Having a pet-friendly apartment and allowing tenants to have pets has both risks and rewards. However, with some ground rules and tenant screening practices, it is possible to connect with responsible pet owners.
According to pet ownership statistics from 2012, nearly 67 percent of American households have at least one dog or cat. Not allowing renters with pets reduces a landlord’s potential tenant pool by about two-thirds. Conversely, having a pet-friendly apartment and allowing pets could allow vacancies to be filled much faster.
But how to make a pet-friendly apartment and the entire property “pet friendly” in a way that protects and preserves the property and a landlord’s livelihood?
The following tips and ideas can assist with making a pet-friendly apartment and a property open to pets in a way that is fair to everyone involved – including the animals:
- Set Reasonable Limits
Ground rules should be set for properties and kept consistent for all renters. For example, one dog per unit could be the limit. Other landlords might consider a “total pounds” rule, meaning the weight of all pets combined may not exceed a certain limit.
It is advisable to require that pets stay up to date on their vaccinations for rabies and distemper. These shots are required by law in most states anyway, so it’s a good idea to enforce them.
- Spaying and Neutering
It is also reasonable to require that pets be spayed and neutered. This requirement will help to eliminate a number of undesirable behaviors, reducing the likelihood of property damage and liabilities. Animals that have been neutered are far less likely to urinate around the property and become aggressive or destructive.
- Pet Deposits
Requiring an additional security deposit when a renter has a pet is a good idea. Some landlords choose to make this pet security deposit non-refundable; however, not all states allow for this. Landlords should check the specific rules in their state before having a pet-friendly apartment.
- Screening Tenants
Screening tenants carefully and thoroughly can yield a wealth of valuable information. References should be collected from prior landlords. Character references can also be requested; garner permission for these persons to be contacted.
A professional tenant screening service can assist with checking an applicant’s credit history and criminal record. Insights into these areas can help determine if a potential tenant is likely to be a responsible pet owner – someone who will treat the property with respect.
Becoming a pet-friendly landlord and having a pet-friendly apartment can increase a rental business in positive ways if handled responsibly. Use these five tips to become a successful pet-friendly landlord.