When talking with other landlords, I, Mark Roemer, usually get asked about whether or not I allow pets in my apartments. For me, it depends on the location and the type of apartment I am renting. For some landlords, it is a full stop even to discuss pets in the apartment. Personally, I feel that the topic is in dire need of discussion.
Throughout this blog, I am going to be discussing reasons for and against allowing your tenants to keep pets. As a landlord, you will have to decide to allow them or not. It is my goal to cover the topic entirely so that you can make a well-informed decision. So, let’s not muck about and get right down to it.
To start, you can charge higher rent. There are multiple reasons for this, but the number one reason is that your property may be a rare gem. Another reason is that pets have the possibility of causing damage and creating more work for you once the tenant moves out. The more work you have to do to make your apartment ready for the next tenant, the more it will cost you. Therefore, you will want to cover yourself to make sure that you are not using money from your pocket to accommodate your tenants.
Second, allowing pets can make for happier tenants. It has been well documented that pets have a calming effect on people. Having pets in and around the apartment complex can make for satisfied tenants. Apartments are notorious for not feeling like a real home. The reasons are extensive, but one of the main ones is the lack of pets. It seems that every house in America has a pet of some sort.
Conversely, not many apartments do. The reason for this is usually due to landlords not accepting pets but can be a result of not enough room. If you are living in a small apartment, there is not much room for a big dog or a bunch of cats. In either case, the lack of pets makes people feel less happy.
Third, landlords that allow pets report that they have a higher number of renewals. What this means is that the apartments that are available to have pets tend to keep tenants longer than apartments that do not. If a tenant can have all the comforts of home without having to buy one, they may want to rent from you longer. Another reason that they may stay is due to the scarcity of apartments that allow pets. If the tenant likes to keep pets, they may not want to have the ability to leave for another apartment. This keeps them in the apartment and keeps you from having to re-rent the unit.
Last, but certainly not least, you will have a larger tenant pool. Apartments that limit or forbid pets on the premises, eliminate at least 30% of the potential renters. Depending on the time of year, this can be a detriment to the business. Take, for example, if you are trying to rent in the winter. There are not many people trying to get an apartment this time of year. Therefore, if you don’t allow pets, you may have to wait until summer to fill your vacancy. Just think of all the months of not having rent coming in for that unit. You will have to cover all the costs associated with that unit, and that can hurt the bottom line.
Now that we know the pros, it is time to discuss the cons. Let’s get started with the number one reason most landlords don’t allow pets – property damage. Depending on the type of unit you have, pets can cause a considerable amount of damage. This can be anything from hardwood floors and carpets to walls and balconies. It would be nearly impossible to recover the loss from a tenant. The reason is that you are likely charging them extra, and you made them pay a security deposit. If you were to take them to court, it would probably be ruled in favor of the client due to these reasons. Likewise, you could never charge enough rent or make a tenant pay enough a security deposit to renovate the property entirely. It would be too high, and you would never rent the property.
Almost just as bad as damage is my next reason – odor. When a pet is not properly taken care of, they can stink up the place. This can be anything from urine smell to mating smells. In either case, you could run into problems with other tenants. They will not want to live with a scent that they can’t do anything about. Therefore, they will likely move out. Any prospective tenant that comes will take one sniff of that smell and be gone.
Finally, pets can be a liability not only to your property but to other tenants. You do not know the demeanor of the pet you are allowing in your apartments. Therefore, if you happen to have a tenant that brings a vicious pet, you could wind up being sued. If that dog or cat hauls off and bites someone, you could be legally responsible. My suggestion is to meet the pet before agreeing to allow it on the property. If you find its demeanor to be suitable, then I think it would be fine.
Allowing pets or not is always a hot button topic for most landlords. I, Mark Roemer, happen to love animals. So, depending on the place I am renting, I have no problems allowing my tenants to bring their pets along. When I am looking over the property, it is nice to see cats, dogs, birds, and even the occasional pig. Yes, one of my tenants asked if they could be allowed to keep a pig. At the end of the day, the decision will be entirely up to you. I hope that I have provided you with enough information to make an educated decision.