Last modified on November 8th, 2018
By Christina Burch
Property managers or owners might not want to turn away qualified tenants just because they have a pet in their family. According to a Los Angeles Times report, about 70 percent of renters own pets.
By excluding all animals from their properties, property managers also exclude a good percentage of people. However, done right, pet-friendly rental units can attract the best human tenants. In fact, renters with pets are known to be happier and tend to stick around longer.
It might be worth considering the allowance of pets to attract a broader pool of good applicants. Just make sure you’re prepared to mitigate the risks associated with pets, including property damage, injuries, or even complaints about where pets do their business.
Tips to Make Rental Properties Pet- and Landlord-Friendly
While it’s easy to see how pet-friendly policies can help rental units attract good tenants, it’s important for the policies to also protect the property and the other tenants. Here are some helpful tips to make sure that Fido or Fluffy are good members of your rental community:
- Include a Pet Agreement inside each lease
It’s best to include clear terms of pet ownership right inside the rental lease, whether or not the applicant has a pet. That way, all renters can refer to their lease if they consider getting a pet at some time in the future. What to include in your Pet Agreement:
Pet deposits: Many rental properties require an additional pet deposit or fee for each animal. Some jurisdictions limit the amount of money that can be charged for a fee, and it’s a good idea to keep the deposit reasonable.
Number of pets allowed: While it might not be necessary to limit the number of goldfish a renter can have, most rental properties limit renters to one or two cats or dogs.
Types of animals: Landlords usually only allow typical domestic animals, like fish, small birds, tame rodents, cats, and dogs. Some exclude certain dog breeds, and it might be a good idea to check the landlord insurance policy for guidance.
Size limits: Instead of excluding certain breeds of dogs, the lease might simply have a weight limit. Again, this kind of restriction might depend upon the terms of the property’s liability insurance policy.
- Require pet approval
It’s reasonable to forgo approval requirements for certain kinds of pets that aren’t likely to cause any problems, like aquarium fish or small birds. It’s also reasonable to list the kinds and breeds of animals that are acceptable, if they are approved. For example, few rental properties accept ponies or exotic animals.Approval for acceptable breeds of dogs may be based upon answers to a list of standard questions. For instance, it’s reasonable to ask about dog breeds, size and weight, and if the animal has any history of causing property damage or injuries.A fun and friendly way to gather information about a prospective pet is to include a pet resume (check out this one from ABODO) for your renters to fill out. Post it online, and you’ll provide applications the right information from the start (bonus points if they include a photo!).
- Outline your pet owners’ responsibilities
It’s reasonable to require pet owners to walk their dogs in designated areas of the property only, and of course, to pick up messes. Make sure that tenants know they can only bring their dog outside on a leash and should not let any pets roam freely. Many properties also require pet owners to share reports from vets to ensure all pets have had their appropriate vaccinations.Additionally, property managers may want to encourage the purchase of renters insurance. In places where it’s allowed, managers can require pet owners to receive coverage for such liability issues as dog bites.
Other Ways Pet-Friendly Rental Properties Can Prosper
Pet-friendly policies can help your property appeal to a growing segment of renters who might also make ideal tenants. Attract these animal-loving renters with amenities designed to cater to their needs, such as pet-sitting partnership services or dog runs. If any prospective, pet-owning renters have trouble finding an apartment that will accept their cat or dog, they’ll view your property as a clear winner.
Many property managers have decided that it’s worth running a property that welcomes pets because it helps attract good tenants. In doing so, it’s important to make sure that policies are tailored to protect everybody (and every pet). With upfront agreements and clear expectations, property managers can enjoy the benefits of a happy, healthy, pet-loving community.