Should you or should you not allow pets into your rental property?
Many landlords struggle with this same question. Although there isn’t necessarily a right choice, there are definitely pros and cons for each decision.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, around 65 million households have at least one pet.
This is a significantly large population that would be of interest for landlords who allow pets. For this reason, it may seem like allowing pets is the better choice, but landlords who don’t allow them have their reasons as well.
The only way to make an informed decision is by looking at the pros and cons of each option. In today’s article, we are going to share with you 5 pros and 5 cons of allowing pets in your rental property.
5 Pros of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property
Pro #1: Higher Rent
Allowing pets into your rental property may help you net higher rent. Often, this is the #1 reason why many landlords consider it. After all, your goal as a landlord is to make as much money from your investment as possible.
Not many properties allow pets. As such, the few that do allow them make up for the extra liability by charging higher rent.
Pro #2: Longer Tenancies
As a landlord, you understand the benefit of renting to long-term tenants. Essentially, long-term tenancy means that you are able to keep more of your income, as tenant turnovers can be costly.
According to The Balance, pet owners often rent longer. The reason behind this is that there are a limited number of landlords who allow pets in their properties. As such, tenants have few options to consider.
Pro #3: More Responsible
Owning a pet is a big responsibility. It can be expensive, stressful and time-consuming. Broadly speaking, if a tenant can take this life-long responsibility, chances are that they will be a responsible tenant as well.
Pro #4: Bigger Tenant Pool
Owning a pet allows you to have a larger tenant pool to choose from. The larger the pool, the better the chances are of landing the right tenant. There are several studies that all point to the fact that a significant portion of the U.S. population keeps pets:
- According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 68% of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, were found to own a pet.
- A survey by apartment.com also found that more than 70% of Americans own a pet.
- Zillow even estimates that the number of millennial renters owning a pet exceeds 75%.
Pro #5: Timely Rent Payments
In most cases, pet owners are able to pay rent on time. This is according to a study done by Practical Apartment Management. The study found that over 65% of owners earn over $50,000 annually.
What does this mean to landlords who allow pets?
These landlords will have fewer incidences of nonpayment of rent from their tenant. Nonetheless, it always pays to include a credit check in your screening procedures.
Cons of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property
Con #1: Property Damage
In many cases, this is the #1 reason why landlords are opposed to the idea of allowing pets into their rental properties.
Pets can cause damages to your property. For instance, pets can scratch, rip and tear walls and furniture. They can chew cables and wires, and destroy landscaping.
Con #2: Noise
The other disadvantage of allowing pets is the amount of noise they make. This is especially the case with dogs. Excessive barking from dogs can become a nuisance to other neighbors.
Con #3: Vacancy
Noise from pets can infringe on a tenant’s right to a quiet and peaceful property. Consequently, a tenant without a pet may decide to move out of your property.
Aside from the noise, a tenant may also move out of your rental property because of allergies to certain pets.
Con #4: Bad Odor
Offensive odor may build up in common areas which can result in tenants filing complaints.
Con #5: Physical Injury
Dog bites can lead to serious injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite 4.7 million people a year, with 800,000 of those needing medical attention.
Screen Tenant with Pets
To improve the chances of landing a good tenant, landlords screen all prospective tenants. Generally speaking, tenant screening involves checking a tenant’s income, and criminal and rental background.
If you decide to allow pets, ensure to check the references from the tenant. The goal is to find out whether or not there has been problems with their pet in the past.
Request for the tenant to let you see their pet. The way their pet behaves may tell you a thing or two about their behavior.
Ask your potential tenant a number of questions such as:
- Who looks after the pet when you are not around?
- Have you taken your dog to any type of training?
- Is your pet licensed?
- How do you control fleas?
The Fair Housing Law
The Federal Fair Housing law criminalizes any act of discrimination against a tenant based on 7 protected classes: familial status, sex, disability, national origin, race, color, and religion.
You cannot deny housing to a person with a service dog because a disability is a protected.
You can, however, require that such tenants provide proof that their dog is actually a service dog.
There you have it. 5 pros and 5 cons of allowing pets into your rental property. There is no answer to which option is best. To make the right decision, you need to weigh both sides.