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Should I Allow Pets in My Rentals? The Pros and Cons of Being a Pet-Friendly Landlord

April 12, 2021

Allowing pets in rental properties comes with a lot of responsibilities but it also provides multiple benefits for pet-friendly landlords. If you’re looking to increase your pool of prospective renters and scale your rental portfolio, having a pet policy in place and adding it to the lease agreement is a smart solution and potentially a worthwhile investment. 

In most cases, landlords are concerned about excessive wear and tear caused by pets. However, it shouldn't be a sticking point for landlords and tenants. According to pet ownership laws, requiring a pet deposit or even pet rent can cover the expenses associated with any pet-related cleaning costs and property repairs. While a pet deposit works similarly to a refundable security deposit provided at the beginning of the tenancy, pet rent is collected on a monthly basis. You can also consider requiring pet fees, which allow you to keep the deposit regardless of the character of the property damage, even if it’s minimal. 

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Dogs and cats are still the most popular pets to own, according to the American Pet Products Association.

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Exotic pets such as tarantulas or lizards can be good for smaller apartments but even so, you should also require a security deposit, no matter how low maintenance these unusual pets might be. Remember that some exotic pets can potentially be dangerous - not only to the owner but also to neighbours or visitors. In many cases, the landlord would be considered responsible for such consequences alongside the pet owner.

If you’re unsure whether allowing pets in your rentals is a good idea, consider the following pros and cons of pet-friendly rentals: 

Pros

  • Longer tenancy

It can take more time for pet owners to find a pet-friendly place, so there is a good chance they will stay with you for a longer period of time. 

  • More responsible tenants

Pet owners are usually excellent tenants, especially those who take good care of their pets. If they’ve provided you with documentation from the veterinarian such as vaccine history and other veterinary records, it shows they are responsible pet owners and therefore will be reliable renters. 

  • Higher rents

One study shows that pet owners generally make more money. This  doesn’t mean you should increase the rent after you receive a rental application from a pet owner. However, it is common for pet-friendly landlords to require pet rent. Depending on the animal type and size, landlords usually charge between $10 and $25 extra per month for a pet.

Cons

  • Possible property damage

Some animals cause more property damage than others. For instance, certain dog breeds cannot be kept in small apartments because they need more space to play. If they are not given proper space and exercise, they may try to play with the carpets, couch and other apartment furniture. 

Solution: Before finding out that a candidate for your one-bedroom apartment owns two German Shepherds, make sure to specify what type and size of pets you will allow in your rental in the listing description.

  • Strange odors

Yes, some animals can smell, especially if they are nervous or scared. To eliminate animal-related odors in the apartment, encourage your tenant to regularly clean a pet’s bed, wash the floors and use pet-friendly air purifiers. 

  • Pet hair

Furry friends often leave their hair all over textile surfaces. Deep vacuum cleaning is an effective way to keep the carpets and linens in good condition even if they collect a lot of pet hair. 

  • Neighbours’ complaints

If you allow pets, be ready to occasionally receive complaints about noise from other tenants or neighbours. 

Soundproofing the walls is an expensive upgrade, but if the neighbours are pet owners too, they’ll more readily understand and won’t be angry about a dog barking at 2 a.m. 

Note! A no-pet policy cannot be applied to emotional support and service animals. Check out this source to learn more. 

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