As a landlord, one of the important decisions you have to make is outlining a pet policy for your property. Pets can cause damage to a property and disturb neighboring tenants, but are the pros worth it? Here are the top pros and cons landlords should review when developing a pet policy.

Pros:

Charge Higher Rent: If other rental properties in your area are not pet-friendly, you might be able to charge more for pet fees. Higher rent premiums can work in your favor long-term.  

Happier Tenants: Animals can help reduce stress and be a great companion for people of all ages. Having a pet around can make your property feel more like a home for tenants.

Increase Renewals: Decrease tenant turnover and vacancy by investing in a pet-friendly property. Due to the scarcity of pet-friendly rentals, your property can remain competitive by choosing to allow pets.

Larger Tenant Pool: If you make your property pet-friendly, you will have more interested tenants interested due to demand for pet-friendly rental housing. Similarly, responsible pet owners often make suitable tenants.

Cons:

Property Damage: Animals may damage wood flooring and carpets. Pet owners may not be very responsible at cleaning up after their pets which can lead to property damage throughout the building. Prevent this by screening pets for behavior prior to accepting a pet-owning tenants.

Odor: Pets that are not properly groomed or clean can spread unwanted pet odors throughout the building. Other tenants in the building might be allergic or move when an animal odor becomes overpowering and unpleasant.

Liability: Unauthorized pets at your property can cause a huge amount of damage towards your property and other tenants on your property if the pet bites or attacks others. With a pet policy, pet damage is covered through a pet deposit and liability coverage is covered through renter’s insurance. Without a clear pet policy, all of these potential issues will be the property owners responsibility.

How to Protect Your Property

Avoid pet-related issues by outlining certain conditions in your lease and pet policy.

  1. Limit the amount of pets and/or breeds your tenants can have in the building to ease animal management at your building. If you have small units in your building, perhaps limit your pet policy to small cats and dogs.
  2. Collecting a pet deposit from your tenants will often  prevent pet damage because tenants will have a monetary incentive to prevent damage.
  3. During the screening process, you may require potential tenants to submit references, vet records, obedience training and proof of renters insurance with pet coverage to thoroughly screen tenants and their pets. You can also use pet management services like PetScreening.com to screen renters’ pets.

When deciding whether to make your property pet friendly or not, consider these pros and cons to make the right decision for your property.