Saturday, March 16, 2013
We are asked almost every time we bring on a new property, "Should we allow pets?” The answer really differs from property to property and from owner to owner.
Statistic show that 50-60 percent of potential renters have pets. So, statistically, over half of your potential customers have a pet of some kind. While allowing pets does bring with it an inherent risk, there are benefits as well. Let’s look at both.
Risk: While you could break it down and find several 'risks" that come with pets the main concern for most property owners is damage. Even the most well behaved pet can cause damage to a property. "Accidents" happen and an animal that is not well behaved can chew or scratch their way to $1000s in damage.
What to do: When selecting your tenant you should be just as critical with their pets. If your potential tenant has an animal, screen them as well. Meet the pet at their current home. While you are there check for damage; take a quick look at door jams, carpet, and the yard. How that pet is in their current home is most likely how they will be in yours. This is also a great way to get a sneak peak as to how your tenant keeps their home.
If you decide to allow a pet, CHARGE A DEPOSIT!! Pet deposits range from almost nothing to $1000, depending on the home and potential damage/risk. You may also choose to charge a "pet rent." This is simply a monthly amount the tenant pays for having the pet, usually around $50 per month. Choose a deposit/rent that makes you, the home owner, comfortable. Most tenants will have no problem paying, especially if their pets are well behaved.
Something that may make your future decision easier is making your rental more "pet friendly". One way to do this is to install laminate floors instead of carpet next time it’s time to replace the carpets. Laminate floors come in many designs (the majority look like wood floors) that tenants really enjoy and are easier to clean than carpets. With carpets one pet accident or red wine spill can cost lots of money. Laminate floors allow you to just clean up the mess and move on.
Benefits: Many times the benefits are not considered for allowing pets but this could be a mistake. From experience we have found that responsible pet owners make for great tenants. They tend to pay on time and keep their home in good order. Also a tenant with pets will often stay longer as not everyone allows pets and it’s harder for them to find another home that will work for their family. Lastly, you may be able to get more rent either from a pet rent or just advertising for a little more and putting in your ad “pets allowed.”
No matter what you decide, you as the property owner have to be comfortable and understand the potential out come.