Is It Time To Accept Renters With Pets?

Should you allow your renters to have pets? A lot of landlords are worried about the potential damages caused by pets that get restless, lonely, or just aren't trained well. However, if you forbid pets from your property, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to increase your profits and fill your rental homes. Here's what you should consider.

1.) People in the U.S. love their pets.

A whopping 65% of U.S. households have a pet, with the majority owning either cats or dogs (or both). To put that in perspective, that's more than 79 million families that have a pet. That's a huge pool of potential renters to turn away. Plus, people spend a lot on their pets these days—consumer spending on pets in 2015 was estimated to be 25% higher than it was in just 2010, with more than $60 billion going to pet care. The trend is also toward "pet parenting" over "pet ownership," and 76% of people consider their pets to be part of the family. This indicates a ready-and-willing market that will cheerfully spend a little more to provide their pets with a decent place to live.

2.) You can charge more and still keep tenants.

One of the best reasons to allow pets, from a landlord's perspective, is that you can justify raising the rents on your properties in order to cover any potential pet damage and still attract a healthy flow of potential renters. Consider this: households with incomes over $100,000 per year are 2 times more likely to own a dog than households with only $30,000 in income per year. 

If you're willing to invest a little in amenities that appeal to your pet-owning renters, like a walking area, you can increase your rents to cover those costs as well. In addition, you can capitalize on the fact that your tenants are likely to stay with you longer, rather than try to find another place that accepts pets.

3.) You can reduce hidden liabilities.

Another benefit of having pet-friendly rentals is that you run less risk of someone sneaking a dog, cat, or some other animal into their place and playing "keep away" with your property manager. That means that you also run less risk of your property getting torn up by a bored cat that's locked in a bedroom all day or a frustrated dog that's being kept out of sight during daylight hours. If your residents want to add a pet to their lease, they can simply make a refundable deposit to cover any property damage done by the pet.

Talk the issue over with property management companies and see what suggestions or insights they offer about opening the door to renters with pets. Your property manager may even be able to make suggestions on how to craft a pet-friendly lease that still protects your interests as well.