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Just for Property Managers

By Amber

Residents with pets are an important sector of the renting population, but making your property available to animals carries its own set of risks.

Read on for the pros and cons of renting to residents with pets.

Allowing pets increases your resident pool
Most pet owners are responsible, committed “parents” of their furry friends and are willing to pay extra to find good housing that will accept their dog or cat. Making your property pet-friendly means making it generally more resident-friendly.

Pet damage can be assessed and addressed
Of course, every property owner fears that damage from a pet will exceed what they might be able to recoup from the pet deposit, creating a losing proposition.

Pets left alone too often are certainly linkable to scratched doors, floors and walls, soiled carpets, and broken screens. Pet owners who don’t properly manage barking and other annoying pet behaviors can cause headaches for you in the form of infuriated neighbors. Another concern is the danger that an aggressive pet might cause to residents, in addition to creating insurance issues.

Though all these negative outcomes of pet tenancy can happen, research shows that most damage from pet residents is not appreciably more than from those without pets — and damage from children often rivals that of pets! So before you decide to bar the door to pet owners, consider whether arming yourself with good questions and strong policies might be enough protection to take the risk.

Pets can be screened
As you would reasonably screen your human residents, there are lots of ways to get information about your potential animal residents by requesting or even requiring “pet resumes” which are recommendations from prior landlords and neighbors, as well as health, vaccination and even disciplinary training records.

Ensure your pet policies are clear
Creating a clearly articulated and visible set of pet policies is the best way to protect your property, keep the peace and stop any problems before they can start. A pet agreement should be signed by all residents, so that those who move in without pets know what to expect if they should choose to own one down the line.

In the agreement, list specifically what kinds of pets are allowed, how many, and any weight limits or banned breeds. You’ll also want to state specific behavioral requirements from pet owners, such as cleaning up after their pet during walks or other outdoor time, keeping dogs on leashes, and keeping their pets quiet.

Your pet agreement should also detail what kinds of things constitute pet damage versus regular wear and tear on a rental property, including a charge for the presence of fleas at move-out. Be aware what your state allows, as far as the amount of a pet deposit. Some states have caps on the amount of deposit that can be charged to cover types of damage.

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