As a landlord, one of the important decisions you will have to make is whether to allow tenants to have pets in your rental property. While pets can be a source of comfort and companionship for renters, they also carry certain risks and responsibilities. This article will examine some of the key pros and cons of allowing pets in a rental to help landlords make an informed choice.
Pro: Potential For Higher Rents
One advantage of allowing pets is that it opens up your rental pool to many pet owners who are willing to pay a premium to live with their animals. You may be able to charge a little more in rent each month from tenants with pets. This is a way to potentially gain some additional income from your investment property. However, you need to weigh this against the potential for property damage from pets.
Con: Risk Of Property Damage
Of course, the biggest concern with renting to tenants with pets is the risk of damage to your property. Dogs and cats can scratch floors and furniture, chew on moldings or floorboards, or have accidents inside the house. Tenants may not always properly clean up after their pets. Over time, odors and stains can be hard to remove. You need to consider how you would hold tenants financially responsible for any pet-related damage or build it into your security deposit requirements. This added liability is one drawback of allowing pets.
Screening Tenants Carefully Is The Key
To help minimize risks, it is very important to screen rental applicants who have pets as carefully as possible. Check their previous rental and veterinary references. Ask for an additional pet deposit or non-refundable pet fee beyond the regular security deposit. You may even want to do a credit and background check on applicants. Only rent to those who demonstrate financial responsibility and ability to care for their animals. Proper screening can help you avoid problem tenants who may neglect their pets or property.
Pro: Potentially Larger Pool Of Applicants
Opening your rental up to pet owners expands the number of potential tenants interested in your property. Since over 60% of US households have a pet, excluding them significantly reduces the applicant pool for your house or apartment. In competitive housing markets or when it takes time to fill a vacancy, allowing pets gives you access to more renters right away. The larger pool of choices improves your chances of finding a good long-term tenant more quickly to start generating rental income. Allowing tenants’ beloved pets could make your houses for rent in Katy, TX stand out from others with stricter no-pet policies.
Con: Additional Cleaning And Maintenance Costs
Even well-behaved pets can track in dirt and dander which requires more frequent cleaning and pest control treatments between tenants. Odors from pets may linger, necessitating deep-cleaning carpets and other soft surfaces. You may need to replace fixtures like flooring or blinds more often due to claw marks or accidents. Tenants may also refuse to address pet-related issues themselves. The additional maintenance and repairs add to your property expenses as a landlord over time.
Consider Property Type And Size
The impact of allowing pets depends a lot on the type and size of the rental property. Larger homes or apartments with fenced yards are often better suited since pets have more space. Wall-to-wall carpeting and upholstered furniture that absorb odors may not be as practical as wood, tile, or vinyl flooring if renting to pet owners. Consider limiting certain large dog breeds based on safety concerns or potential for damage. Multifamily rentals usually allow smaller pets, while prohibiting dogs over a certain weight. Taking property characteristics into account helps balance risks and returns.
Pro: Potential For Longer Tenancy Duration
Renters who can live with pets may stay on your property longer than those forced to find pet-friendly housing. This longer tenancy duration means less turnover costs like repair, cleaning, and lost rental income during vacant periods between tenants. Stable, long-term residents also cause fewer management headaches and are typically easier to deal with. If pets do not cause issues, allowing them improves continuity which is beneficial from a landlord’s perspective.
Con: Legal Risks Of No-Pet Leases
While having a no-pet policy protects your property, it also carries legal risks if not consistently enforced. Tenants may acquire pets without permission or use pets as emotional support/therapy animals. Discriminating against disabled tenants’ accommodation requests opens you up to Fair Housing Act violation complaints. It is difficult to formally prove emotional/medical necessity in some cases. You could be taken to court and required to allow the pets to stay. Exceptions granted to rules set precedents that affect the future ability to enforce policies. Weigh liability risks carefully based on your local housing laws and ordinances.
Consider A Reasonable Pet Policy
Rather than an outright ban, crafting a reasonable pet policy mitigates both risks for landlords as well as protects renters’ pet ownership rights. For example, only allow certain small pet types or limit number/size based on property. Specify deposit amounts, liability waivers, or increased rent upfront. Require tenants to follow local leash laws and cleanup rules. Rotate deep-cleaning carpets/HVAC as part of preventative maintenance. Consider waiving deposits if no issues are reported. With clear, evenly enforced rules that balance the needs of renters and property investments, landlords can feel secure about allowing furry friends in their rentals.