Benefits of Going Pet-Friendly in Your Rentals
As a landlord, there is usually hesitation, or at least consideration, about allowing pets in your rental properties. Pets are messy, unpredictable, and can cause property damage. So, why allow pets?
The short answer is that pets are popular. Denying pets at your rentals immediately creates a large limitation on your rental audience. If your property doesn’t have a specific audience that doesn’t largely overlap with pet owners, you’re ruling out too many potential tenants. This leads to a higher chance of your property going vacant, and a vacant property is money down the drain. Over 70% of renters own pets (mostly dogs and cats), so allowing pets in your rental is simply accommodating the masses. Beyond that, there are actually many reasons why allowing pets in the lease is more beneficial than banning them:
In addition to opening up your properties to a larger tenant pool, having pet-owning tenants might actually decrease your vacancy rate further. Surveys show that pet owners, on average, stay significantly longer in their rentals than non-pet owners. In fact, over two-thirds longer, with an average stay of 23 months compared to 15 months. This means when you rent to pet owners, you’re more likely to have lease renewals and less chance of vacancy in the long run. By these statistics, you should actually prefer pet owners in your rentals.
It is true that pets have a higher chance of causing property damage, and generally require more maintenance, cleaning, and upkeep. However, pet owners are aware that allowing their furry friends in a rental is an accommodation, and doesn’t come free. There are often additional charges associated with pets to account for potential damage or costs to the landlord. You have multiple options for collecting additional revenue from pet-friendly tenants.
One way is to increase rent or charge a monthly pet rent. Charging a separate pet rent allows you to charge appropriate fees according to the number and type of animals. It also encourages a system for registering and documenting each pet so you can better keep track and control what goes on in your property. The same can be done with the security deposit — you can increase the security deposit or charge a pet deposit for each animal.
While these additional charges may be spent on deep cleaning or property repairs when the tenants move out, pets don’t always wreak havoc. Always consult your local laws on pet rental fees before making any adjustments.
Discourage Illegal Pets
Many pet owners struggle to find rentals that accommodate their animals, so when they need to move, they are often tempted to sneak in their animals illegally. If you allow pets, it is extremely unlikely that a tenant will have an animal on the property without giving full disclosure. This helps you to stay informed and properly compensated for any pets on the premises. Having an upfront pet policy in the lease also makes it easier to enforce rules and fees concerning the types and sizes of pets that you allow. You can also require screening for obedience training and vet records.
Allowing pets in the first place allows you to add pet-friendly amenities to your property and listings to attract tenants. Pet owners love, and I mean love, pet-friendly attractions. Emphasize nearby dog parks, grooming services, and veterinarian locations in your property listing, as well as any other nearby activities that their little friends might enjoy. You can also squeeze in details like pet beds in the listing photos to give potential tenants an image of how their pet would feel at home in the space. And if you really want to commit, install pet doors and optimize any outdoor spaces for dogs and cats. At the end of the day, happy pets means happy tenants.
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