One major decision you have to make as a property manager is whether or not you are going to allow your renters to have pets. And even when you do decide you want to allow pets, there are a variety of concerns and accommodations you’ll want to consider. Here is a look at what to consider and how to accommodate when you allow your tenants to have pets.
The Pros and Cons of Allowing Pets
First, the pros and cons of allowing your tenants to have pets.
Allowing pets on your rental property opens up the market for potential tenants tremendously. After all, a tenant will rarely choose an amazing apartment over their beloved pet. Allowing pets also grants you the opportunity to make a little extra money with increased rent or pet fees.
Of course, pets also have the potential to cause damage to property. A pet could be perfectly house trained, but if the pet’s owner is not diligent about taking it outside, messes are still going to happen. (Keep in mind with this, however, that young children are just as likely to damage your property.) Moreover, allowing pets could make for more noise complaints thanks to barking dogs.
Now, here are some best practices to keep in mind as a property owner.
Be explicit in the contract.
Of course, you’ll need to be explicit in the contract about any pet fees and expectations of pet owners. If there are any restrictions on which types of animals are allowed, be sure to state those as well.
Make your property pet-friendly.
There are a number of ways you can help accommodate renters with pets. First, you could make sure that dog waste bags and trash cans are readily available for renters to use. It’s also a good idea to post signs indicating that pet owners are responsible for picking up pet waste. In addition, you might consider designating a particular area of your property as a dog park where pet owners can congregate with their pets.
Charge a monthly pet fee.
The easiest way to handle any concerns you have with pets is to charge a monthly pet fee. This will help you cover any damages to your property that may occur, and it can also help you finance special accommodations on your property (such as a dog park or free dog waste bags). Most property owners will charge up to 20 or 30 percent more per month on rentals with pets. Just be sure not to go overboard here—if renters feel that they are being nickeled and dimed, they will look for a place to live elsewhere.
Request professional cleaning.
In addition to a monthly pet fee, you might also request that your tenant hires out for a professional carpet cleaning or a professional air duct cleaning before the lease expires. This can help minimize damage caused by pets.
Consider enforcing some restrictions.
Enforcing some restrictions—such as weight restrictions, how many pets a tenant can own, or whether or not pets need to be neutered—can offer you some peace of mind as a property owner. Decide on which restrictions might help you and which ones might simply turn renters away.