This topic is widely debated among landlord circles, I venture to say it's one of the hottest landlord buttons. If you ever want to ruffle some feathers at a Landlord networking event, voice a strong opinion on Pet Policy.
Standard Pet Policy at Sagareus Real Estate: Up to 2 pets allowed with a 30 pound per pet weight limit.
For answers to more questions, please visit Sagareus Property Management Services featuring Property Owner FAQs.
There are pros and cons of allowing pets in your rental property. In this article, I'll outline the major benefits, liability issues, cats vs dogs, and conclude with how I came to the above policy.
The first and most obvious benefit is a wider tenant pool. Many people have pets for a variety of reasons, when searching for housing, these people use search filters that allow pets. This article from Seattle Magazine cites a fun statistic:
No one is going to get rid of their pets in order to live in your property. When you do not allow pets, these renters do not even consider your property as a place to live.
Moving is more expensive and difficult for a pet owner. When you have a pet owner tenant, they will stay longer, reducing your turn over & vacancy loss. Existing tenants will appreciate the option of being able to add a pet later if they choose. Consider the following real world experiences:
Firepaw, an animal advocacy non-profit, conducted a study regarding Pet Policies. They found that 85% of landlords permitting pets reported having some amount of pet-related damage at some time.
The data suggests there is little difference in damage between tenants with or without pets. In this study, the biggest differences in damage from tenants with pets and those without was under $40, with an average for $323 in damage for tenants without pets and average of $362 for tenants with pets.
Because pets will increase the cost of the turn over, we charge a Pet Rent to offset the expense. After this tenant moves out, we replace carpets to prevent any allergy issues with the next tenant. Rather than attempt to justify this and withhold a deposit, we simply explain this is the policy and that is why we charge a monthly Pet Rent.
I don't like pet deposit and prefer Pet Rent. How can I prove the damage was caused by the dog and not the tenant? I really have no way of knowing who actually peed on the carpet.
Most tenants will prefer Pet Rent to increased security deposit because it will reduce their move in costs, again increasing your tenant base.
Some landlords swear by a cat only policy. Others can show you documented proof that cats cause more damage than dogs.
I choose to remain neutral on the topic. Both animals can cause damage and pet dander & hair will end up in the carpets. The weight limit reduces the security issue presented by dogs.
There are no bad pets, just bad owners.
Another hot topic among landlords, tenants, and animal rights advocates. Many properties will allow pets, but not allow 'Aggressive Breeds' providing a list of unapproved breeds.
I've found this approach to be problematic. First of all, any breed can be aggressive depending on the situation. Secondly, most dogs are not pure bred breed.
I've had tenants tell me they are moving in a 'mostly lab' that looks amazingly similar to a pit bull. When asked, they state the obvious "it's a mixed breed."
Rather than a breed restriction, we do a weight restriction. This is objective, no room for debate on this issue. No, I don't carry a dog scale in my car. You can usually estimate the weight of a dog, if its close, I've requested vet papers which will state the dog's weight at their last check up.
I suppose it depends on who you ask, but for our purposes the answer is three. 3 cats is too many. 3 dogs is too many. Our tenants are allowed to have 2 pets in any combination they desire.
Rental advertisements that are pet friendly get more views. There are key actions you can take to ensure your pet friendly rental advertisement shows up correctly and highlights the pet friendly features.
By pointing out the aspects that make it ‘pet-friendly’ in your listing, you’ll attract more potential renters rather than alienate the 61% of American households that have a pet!
Whether a dog person, a cat person, or someone who prefers the company of another pet species, 99% of pet owners say that they consider their animal to be family. When finding a home, 95% of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals.
A recent study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there are many aspects of the home search experience that are greatly impacted by American’s love for their pets.
This should come as no surprise as $66.75 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2016, with $70 billion projected for 2017. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search,
“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners."
Still not convinced? Consider the following Pet Statistics:
The most important item is to ensure your advertisement has the "Pet Friendly" box checked. Whatever internet site you are using-- Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, etc-- each have an option to include pets.
This is a vital step because pet owners will filter ads out of their search that are not pet friendly.
That means these prospective applicants will not even see your ad if you don't click the "Pet Friendly" box!
Secondly, include your complete Rental Property Pet Policy in your rental advertisement. Are there additional fees / deposits? Weight / pet type / breed restrictions?
Finally, point out features of your property that are Pet Friendly, such as :
Renters love their pets and will look for pet-friendly features in the home they wish to rent, so take advantage of this knowledge by pointing out your properties ability to meet their needs.
If you decide to restrict the policy to No Pets, that is your decision. The property may sit on market a little longer, but eventually it will be rented. If you decide you love animals and people who have pets, you can go with the most liberal pet policy of all - No weight, breed, or number restrictions! Bring all the animals! You will likely rent your unit in 2 days.
Sagareus prefers a happy medium to increase the tenant pool, accommodate reasonable pet requests from existing tenants, and offset the liability with restrictions and Pet Rent.