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It’s a question that every landlord has considered at one point or another: should you allow pets in your rental properties? There is no clear answer to the pet policy debate. One common refrain we see among landlords is that it’s not the pets that cause the problems – it’s the pets’ owners. While we certainly understand that viewpoint, several variables can go into this decision for individual landlords.
But first, if you would like to build a savings fund specifically for potential pet damages on your properties, click the link below to book a free strategy call to learn how you can use your existing equity to save money.
You risk narrowing your market
One thing to remember, perhaps above all else, is that you are significantly limiting your potential tenants if you restrict or ban pets through a no-pet policy. This might not be an issue for landlords in hotter markets, like major cities, but for other landlords in more rural or less popular areas, this can be a huge factor. A property that does not allow pets runs the risk of standing unoccupied for periods – every landlord’s nightmare.
A vacant property is earning you no money and costing you in maintenance and utility fees, something to consider when deciding on your pet policy. Pets are more common than ever, and for some renters the are their only companions. Allowing pets not only diversifies and expands your pool of potential renters but is also a sign of compassion and empathy that many potential tenants will greatly appreciate.
The battle of scents
One of the issues that many landlords cite when saying they don’t allow pets is lingering smells. While this is certainly a risk that you can run, there are ways to combat this very real issue. You can change out carpets after extended stays, seal hardwood floors or use products like OdorXit to help minimize the potential smells that come with pet ownership. This resolves the problem without worrying about a pet policy.
A costly replacement like wood floors as a result of pet ownership is exceedingly rare. Rest assured that it will likely not lead to any major renovation projects if you allow tenants to keep pets. Typically, hardwood floors can also be encapsulated to deal with the unlikely event of lingering odour.
Protect your property
One thing that you can also consider is having a pet policy in place. Trying to limit pets by sound or size can be a way to make sure that you are keeping neighbouring tenants happy and reducing the risk of conflict. The other nice thing about a pet policy is that it’s entirely up to you. You can be as flexible or as restrictive as you like and do what you think is necessary to protect your investment.
Having a clear pet policy for renters allows them time to prepare and make sure that they are informed before they contact you about your property. One way to protect your property and ensure that tenants take your pet policy seriously is to introduce something like a monthly fee or a pet deposit. This can ensure that pet owners are acting responsibly and that they understand the financial ramifications if they do not take steps to protect your property.
However, sometimes you are not allowed to charge extra as part of your pet policy – if you are allowed a pet policy at all.
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Check with insurance
Another thing you might want to consider is that some insurance carriers do not cover instances related to damage caused by pets. It varies from company to company, so be sure you do your research before proceeding. It might be time to find a new insurance carrier if you’re finding their policy is forcing you to limit your applicant pool.
Additionally, stay on top of local and municipal regulations. Some places do not allow specific types of pets due to previous incidents within those areas or threats to local wildlife. Do your homework and make sure that you comply with all of these requirements.
Many landlords insist on personally meeting tenants before they rent to them, which is a wise decision. Nothing can replace interpersonal contact and you want to make sure that you are getting a good feeling from a tenant (and vice versa). You will probably ask them some basic questions about their living habits and so forth, and it’s a great way to put a name with a face.
Something you might want to also consider is including pets in these interviews. If tenants have feathered, furry or finned friends, ask them to bring them along. You’ll get a much better sense of everyone who is moving in. It can go a long way toward setting everyone’s minds at ease.
For example, Newfoundland dogs can be enormous – often weighing in at more than 100 pounds. They sound like they’d be terrors in a property, but the opposite is true. They tend to be big teddy bears who are lazy couch potatoes and rarely bark, but the physical description of them is likely enough to scare some landlords. Keep an open mind and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised when you meet a pet.
More renewed leases
Since many landlords do not allow pets, you are putting yourself in a desirable position if you do. It can be a pain for pet owners to find a landlord that allows pets, so you are positioning yourself for long-term tenants if you are one of the ones who does allow them. Renewing might just be preferable to finding another pet-friendly apartment, so you can ensure your property is the clear choice of allowing pets in your units.
Ultimately, your pet policy boils down to your personal preferences and comfort levels. However, there are several benefits to allowing pets in properties that might not immediately meet the eye. You can open your units up to families and senior citizens who want to stay for the long-term because you are known as an accommodating landlord who is willing to work with them. There are also potential revenue-generating benefits as well, in the form of pet deposits and fees when allowed as part of a pet policy. Ultimately, choosing to allow pets in your rental properties can pay very real dividends.
If you would like to build a savings fund specifically for potential pet damages on your properties, click the link below to book a free strategy call to learn how you can use your existing equity to save money.