Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?
Making the decision to allow pets in your rental property – or not – is a personal one. I know lots of investors who are vehemently opposed to pets in rental homes, as well as plenty who don’t give a rats (pun intended). There are solid arguments on both sides, so let’s talk about them!
First up, let me hit you with a couple facts (and one quasi-fact):
- In the U.S., 44% of households report having a dog, and 35% have a cat.
- In 2015, Americans spent more than $60 billion on their pets. Yes, BILLION.
- Most pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family.
Let that sink in for a minute. Nearly half of the households in the U.S. have a pet, and most of these pet-owning families adore their pet and view them as a full-fledged family member (hence the billions spent each year nationwide).
Are you really going to tell these people that they can’t rent your property unless they’re willing to get rid of Fluffy? Are you really going to eliminate such a large number of potential tenants from your renter pool?
Lots of investors say yes. Why? Because pets are notorious for causing damage and leaving behind foul odors that can be difficult and expensive to remove. This alone is enough to make plenty of investors say no way, but there are other reasons why some don’t allow pets. Some insurance policies become void when pets are present, or particular types of pets. Some communities have banned certain types of pets, so it’s easier for a property owner to just say “no pets” rather than risk having a city ordinance violated at their rental. And some just plain don’t want to deal with the hassle of adjusting rent based on number or type of animal, or feeling like they have to check in more frequently to ensure the pet isn’t damaging the property.
On the other side of the coin, you have the pro-pet landlords, who view our furry companions as another revenue stream. They’re not wrong. Allowing pets in your unit can justify a rent increase of 20% to 30% in most cases, not to mention the initial pet fee that is usually paid. Additional insurance can be taken out, and regular visits to the property can ensure your renters aren’t letting their animals destroy the home. Implementing and enforcing rules regarding pets can also help prevent unpleasant situations. These rules usually have to do with the types and quantities of pets allowed, which can be verified during site visits.
Like I said, allowing pets or prohibiting them is a personal choice that is highly dependent on several factors – likely including your own feelings about companion animals. Still, it doesn’t hurt to consider both sides before reaching a decision. If allowing a dog or cat means $200 more per month in rent, you may find that it’s worth it. Then again, if you’ve had the distinct pleasure, or shall I say displeasure, or trying to remove the smell of 10 cats from a home, then $200 may not be worth it.
When it comes to pets in rental properties, try to be as objective in your decision-making as possible. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but you must definitely consider the dollars and cents of it – as well as the scents.