Did you know that the USA is the topmost country in regards to our cat (76M) and dog (75M) population according to worldatlas.com? Statistics show that approximately 85 million families have a pet. That’s about 67% of households. Yet, only about 27% of homes listed on Zillow allow pets!
The old adage is true, time is money. A quick and easy way to set your rental home apart from the competition is to allow pets. Here are a few benefits to allowing pets.
- It tends to get your home leased much quicker. Allowing pets is shown to get your home leased at least 10 days faster.
- Tenants allowed to have pets are more likely to renew their lease.
- Owners are usually able to get a higher rent amount.
At first thought, pets might seem scary to allow in your rental home. By allowing them, it increases the likelihood of wear and tear, possible noise complaints and even a risk of injury. However, being well-informed and open-minded about it gives you a new perspective to allow a more effective solution that works for both landlord and tenant.
Let’s break this down and really examine how to handle these risks.
- You need to have a pet addendum that clearly defines the expectations you have when allowing pets in your rentals. Just a few of the topics that should be covered in the pet addendum are:
- A higher security deposit and full financial responsibility for any and all damage to both exterior and interior caused by the pet.
- Complete control and care of the pet when allowed outside of the home premises.
- Maintain cleanliness, noise, and nuisance at a low level, as well as adequately provide veterinary care.
- An animal control authority might be required for emergency circumstances.
- As previously mentioned, allowing pets is also an avenue for additional revenue. Check your specific marketplace but we’ve seen upwards of $100 per month in extra rent. In some states, you can ask for a higher security deposit and even ask for a non-refundable pet fee.
Landlord/tenant law provides a method of dealing with lease violation when the pet addendum isn’t adhered to. This ensures protection when clearly stipulated in the lease agreement.
When advertising the home as “no pets”, it is actually putting you at higher risk vs. saying “pets upon approval.” When pets are shut out, we see that tenants become secretive and not upfront about the pets they have. It also opens up the opportunity for them to falsify and register the pet as an Assistive Animal, which at that point you can not deny the animal unless you can prove they used falsified documentation. Doing so is very difficult and risky in and of itself. When you advertise as “pets upon approval” it allows the tenants to be upfront and honest about their pet, while giving you the opportunity to make an informed decision on whether or not to approve the pet.
- Require additional liability insurance that lists you, the landlord, as an “Additional Insured” that the tenant must carry. Because your rental investment is the topmost priority, you want to make sure that your rights, as well as worries, are safeguarded with the knowledge that the tenant can and will honor full responsibility for their pets.
- Check with your insurance company to determine if they have a “vicious dog breed list.” Be sure to review all the possibilities to maximize this benefit.
Be sure to take the time to screen all pets. Most states have vaccine requirements that need to be adhered to. Also, take time to meet the pet if possible. This will give you the ability to understand their behaviors. If you cannot meet the pet first, at the very least, ask the tenant to produce a picture with them and the pet in it. This will help you decide the type of pet they have and if it’s what’s considered a vicious breed. If you are unable, some third-party screening companies are conveniently available to offer their services to make sure everything is completely looked into to lower risk.
By filling in the shortage of properties you provide a solution to the most common woes of moving -- leaving a part of their family behind. It is a win for both! Your property gets leased faster, getting higher rent and more lease renewals.