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5 Tips for Allowing Pets in a Rental Property

System - Friday, October 7, 2022
Property Management Blog

More than 90 million households in the US are home to some kind of pet. It's clear that Americans love their furry family members!

As a savvy landlord, you might wonder if it's time to take advantage of this enormous number and allow pets in a rental property. While you'll undoubtedly get a greater pool of tenants, you may also open yourself up to repair and insurance problems.

But that's only if you're not thoughtful in your approach to the issue. Read on to find out how to have your puppy and play with it, too.

1. Add a Pet Deposit

If you let pets in your rentals, add a pet deposit clause to your contract—in addition to the standard security deposit. This provides you with repair money in case of damage caused by a tenant's animal.

2. Make Your Rental Pet-Proof

Adding "pets allowed" to your rental property listings can be daunting. You feel like you're opening yourself up to potential disaster in the form of chewed doorframes and scratched wallpaper.

One way around that is to take some time to pet-proof your rented home or apartment. Consider things like:

  • Loop-pile carpets
  • Vinyl laminate floors
  • Removing or replacing expensive fixtures
  • Removing decor elements
  • Fitting plastic guards to door frames and skirtings
  • Hiding wires away
  • Painting the walls (in place of wallpaper)

If you're really serious about creating a pet-friendly rental, you could go so far as to create a dig zone and potty station in the backyard, a dog-washing area in the mudroom, or a catio. And if your property isn't well fenced, do so.

3. Specify Which Pets Are Allowed

Smart rental property maintenance means knowing exactly what goes on inside your rentals. You're well within your right to decide how many and which types of pets are allowed.

For example, you could allow only one small dog or disallow cats and dogs all together in favor of fish or reptiles.

4. Check Your Insurance Policies

If you're a rental property investor, you should already have an insurance policy (or multiple policies). Check the agreement with a fine-toothed comb for any mention of pet ownership. If you need to, add riders or investigate new policies to ensure you're covered in the case of damage.

Things like illegal breeds or local pet ownership ordinances can void your insurance, so also research these and enquire with your insurance provider. Florida, for example, has laws regarding "dangerous dogs" that Jacksonville landlords need to be aware of.

5. Ask for a Pet Reference

If you're planning to allow tenants with pets, request a pet reference from the prospective tenant's last landlord and their animal's primary veterinarian. This will help you assess the character of the pet.

You could also ask to meet the pet before proceeding with the tenancy.

Feel Good About Having Pets in a Rental Property

Having pets in a rental property can benefit both tenant and owner. Tenants often struggle to find pet-friendly rentals, so you'll have a pool of eager renters to choose from. But, of course, badly behaved or young pets can be destructive, so you must take steps to protect your investment.

If you're confused about how to safely rent your Jacksonville, Florida, property to pet owners, reach out to the team at HomeRiver Group. We have experience serving owners and tenants, so we're well placed to help you navigate this challenging space.