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Pros and Cons of Pet-Friendly Rentals
As a real estate investor, you’re nearly as likely to run into households with pets as you are with families with children at home. Unless your property is age-restricted, you can’t turn away children, but landlords and property managers can use their discretion on pet policies.
Good reasons exist on both sides of the question about whether or not to allow them.
A Real Estate Investor’s List of Pros and Cons for Pet-Friendly Rentals
The Case for Pet-Friendly Rentals
- Broader market. Almost 40 percent of the households in the U.S. have a cat or a dog. Compare that to the 47 percent of households with children in 2012. By allowing pets you may be able to select from a wider tenant pool.
- Higher rent rates. Ask your property manager to compare the monthly rents are for homes that don’t allow pets and those that do. You may find that you could increase the rate based on supply-and-demand conditions. If you don’t have a management company, check out the for rent listings in the paper, at Realtor sites online, and Craigslist to find properties similar to yours. You’ll learn the monthly rents and deposit amounts for properties based on whether or not it’s a pet-friendly rental.
- Longer tenancy. Because their choices are limited, tenants with pets tend to stay put longer. As a property owner, you benefit by having low turnover, a steady income stream, no marketing costs, and reduced maintenance expenses.
See also How Longer Term Leases Save Investors Money
- Everything is transparent. Prohibiting pets sets the stage for tenants bringing them in behind your back. They may have myriad reasons for adopting a pet, and if confronted, they may move out rather than get rid of their furry friend. Tenants who are hiding a pet may not want any kind of maintenance services in case the animal is found and reported to you or your property management company.
The Case Against Pet-Friendly Rentals
- Damages. Dogs are more likely to damage property than cats, especially in the yard where they may dig holes or burn the lawn from waste products. Most pet owners budget for pet deposits, along with security and cleaning.
- Noise. Listening to barking dogs or shrieking birds nearby disturbs the peace of everyone within earshot.
- Odors. Pet waste does not smell good, and if the owner’s aren’t disciplined about disposing of it, the smells can get out of hand. It’s especially serious indoors where the odors can permeate the walls and floors, long after the tenant has vacated the property. Enzymatic cleaners are available that will neutralize these odors, but they do take time to penetrate.
- Insects. Fleas aren’t out of the question with furred pets, and flies and roaches enjoy the same food and water as pets do. Of the three, flies are easiest to get rid of, followed by fleas, and lastly, roaches.
- Allergies. Landlords take a risk when they accept pets because animal allergies. Although rare, they do occur. Of all the reasons not to accept pets, allergies may be the least important since there are cleaning services certified by the Allergies and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA). This group has high standards for approving products and contractors. They will remove the all allergic particles from an indoor environment, from carpeting to drapes to the hard surfaces. You may also be able to attract future tenants who suffer from airborne allergies in the future by using these specialized cleaning services.
See also 4 Ways to Decrease Maintenance Costs
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