Cons of Renting to Pet Owners
Possibility of property damage.
Pets are likely to leave scratch marks on walls and other surfaces. They may destroy the landscaping, as well as chew up carpets, wood features, cables, and wires. The cost of fixing an apartment after a pet-owner leaves can be high. Requiring a pet deposit can help cover the cost of repairs for any damage caused by the pet. This deposit should be determined by the particular kind of animal and needs to be included in the lease agreement.
Aggression toward other tenants.
Especially with dogs, you need to avoid the liability that comes with an animal attacking other people. A pet’s level of aggression is usually the result of their care, training, and sociability. You can evaluate the temperament of the animal in question by arranging to meet it in its home prior to allowing the prospective tenant to move in. This will give you an idea of how it acts towards strangers. It is also helpful to require renters insurance for any potential issues.
Possibility of flea infestations.
This is another problem that costs money and also takes time to fix. To safeguard your property against infestation and also solve the problem, if it occurs, there are two solutions. First, ensure the pet-deposit a tenant pays covers the cost of dealing with a possible infestation. Secondly, you should ask to see records of the pet’s treatments with a qualified vet.
Birds squawking, dogs barking, and animal sounds can feel disruptive to other people living nearby. It is also hard to ensure that the smell of pet litter will not make the property unbearable to live in or near. These are problems that only show up after a tenant moves in. The way to avoid them is by requiring references from previous landlords. Talking to the owner of a place where the person lived with the pet can reveal future problems. If you accept a tenant with a pet, you should do regular inspections of the property to ensure scents or damage aren’t occurring.
Potential health risks.
Pets shed, particularly dogs and cats. The hair can stick in carpet or get into air conditioning ducts. This means there’s the possibility of hair/dander traveling to other apartments or lingering in the property even after a tenant leaves. If there are people in the building who have allergies, this can be a huge problem. It also means, subsequently, you cannot accept tenants who have allergies in that apartment. You can counter this by making sure your tenant agrees to monthly professional cleaning of the apartment, including the air conditioning ducts.
To sum up, the most important factor in how a pet behaves is its owner. The bulk of your effort in evaluating pets’ riskiness should focus on its owner. This will help you determine the potential tenant’s level of responsibility and responsiveness.
If you don’t feel sufficiently assured that they’ll take care of the property, you should not accept the person. If you feel confident, you should go ahead. Renting to tenants with pets is not such a bad idea; someone on the market has to do it. Additionally, there is a chance of making more money. The only caveat is that you will have to put in more work to ensure your property stays in good shape.