Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?

Osprey Property Management   |   date December 2023

Pets in rentals. It can be a divisive and emotional topic to cover. 

In the past, many property owners had a blanket ban on pets in their rental properties (many still do), but times are changing. Pet-owning renters won't consider a rental property if they can't bring their furry friend with them. So, before making hard decisions regarding allowing pets in your investment property, property owners must understand that allowing pets can also lead to longer-term, higher-paying, and happier tenants

In this blog, we're looking at some of the challenges and positives of being a pet-friendly property investor, plus some strategies to help you limit the risk and future problems of allowing pets in investment property.

What Are the Issues With Allowing Pets in My Rental Property? 

Understandably, you may be reluctant to allow pets in your rental properties as an investor. 

Cute corgi dogs with pet bed on color background

Common "cons" of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property

  • Potential damage: This is one of the biggest cited arguments against pets in rentals. Animals can scratch, bite, and claw away at furnishing and floorings. Also, don't forget that there may be landscape damage, such as holes in the back garden or problems with the fencing.

  • Barking and nuisance behavior: Loud animals can cause disruptions in the local neighborhood and to other renters.

  • Pet owners that don't clean up after their pets: This can lead to issues with odor and even health and safety concerns. Keep in mind that this issue is related to the responsibility level of the pet owner and can be avoided with comprehensive renter screening. Also, remember that urine can soak under the carpets and into the flooring, so be sure to do a thorough assessment at the end of the lease. 

  • Hair and allergies: Dog hair is notoriously difficult to clean, especially in larger breeds known for excessive shedding. This can lead to health issues within the building, for guests, and even future renters who suffer from allergies. 

So, with so many drawbacks to allowing animals in rental properties, should you even consider it? Despite the fur and potential for some pet damage to the property, many property owners find it more profitable to offer pet-friendly rentals (than to exclude pets and their owners). 

The Benefits of Allowing Pets in Rental Properties 

If you're excluding pet-owning renters, you're missing a vast pool of high-quality renters!

Some of the additional benefits of allowing pets in rental properties include: 

  • Pet owners make responsible renters who pay the rent on time and care for the property. It also makes for a happier and healthier renter who will go the extra mile to ensure the property is in excellent condition.  

  • Allowing pet-owning renters in your property can lead to longer-term renters. This is because once renters have found a pet-friendly space, they are more likely to stay put. 

  • It creates a happier renting environment with a homely feeling to the space. This leads to more positive relationships between the renter and the property owner. 

  • You're accessing a more diverse renter pool! Millennials are the age group with the highest pet ownership rate. They're often responsible pet owners that make excellent tenants. 

  • Built-in property protection. Some pets, such as large breeds of dogs, can even protect your property and deter any criminal damage or theft! 

Property managers can tell you that, in most cases, the "pros" outweigh the "cons" of allowing pets when it comes to retaining quality renters and boosting ROI

What to Consider When Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property 

Of course, some limits and strategies must be in place to alleviate potential risks when opening your rental property to pet-owning renters. 

A child with a dog

Take a look at some of the steps below to ensure the property (and you) are covered in case of any issues. 

  • Create a pet policy for rental property: When searching for potential renters, include your specific criteria for pets, rules, deposits, fees, and any behavioral guidelines regarding pet ownership within the property. Be sure to follow up with a pet screening process to confirm that the information shared is accurate.

  • Be clear about the pets you will and won't allow in the property. This decision-making can be based on size, weight, or even types of pets and breeds. Ensure that the pets are vaccinated, and the owner has all legally required documentation regarding their animal. 

  • Keep track of the rules and enforce them. Outline penalties for renters who have lied or brought in a pet without permission.

  • In place of a pet fee or additional deposit, consider a higher rental rate to offset any damage or issues the pet may cause. Pet owners will be more willing to pay a slightly higher rate for the right to be in a space that allows their pets. 

Finally, remember that a service animal or support animals are not pets. Rental property owners must permit these animals in their properties even if they have a no-pet policy. 

If you're still not sure about whether you should allow pets in your rental property, reach out to the best property management Coastal Virginia offers, like Osprey Property Management. We've got the tools and strategies to help you find the right renters (and pets) for your property. 

Allowing Pets in Rentals is Good For Your Bottom Line

By opening your investment property to pets, you're making one of the best decisions regarding the long-term overall happiness of future renters (and your long-term goals). You're also creating a much wider renter pool to find the perfect residents for your space. 

If you need a helping hand with the resident and pet screening process or are unsure whether this approach is right for you, reach out to the team at Osprey Property Management. We can help at every step, ensuring you find the right renters and furry friends for your property. 

Learn more about getting the most out of your rental properties with our free resource, the "Expert Guide to Rental Property Management."

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