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Property Management Blog

Should You Allow Pets In Your Rental?

Nick Malesevich - Monday, December 18, 2017
Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental?

This is a common question many landlords ask themselves at least once in their time of owning and renting their property. There is no right or wrong answer and it can be an incredibly personal decision for many reasons. As with anything else, it makes a lot of sense to consider some of the facts before you make a decision. There are some common pros and cons that are related to allowing pets into your rental property.

By refusing pets, you are limiting your pool of potential residents by over half of the population. The 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, describes this as 84.6 million of American households! The US Census reports that there are 124.587 million households in America, so roughly 68% of them own a pet. The statistics become even more staggering when you consider that 48% of these households contain a dog and 38% contain a cat. As you can see, by clearly defining a no-pets policy, you are drastically limiting the number of desirable renters you have to choose from.

Another thing to consider, is that many people will still choose to have pets, even if you tell them not to.
Unfortunately, this means that you then have the consequence of animals in your rental unit, without any of the benefits of having them there. At Blue Frog Property Management, we require an increase of $35 a month in rent and an extra security deposit equal to half of the original deposit. This results in a $420 rent revenue increase in a year.

Increased resident retention and lower vacancy rates are two things talked about in Petfinder's Pet-Friendly Housing Study. In this study it was determined that tenants who lived in pet-friendly housing stayed on average 46 months instead of 18 months for those who do not live in pet-friendly housing. This statistic does not include people who kept pets kept against the wishes of the landlord, their average stay is closer to the 18 month average. The average vacancy rate for properties with a no-pets policy in place was determined to be about 14%, while those allowing pets had an average of 10% for their vacancy rates. It was also noted that landlords spent half the time marketing their property and received twice as many applications for their vacant pet-friendly units. Ultimately the time it took to rent a unit that was pet-friendly was 19 days on average compared to 29 for their no-pets counterpart. It is easy to see that with the above information that there are benefits to allowing your residents to have pets.

The most common reason why property owners are opposed to allowing pets is the damage that can be caused from them. I, personally, have experienced firsthand how detrimental an animal can be to a property. Cats can completely destroy screens and carpeting if they aren't declawed, and dogs have a natural need to chew that could lead to damage as well. The smell of cat or dog excrement in a carpet that is impossible to get out, without removing the carpet, sealing the floor, and replacing the entire carpet and padding is one that is hard to forget. However, this has not been the norm in my experience and there are exceptions to every possibility. The extra security deposit that Blue Frog expects from pet owners is an excellent safeguard to protect your property.

Dogs barking and birds squawking throughout the day or night will irritate neighbors in close proximity, especially if it happens at odd hours of the day or night. Unfortunately this is not something you will know until the resident has moved in to the unit, and the neighbors begin to complain. There are options to rental owners though, if this were to happen. Liability is another con that needs to be considered when allowing animals. Blue Frog does not allow breeds of dogs that are known to be aggressive and we limit the size of the dog to be 30 lbs or less. This decreases the likelihood of an incident taking place that you could be liable for.

All-in-all the decision to allow a pet is not something that should not be completely disregarded as an option for rental property owners. At the same time, Blue Frog completely understands if an owner decides that they just do not want to take the chances with having a recorded pet in the property or unit.

A Side-Note About Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals

Emotional Support Animals are  (ESA's) are not considered pets and are protected by the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act also prevents us from denying the rental of a unit to someone because they have this type of animal, even if the owner has a no-pet policy in place. To deny them would be discriminatory, and landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations for anyone with a disability. 

This means that by law, Blue Frog is unable to charge pet rent or an extra security deposit for an animal that has been determined to be and ESA or Service Animal.
We can, however, ask the resident to provide us with information from their doctor or therapist in regards to the animal status. We keep that information on file and easily accessible to both the resident and the owners through their portals. Resident's with ESA's or Service Animals are required to take care of your property and their animal to the same effect that anyone with a pet would, so Blue Frog makes sure the property is maintained inside and out by the resident.

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