Pet Friendly Rental Properties

Posted on 26th February 2017

Managing properties involves making countless decisions. One of the many choices you will make as a landlord or property management is whether you will allow pets within your rental properties. Many landlords chose not to welcome pets within their facilities to ensure that they minimize any potential damage; however, saying no to pets limits your rental pool and thus your potential income from your properties. Before choosing to say no to pets, be certain you are aware of the truth regarding pet-friendly properties.

 

Pros of Pet-Friendly Rentals:

 

  • Higher Renter Pool: Allowing renters with pets will expand your number of applicants and increase your ability to find tenants. This can not only diminish your potential turnover time, but can increase your chances of finding the best possible tenants. According to survey results from Apartments.com, the number of pet-owning renters increased from 43 percent to 72 percent. Even though the number of renters with pets is increasing rapidly, in another survey  conducted by Apartments.com, 60 percent of those responding said that they have struggled to find pet-friendly accommodations.

  • Increase Income: Pet-friendly rentals often generate more rental income per month due to fees and pet rents. An analysis done by HotPads found that pet-friendly units in San Francisco cost an average of 12% more than those that don’t allow pets. This did not including pet deposits or additional pet rent, which may be required on top of normal rent.

  • Reduce Turnover: Landlords who allow pets at their rental properties experience reduced turnover according to a study done by FIREPAW, Inc. The study found--according to landlord surveys--tenants who had pets were more like to stay longer by an average of 23 compared to 15 months. The study found that the difference was even more significant in tenant surveys; tenant reported staying an average of 46 months in pet-friendly vs 18 months for tenants in rentals that disallowed pets.

 

Top Reasons Landlords Forbid Pets:

 

Landlords surveyed by FIREPAW, Inc. claimed that pet damage, noise complaints and tenants conflicts, and insurance issues are the main reasons that pets are not allowed within their units. The interesting discovery FIREPAW, Inc. made was that many of these concerns raised by landlords were never personally experienced by the respondents.

 

Reducing Concerns About Allowing Pets in Rentals:

 

Average Costs of Pet Damage:

 

FIREPAW, Inc. looked deeper into the true costs of permitting pets within rentals. In the study, they found that 85% of landlords permitting pets reported having some amount of pet-related damage at one-point-or-another.  In most cases, the cost of damage was covered by the required pet deposit, meaning the owner experienced no real loss. This data suggests that there is little difference in damage between tenants with or without pets. The results found that the biggest differences in damage from tenants with pets and those without was under $40, with an average for $323 in damage for tenants without pets and average of $362 for tenants with pets.

 

Realities of Pet Complaints:

 

While many landlords site tenant complaints or noise disruption as a reason for pet prohibition, studies show this may not be cause for concern. An Apartments.com study found that three quarters of renters without pets said they either enjoy living in a pet-friendly building or do not have a specific preference. Moreover, many apartment buildings are finding that their renters enjoy having pets in the building, so-much-so that they are offering a building dog as an amenity.

 

True Cost of Insurance in Pet-Friendly Rentals:

 

The fear of large insurance increases might make a landlord resistant to welcoming pet owners and their furry friends, however, landlords only reported an average increase of $150 dollars on insurance premiums annually. Some insurances even offer landlord policies specifically to protect against pet damage. These specialized policies can increase premiums, but do ensure that your investment is truly protected, and these higher insurance premiums are typically outweighed by the increase in income from pet rent, overall rent differentials and pet fees.

 

Damage Risk Reductions for Rentals:

 

Unfortunately, in spite of landlord’s restrictions, many tenants chose to have a pet regardless of the lease restrictions. When tenants harbor pets illicitly, landlords receive none of the financial benefits of pet friendly units, but suffer all of the potential risks of having animals. With nearly 70 percent of renters housing pets, and pet-friendly rentals hard to come by, it’s not hard to assume that many of those renters are keeping their pets illegally.  

 

While surprising, this can mean that transitioning your properties to pet-friendly spaces can actually serve to mitigate risk. A good pet policy provides the foundation for charging more rent from all tenants, collecting a pet rent or an additional fee on top of the monthly rent, and asking for a pet deposit to cover any cleaning or damages.

 

Landlords can complete more than just a standard background and credit check for applicants, and then can do additional screening for pet owners.  Pet screening can include requiring applicants to submit references, vet records, obedience training certificates and proof of renters insurance with pet coverage. This can further lessen any risk involved with inviting pets into the premises.

 

In the end, it will always remain an owner’s decision to allow pets at a rental property. However, the potential for an increase in income and overall occupancy, in conjunction with the true costs of pet damage and potential tenant complaints, may mean that offering pet-friendly housing remains economically viable option that should be considered.

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