Many apartment and home rental units are going pet-friendly, instead of pet-free.
For many years, our four-legged friends were foes of landlords, mainly due to the perceived extra cost involved in cleaning up rentals after pets and their owners moved out. Changing markets, however, have caused many property owners to rethink their policy on renting to pet owners. Many apartment and home rental units are going pet-friendly, instead of pet-free. Renting to pet owners is a great way to open up your revenue streams, and though it’s not without its potential pitfalls, you may find that renting to pet owners is a lot less hassle than you might imagine.
4 Reasons for Pet-Friendly Property Management
1. A LOT of People Own Pets
Quick: check your social media. We’ll wait…
Just look at all those great pictures and videos of pets of all shapes and sizes! Now look at each of these pet owners as a potential tenant that is automatically disqualified because they love their animals. Truth is, you’re not left with a lot.
As a landlord, you want the widest and deepest pool of possible renters. According to The Humane Society, 72% of pet owners rent their homes. With 43.3 million dogs and 36.1 million cats out there, that’s a huge chunk of the rental market. Therefore, reaching out to pet owners can yield more interest in your rental property. Pet owners are looking for rental properties, and though they’re a large percentage of the market, pet owners rarely experience acknowledgment or targeted advertising. Taking the time to do so will ensure your property stands out from the rest.
2. A Lot of People with Money Own Pets
Pet owners are often some of the most stable renters. Affording a pet means your renter has enough income to pay for pet food and supplies, plus regular veterinarian checkups. The perceived difficulty of finding a new apartment also means renters with pets are more likely to stick with their current landlord, rather than run the risk of having to give up their precious pet.
3. A Lot of Responsible People Own Pets
Renters with pets are also more willing to accept higher rents because of their pets. Some property owners charge a flat fee for all pets, while others charge on a per-pet basis. Renters know they’re likely to pay a premium on their rent, so they’re already prepared to pay.
4. Pet People Attract Pet People
When you offer pet-friendly renting, you should showcase it as a property feature. Pet owners often want to meet other pet owners—so they’ll help fill your unit vacancies for you. Nice! Take advantage of these property management marketing trends and designate one of your buildings as a pet-friendly, pet-encouraged building. For example, if you have property near a dog park or near a great place for dog walking, advertise it! Now you’re building a community, rather than just trying to rent out space in a building. Today’s renters are drawn to community building.
Bonus: Pet owners have lower stress levels because of the affection and care that their relationship with their pet provides. Unstressed renters pass less stress onto their landlords. Pass it on.
Why Renting to Pet Owners MIGHT be a Bad Idea
Yes, renting to pet owners may mean a bit more attention to maintenance. There could potentially be messes to clean up and damage to fix. However, research has actually shown that renting to pet owners does not result in additional financial strain on the building owner.
Prevention is key. If you’ve already got a schedule for preventative maintenance, you can add spot checks to the rotation. Be sure your pet deposit requirement covers any special concerns you may have about your properties.
If cleaning up after pets is your personal nightmare, keep in mind there are plenty of pets that live in cages, aquariums, and other enclosures that aren’t quite as messy—so offer your tenants those options as well.
There may be other hidden costs on the administrative side of allowing pets in your building. Be sure your building follows all local ordinances when it comes to pets. You may also have to review your insurance policies for gaps in coverage. Advise your renters to look over their renter’s insurance for coverage information, too.
…and then there’s the possibility of noise. Pet owners may think their charges are flawless, but a barking dog moving in next door can cause tensions between renters. Noise complaints and bad behavior can drive otherwise good tenants bad or even out of your building. Again, prevention is the key. Set clear guidelines. Think about how to resolve conflicts between tenants ahead of time, rather than at 2am when there’s a mess to clean up.
Consider Pet-Friendly Renting
Pet owners make up a large potential renter pool. Appealing to them can make filling vacancies easier, but a change in policy should be made thoughtfully. More renters want buildings with pet-friendly rules. Pet owners are often quality, stable renters who want to settle into a building for a while. They understand that owning a pet can be expensive and why a landlord charges a premium for pet rent. While renting to pet owners can sometimes mean more upkeep, if you stay ahead of the curve on your preventative maintenance and potential tenant conflict, you’ll be a much happier landlord. Keep your options open, but be sure you make an informed decision on pet-friendly renting.
***Check out these additional pet-friendly resources for property owners and managers from The Humane Society.