The most common question asked by prospective applicants is “is this home pet-friendly?” For many, that is the deciding factor. Many animals are now viewed as family members. Leaving them behind is unthinkable.

Assistance Animals

It is important to remember that “Pets” and “Assistance Animals” are not the same thing. A pet is, well, a pet. An assistance animal is there for support. In the eyes of the law, it is not an animal, but more of a wheelchair. Treating an assistance animal as a pet is a foolproof way for a landlord to find themselves in court.  

Drawbacks to the Pet-Friendly Rental

While the pros are quite substantial, so are the cons. Nobody has anything against the pet owners, but sometimes, most of the time, the pets themselves have a knack for making trouble. Landlords and Property Manager can be opening the door for a little extra trouble when they decide to allow pets. A few of the cons are:

  • Dogs may threaten, annoy, and sometimes bite neighbors and/or other pets.
  • If the renter doesn’t clean up after their pets, the pet may cause odors and/or damage the home.
  • Barking. The nightmare of any landlord or Property Manager is being called in the middle of the night. The frustrated neighbor then tells you that your tenant’s dog is barking and has been for the last few, well, hours. Never fear, this will also be the night that your tenants choose to be out of town.
  • That cat may just choose the door jams of your house as its scratching post of choice.
  • The cat also believes that its litterbox is the corner of the carpeted living room.
  • And etc.
Bonuses to having a Pet-Friendly Rental

68% of households in the United States own pets. That is over half of the rental market. By excluding those with pets, you severely limit the size of your audience. Also, most pet owners have a very limited selection of homes to choose from. They find moving difficult because of that lack of inventory. Hence, there is a slightly higher chance of enjoying a lower vacancy rate. 

Also, despite the many horror stories told regarding the vicious dog eating the neighbor’s kid, most pets are well behaved and of the ones that aren’t, the majority are not violent. 

Allowing a family with a pet is a reasonable risk in most case. Being a landlord is about knowing when to take a reasonable risk. If you are considering allowing pets, there are certain steps that can be taken to alleviate that risk. 

  • Limit the size and number of the pets allowed
  • Charge an increased deposit
  • Charge pet rent
  • Screen your tenants well
    • Tenants with perfect rental history are most likely not going to permit their animals to destroy your rental.
  • And etc
Here at Empire

As our founder and lead Property Manager began managing on his own properties, he was at liberty to take chances. We made mistakes, and we learned hard lessons, but the end result was a pet policy perfected over many years of trial and error. 

The current policy regarding pets at Empire is:

  • Dogs of any dangerous breed are not allowed. This includes: Chows, Pit Bulls, Presa Canarios, Rottweilers, Akitas, Doberman Pinschers, wolf-hybrids, any mix of dangerous breeds, and/or any dog restricted by associated insurance companies. The Manager has sole discretion to determine if a dog appears to be one of the dangerous/restricted breeds.
  • Farm Animals are prohibited without special permission from the Owner.
  • We do not allow any animal as a pet that has previously caused harm or bitten a person or another animal.
  • Exotic animals are prohibited.
  • No more than two pets are allowed

The cost to keep an Allowed Pet includes:

  • An increased security deposit of $300 for each pet
  • $20 increased monthly rent for each pet
Conclusion

As nothing is perfect, there are both drawbacks and bonuses to allowing pets within your rental. Which trumps the other? It is hard to say. It can vary largely by home. Contact Empire if you wish to discuss your current pet policy.

Happy Landlording!