It's official: America is a country of pet lovers. A staggering 70% of US households own a pet, according to the APPA National Pet Owners Survey for 2021-22. Unsurprisingly, dogs are the most popular choice, with cats coming in a close second.
This abundance of furry friends has left many landlords wondering whether they should allow pets in a rental property. Sure, there are some obvious downsides. But are those compelling enough to freeze out so many potential tenants?
Let's explore the question in more detail so you can make the right choice for your rental properties.
The Advantages of Allowing Animals in Rentals
If you allow animals in your rental properties, you automatically broaden their appeal. When potential tenants start searching for a place to call home, they'll no doubt filter results by whether they allow animals. In addition, by greenlighting pooches and kitties, you're likely to increase the number of requests for showings.
Another factor to consider is that animal owners often make great tenants. While not scientifically proven, some landlords have found that people with pets are more likely to take care of the property. In addition, they may be more scrupulous in obeying property rules than regular tenants.
Also, they'll be aware that any damage their fur baby causes will come out of their deposit. These tenants may be willing to pay a premium to secure a home for themselves and their doggos.
A Word on Support Animals
Every landlord knows about the Fair Housing Act (FHA) - a powerful piece of legislation that prevents discriminatory housing practices. This includes discriminating against support animals. So even if you decide to put a "no pets" clause in the lease, you'll probably be required to make reasonable accommodations for an assistance animal.
You may also not be able to charge pet fees for service animals. One of the benefits of working with a property manager is they can advise you on this kind of matter so you stay on the right side of the FHA.
The Disadvantages of Allowing Pets
The most obvious disadvantage of allowing pets is the damage they can cause. Especially in apartments, there's a high risk that, at some point, they will urinate indoors. Pet urine can damage flooring and furniture and harm the occupants' health.
Dogs and cats are also likely to scratch floors and baseboards, which could be costly to fix.
The other major con is the noise they make. A barking dog can quickly lead to poor relations with neighbors and complaints that you, as a landlord, will have to deal with. Some dogs can be vicious, so it's important to have insurance in place in case an incident occurs, and you find yourself held liable.
The Verdict: Pets in a Rental Property
There's no getting away from the fact that allowing pets in a rental property makes it easier to find tenants. But you need to balance that pro with the potential complications that can arise.
At Veno Properties, we're here to provide advice and property management services in the New York Capital Region. We can help you find the right tenants and take care of your property, whether you allow pets or not!
Call us at (518) 400-0706 or reach out online today!