One major decision for rental property owners is whether or not to allow pets. The debate over pet ownership has steadily gained momentum, with more and more renters looking for pet-friendly rentals. For the most part, it is a personal preference for the landlord to offer pet-friendly rentals or not—but it could be a mistake not allowing pets.
Our Jacksonville property management experts have insights about some of the benefits (and drawbacks) of allowing pets, how to structure a lease to deal with pets in the home, and what it could mean to your bottom line. Keep reading to learn more!
The Drawbacks of Allowing Pets in Rental Properties
Whichever way you are leaning regarding pets in your rental property, investors must weigh the pros and cons. While there are many benefits (which we'll get to), let's start with some of the drawbacks of allowing pet-owning renters.
Destruction to Property
A property management expert can tell you that not all pets are created equal (and there are rarely perfect pets)! Many pet owners are responsible and keep their pets from destroying a residential property. Still, a rental owner has to be prepared for renters that aren't as vigilant with their animals. As a landlord, property managers recommend setting aside some of the pet deposit for pet-caused property maintenance issues and damage to walls and doors, blinds and curtains, or backyards and fences.
Hard-to-Clean Stains and Odors
Even the most disciplined pets have accidents inside from time to time. The stains and odors left behind on carpets and floors can be hard to clean and may require complete replacement. Check with your Jacksonville property management company for more help with maintenance after an animal moves out.
What Are The Pros of Allowing Pets in Rental Properties?
Now let's look at some of the positive aspects of offering pet-friendly rentals! In most cases, investors that allow pets seen better ROIs and more long-term tenants.
Larger Pool of Tenants
Almost 70% of American households own a pet, including service animals. Pet owners need housing and appreciate it when property owners allow pets. Even though pet ownership can be more expensive when renting property, pet owners are hesitant to move into a new property if it has pet restrictions and must leave their pets behind. Property owners often find that allowing pets gives them more quality renters to choose from when filing a vacant rental unit.
In addition to higher monthly rent amounts for pet-friendly properties, most property managers also recommend higher pet deposits or fees for pet owners. These fees are not mandatory. However, they help offset the maintenance costs of cleaning and repairing the property when a pet moves out. It could also lead to an increase in ROI on the property.
Pet Owners Could Potentially Stay in the Home Longer
Pet owners don't like to upset their pets by changing houses every year. It's also difficult for many renters to find pet-friendly properties in Jacksonville. A property manager can tell you that if a pet-owning tenant finds a pet-friendly home in your real estate investment property, they are more likely to stay for several lease terms.
Tips for Residential Property Owners for Pet-Friendly Rentals
If you decide to allow pets in your rental property, consider the best pet policies before the new tenant moves in. Much like tenant screening, it is crucial to screen animals as well. Ask a few questions when screening potential pet-owning tenants, including:
- How many pets do you own?
- What are the breeds and sizes?
- Have you ever been in a situation where your animal has acted aggressively towards anyone or any other animal?
- Is the pet house trained?
- Does the pet get along with other people, other animals, and children?
- How old is the pet?
- How long have you owned the pet?
- Are you solely responsible for the pet?
- Is the pet updated on their vaccines?
Make these questions part of the application process to create a fair evaluation process for all potential renters and pets. Property managers also suggest requiring renter's insurance for pet owners. Insurance will typically take care of any instance if something bad happens, such as a dog biting or injuring someone on the property.
Discrimination Against An Emotional Support Animal is Illegal
Pet screening rules and deposits no longer apply if a renter has service dogs or an emotional support animal. To comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, landlords must allow residents to have a service animal in the rental, and these animals are not considered "pets." Contact your Jacksonville property manager to ensure you comply with state and federal law regarding emotional support animals.
A Jacksonville Property Management Company Makes Pet-Friendly Properties Profitable!
When offering pet-friendly rentals, make sure to market the properties appropriately when creating and posting a rental listing. While allowing pets could lead to some property damage after a tenant and their pet move in, it may also increase the demand for your rentals and boost your income! Spectrum Realty Services is here to help if you have questions about pet policies or how to offer a pet-friendly investment property successfully.
For more information, make sure to download a copy of our Tenant Screening Checklist to help you put the best tenants in your rental properties.