One of the interesting discussions I have with property owners is about pets and whether they should accept them. It’s a hot topic so I thought I’d lay out the pros and cons and some of the things you can do to offset the potential risk of accepting pets.
60% of Americans have pets!
To get started, you need to understand that approximately 60% of Americans have pets. If you decide not to accept pets, you are eliminating almost two-thirds of the population as potential tenants. Also, if you have a high-end single-family home, that number can be as high as 70% to 75% of families who will have pets.
If you own lower category properties or student housing, that percentage could be lower. But either way, if you don’t accept pets, a large portion of the population is ineligible to rent your property.
Pet owners tend to stay in apartments longer!
Pet owners tend to be very good tenants as they tend to stay longer. Because it is difficult for a pet owner to move or find another place that accepts pets, they will stay in their current property for much longer. Obviously that helps with turnover and repair costs, so it’s better to have longer-term tenants.
Pet owners tend to make more money and be better tenants
Pet owners tend to make more money than non-pet owners. Because pet owners have to pay for food, vet bills, and all the other things pet owners buy, this indicates a higher disposable income than those without pets. Higher incomes should allow them to pay higher rents and be able to offset any short-term financial problems.
Charge additional rent and security deposit
You should make more money accepting pets. We charge an additional $ 25 per month, per pet. If tenants have two pets, we will charge an additional $ 50 per month of rental income. We also charge an additional $ 300 per pet as a security deposit. It is refundable if the place is perfect when the tenants move in, but if the pet does any damage then we have extra money to make repairs. Also, if the carpets weren’t clean when they left, one of the things we’ll use the $ 300 security money for is cleaning and laundering the carpets.
Use the pet addenda to establish pet rules and regulations!
We recommend that tenants sign a complete pet addendum. The Pet Addendum sets out all the rules and regulations of owning a pet and the ramifications of not being cared for.
Do not accept aggressive dogs
We do not accept aggressive dogs. If tenants have a bulldog or other aggressive dogs, we do not recommend accepting them. Also, you would not accept dogs weighing more than 50 or 60 pounds as they add great additional risk to your building and other tenants or neighbors. One of the reasons for this is that most property insurance companies will void your insurance if you accept aggressive or large dogs.
Wash professional carpets once tenants move in!
We require pet-owning tenants to professionally shampoo carpets when they leave. They must pay for the cleaning and provide us with a receipt attesting that the cleaning was done. If for some reason they didn’t, as I mentioned above, we would use that extra $ 300 in security to professionally wash and clean the carpets.
Hardwood floors and pets?
One of the main concerns is the wooden floors. If you have a property with a wood floor, accepting pets is a real risk factor. We recommend mitigating the risk by requiring that they have rugs on some or all of the hardwood floors. But either way, if you have wood floors, it’s an added risk and make sure a dog is worth keeping on the wood-floored property.
Service animals are NOT pets!
It is very important for everyone to understand that a service animal is not a pet. If you decide not to accept pets, that’s fine. But if the tenant has a service animal, he cannot decide to agree to reject a tenant based on a service animal. So make sure you know that, as an owner, a service animal is not a pet.