Table of Contents
As the saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend. So, naturally as a real estate investor you are bound to find tenants who would like to find a comfortable place to live for both them and their pets.
So, what should you do when a pet owner comes to look at your rental property? What are the pros and cons of renting to these tenants? And what are you able to do as the property owner?
Let’s take a look.
Pros of Renting to Pet Owners
Renting your investment properties to pet owners come with a variety of advantages that you can experience.
Easier to Fill Vacant Properties
By advertising your rental properties as pet-friendly, you increase the number of potential tenants who will come to look at your property. This will often lead to a higher volume of rental applications and greatly reduced vacancy rates.
Good Pet Owners Make Responsible Tenants
Another key advantage is the fact that good pet owners often make reliable tenants for your properties. After all, pet ownership comes with a lot of responsibility. This means that frequently, pet owners are going to be more careful and mindful with your property to avoid causing concerns with their pet.
Pet Owners Frequently Stay Longer
Since most apartments and rental units are not well suited for pet owners, whether due to the lack of a yard or noise from neighbours, offering a property well suited for pet ownership will often lead to longer tenancies. Considering the fact, the turnover periods can often be incredibly costly for real estate investors, having the extra incentive for tenants to stay is certainly beneficial.
Cons of Renting to Pet Owners
Despite the advantages of allowing pet owners to occupy your rental units, there will always be some downsides to these situations. However, it is important to know that despite the risk of these problems arising, they are not guaranteed and can be avoided if other screening measures are taken into account.
Pets May Cause Property Damage
Some pets are rambunctious and poorly behaved, which may result in property damages. These can range from scratches on floors, walls, and furniture, to torn carpets, to damages to the yard and landscaping. Naturally, these concerns are reduced with well-behaved pets, but the expected wear and tear your units will experience are often greater in pet-occupied units.
Potential for Noise Complaints
Barking is one of the leading complaints levied against dog owners. Whether the dog is simply excited and playing or is alone in the unit trying to call out for attention, barking can be very disruptive for neighbours looking to enjoy some peace and quiet. These complaints will often become more severe if the noise is occurring in the middle of the night when people are trying to sleep.
Odour and Allergy Risk
Foul pet odours are one of the leading concerns that you will face as a property owner. Scents left behind on carpets and other surfaces are usually difficult to remove and require a great deal of time to manage. While landlords often do not end up tackling these odours until after a tenant has moved on, they can become an immediate issue if the unit is in a shared property and the smell begins bothering your other tenants.
As well, your other tenants may suffer from pet allergies. In this case you must make it clear to the tenant that they will need to be mindful of their pet to avoid aggravating their neighbour’s allergies. This could include avoiding shared laundry machines and helping their pets to shed their fur outside where the hair cannot reach their neighbours.
Discover Residential Property Management With This Step By Step Guide
What Are You Prohibited from Doing as The Property Owner?
In Ontario, pet owners have specific rights and protections that prevent property owners from behaving in certain ways towards them. So, as an investor you must be aware of what you are not permitted to do in the event you are renting to a pet owner.
Evicting Tenants for Pet Ownership or Restricting Ownership
In Ontario, it is illegal to include a ‘no pets’ provision in your lease agreement. This is due to section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act. As a result, regardless of whether or not you include the provision in your lease, it would immediately be considered void once the tenant has moved in.
This means as the property owner you cannot legally evict a tenant on the principal of pet ownership or prevent them from getting a pet once they have already begun renting.
Raising Rent on Pet Owners
In the 2011 case Drewlo Holdings Inc. v. Weber, it was determined that landlords cannot use contractual stipulations to harm or force tenants out of their properties due to pet ownership. This includes raising rent on pet owners to account for their pets.
Charging a ‘Pet Deposit’
In Ontario, landlords are not permitted to ask for any payment up front aside from first and last month’s rent. This includes security deposits and pet deposits. However, if a tenant offers a security deposit for any damages their pet may cause, this may be accepted and cannot be taken back by the tenant.
What Are You Allowed to Do as the Property Owner?
Despite the limitations present for property owners when it comes to restricting and limiting pet ownership in their units, there are some situations where the property owner has more freedom to act against having pets in their units.
Prohibiting Pets from Condos
The only instance where a landlord is allowed to explicitly prohibit pets from a rental property is in the case of condos. Due to the Condominium Act, condominiums in Ontario are free to create their own internal bylaws and regulations, including a ban on occupants living with pets. If this is the case, it must be stated in the condominium’s declaration.
Evict Tenants with Troublesome Pets
If a tenant’s pet is causing problems within your unit, regardless of if it is by causing damage, creating odours, or triggering a neighbour’s allergies, the property owner is allowed to evict the tenant. However, before they do this, the landlord must provide notice and reasonable opportunity for the tenant to address and correct the concerns before following through on the eviction.
If you would like to learn more about real estate investing and the various ins and outs of your investment properties, feel free to contact us at LendCity. Our team of experts will gladly answer any questions you may have and will provide you with the professional service you need to continue investing and build meaningful wealth. To contact us, you can call 519-960-0370 or visit us online at LendCity.ca Alternatively, click the link below to book a free strategy call with our team at LendCity.