As a landlord, you're allowed to set the rules and regulations at your rental properties. If you're not okay with your tenants having pets in the apartment, no worries. A no-pet policy will help you to specify this. But the policy can't be applied to tenants who have a medical need for an animal. In that case, you're dealing with service and emotional support animals that aren't considered pets.
Here is why don't landlords accept pets: potential property damage. There are numerous stories about pets destroying apartments, scratching the carpet, or attacking neighbors. Basically, pets can create damage to a property. But the thing is, more than 60% of renters have a pet and are looking for a pet-friendly landlord. Most tenants would pay extra money just to live together with their four-legged friends. A strict no-pet policy can ban animals in the rental, but is it really worth it?
The rent for apartments that allow pets is more expensive than those that do not. Allowing renters to have pets may grow your rental income. However, a proper Pet Addendum to a lease agreement is crucial if a landlord agrees to become pet-friendly. Keep in mind, leases cannot be changed unless all parties agree.
Let's analyze a few pros and cons of renting to pet owners in order to view the whole picture.
Pros of Renting to Pet Owners:
- More prospective tenants. The checkmark "pets allowed" works like a magnet to prospective renters. If you're not sure that this will potentially attract more tenants to your rental, take a look at the statistics above once again (60% is a lot!).
- Charging higher rent. You can easily charge slightly higher rent if your rental is the only pet-friendly option in the area.
- Providing security. An angry dog warning sign is a great security measure, even if it's just a sweet chihuahua barking at a flowering shrub.
- Longer tenancy. Tenants are likely to stay in a pet-friendly rental longer, as they might not want to spend hours searching for a new pet-friendly option.
Cons of Renting to Pet Owners:
- Excessive wear and tear. Pets may cause damage to your apartment. That's why you'll charge higher rent.
- Regular rental inspections. To keep an eye on the condition of your rental, do regular inspections of the property.
- Neighbors calling in a disturbance. The truth is neighbors can only handle noises produced by their own pets. A barking dog next door is the end of the world for them.
- Hiding pets from the landlord. Some tenants think they can get away with hiding a pet in an apartment, but secrets are always revealed, no matter what.
Emotional Support Animals
More and more people are stating that they need animals (i.e. emotional support animals) to maintain their mental health. Emotional support animals are animals that provide therapeutic benefits to their owner through affection and companionship. They are said to reduce stress, improve emotional wellness, and encourage development of a positive mindset. Sounds great, right? But why don't landlords like the idea of their tenants having an emotional support animal? The main reason is that tenants sometimes misinterpret the regulation and bypass the no-pet policy. An emotional support animal isn't considered a pet, so a landlord can't charge any fees or pet deposits. Landlords know that getting a medical prescription from a psychiatrist isn't hard. That's why they are suspicious about tenants' requests to allow an emotional support animal in the apartment as part of their treatment.
A service animal is specially trained to perform a task a person with disabilities cannot. Service animals are in most cases dogs. The tasks performed by service dogs include pulling a wheelchair, reminding owners to take medicine (insulin, for example), alerting a person, or pressing an elevator button. The most common service animals are guide dogs who help the blind to navigate. Landlords should keep in mind that a no-pet policy doesn't refer to service animals that help renters with obvious disabilities.
What's your attitude towards a no-pet policy? Do you allow pets in your rentals? Share your thoughts and ideas by leaving comments below. We'd love to hear what you think. :)