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Should you rent to pet owners and tips to prepare your rental property for pets

If you are considering renting your property to tenants with pets, we discuss some steps you can take to protect your house and yourself.

Author HomeKasa
Reading Time 8 minutes
Category Landlords
Updated on

We understand the daunting challenges for landlords while renting their property to the pet owners. Many landlords are reluctant about allowing pets in the rental property. Some tenants have set up a bad name for every pet-owning renters by allowing their pets to damage the valuable property of a landlord. However, a majority of pet owners take good care of the rental property. [Read about how to find an ideal tenant for your property]

Sixty-seven percent of Americans, about 87 million families, own pets. There are about 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. About 90% of renters want a pet-friendly place. They are looking for rental properties that allow pets and have amenities. By allowing pets in your property, you can make it immediately more desirable for a larger target market - it opens you up to a large number of potential tenants, which ultimately increases the demand for your property.

Read our tips on tenant screening

Opening up your property to renters with pets can bring other benefits too. The landlords can receive premium rents on their property either as higher rents or as extra pet fees. [For legislature information readout should you increase rent for your investment property ] Furthermore, allowing tenants with pets will establish a good relationship from the start. Many pet-owning tenants are responsible and tend to stick around longer because it is difficult for them to find a pet-friendly rental. However, pets can cause damages to the property. By preparing the house properly with durable materials, you can reduce the damages and the expenses you incur.

Once you have decided to open up your property for pets, as a landlord, here are some recommended adjustments to the property to make it a pet-friendly space:

Tiles and vinyl flooring are the most durable flooring option for pets. Luxury vinyl floors are picking up in popularity due to their durability. Carpeted and wooden floors are a big no for a rental property with pets. Carpets can be easily torn and wooden floors can be scratched. High-gloss floors show scratches easily as opposed to matt floors. Also, ask your tenants to use area rugs in high-traffic areas to reduce wear and tear. Floors can be expensive - we recommend considering this only when you are changing floors during a renovation or updating between tenants.

We all know that pets dash straight to the door when they are excited to step outside or when they sense someone is at the door. This can cause damage to your doors. Cover the base of doors with durable and easy to replace material such as plastic to prevent these inevitable scratches. Tap plastics are affordable options.

It is not uncommon to see pets sitting by the window to observe passersby. Real wood and faux wood blinds are much sturdier than aluminum or vinyl. Larger slats allow the blinds to remain tilted open to give a larger viewing area for pets. It helps to prevent them from slipping in an attempt to get a good view. Consider installing vertical blinds instead of horizontal ones, so the pets can enjoy a good look without causing any damage to your window treatments. Roller shades are also a good window treatment for pets as they can simply slip behind it to see outside.

Gardens can be hard to manage in a rental property with pets. You can prevent damage to the garden by fencing the yard. Also consider including a condition in the lease, which states that the garden is the responsibility of the tenant. This will give you peace of mind that you are not going to invest needless amounts on the maintenance of your rental property.

Use soundproofing material in your property so that the neighboring houses won't get affected by the pets' noises. This may or may not be financially viable for you. You can ask the tenants to soundproof the pet's cage. We have more tips on this for renters.

A landlord can be responsible if he or she is found negligent in the proper maintenance of a property. The same is also true if the landlord fails to provide the tenants with proper security. Liability coverage may come in handy to pay your expenditure if you are declared legally responsible after someone is injured on your property, possibly by their pet.

Some landlords hesitate to rent their property to tenants with dogs. It is a very rare case when the landlord is responsible for injuries inflicted by renters dog. If a seemingly friendly dog of tenant bites someone, the landlord is not accountable for this injury.

A landlord is liable if:

  • He knew that the dog was wild, but he/she didn't take action.
  • Harbored that tenant's dog and had control over it when the dog bit someone.

Pet deposit is in accordance with your state's law; however, charging between $200 and $500 is reasonable for a one-time pet fee. A pet fee is just the one-time admission price to have a pet in your rental property. Remember, this fee does not cover any damages caused by the pet in your property.

Some landlords also charge a fixed dollar per month for pets. For example, it is not uncommon to charge $50 per pet per month. While some cities allow this, others may not. Check the latest laws.

Service and support animals do not fall under the usual category of pets. They are more like a medical aid for the landlord or tenant. Federal law makes these exceptions to service and support animals:

  • Landlords are not allowed to prohibit any service or support animals from living in the house.
  • Also, they cannot charge a pet security deposit or pet rent for such animal(s).
  • Landlords are not allowed to imply pet policy rules like weight or breed restrictions on these animals.

The landlord can deny a service or support animal in the following condition:

  • If the landlord lives in the same house, and they or any of their family members is allergic to that animal
  • If that particular animal has threatened someone aggressively

You want to find the ideal tenant. As a responsible landlord, you should discuss the following points with the pet owners to avoid any future difficulty:

  • Ask for registered pets
  • Check references from their previous pet-friendly landlord property
  • Meet the pet(s) that will be living in your property. This helps to ensure that they are well-behaved
  • Decide if you want to set limits on the pet weight and breed. Studies show that some breeds attack more than others.

The best way to reduce your expenses from any destruction is to conduct a comprehensive inspection. We highly recommend that you use our free online move-in and move-out checklist to document the condition of your property when the tenant moves-in.

Take photographs of doors, gardens, and screens before renting your property and attach them to the checklist. This gives you evidence to fight back in case if a tenant contests damage. This visual evidence will clearly depict the condition of your rental property at the move-in time to highlight any damages caused by the pet-owning tenants. Inspect your property to catch issues early.

HomeKasa makes it easy to manage all your properties from one place. You can screen tenants, use online tools to document the condition of your property, collect rents, pay HOA, renew insurance, and more. It's free, get started now.

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