If you’re a pet owner, you probably think about your beloved cat or dog as a part of the family. People love their pets, and when you have one of your own, it’s hard to imagine living without one.
However, when you’re renting out a property, it’s easy to fear all the terrible things that can happen because of a tenant’s pet. Owners often ask us if they should allow pets into their St. Louis rental property. We think you should, as long as you have a solid pet policy in place to protect your investment.
Benefits of Allowing Pets in Your Property
Allowing pets in your rental property will actually make you more money. First, you’ll likely have a lower vacancy period. More than half of St. Louis tenants have at least one pet. When they’re looking for a new rental home, they’re not going to bother looking at homes that won’t allow pets. So, if you say a hard no to pets, you’ll dramatically reduce your tenant pool. It’s going to take you longer to find a pet-free tenant. Vacancies are expensive, and in this case, avoidable.
You can also ask for pet rent, which increases the amount you earn on your rental property every month. Most tenants expect and are willing to pay a little extra for their furry friends to move in with them. It’s not uncommon to charge $25 or $30 per pet every month. That will add up over the course of a tenancy and increase your cash flow.
A final benefit is that most people who have pets take excellent care of them. Responsible pet owners are usually responsible tenants, and they’re likely to stay in place longer. Pet owners won’t want to find another pet-friendly home and pay another pet deposit or fee. So, you’ll probably have your tenants renewing their lease year after year.
Risks of Allowing Pets in Your Property
There are certainly risks to welcoming pets. For example, they can cause damage to your property. Dogs dig up yards and cats scratch walls. Your floors could suffer, and you might find it difficult to remove pet odors or fleas after a tenant with pets has moved out.
There’s also extra liability involved. Your tenant’s dog could bite a neighbor or attack a vendor. You need to be prepared by putting a strong pet policy in place.
Some Management companies offer Pet Guarantees or some risk management for letting them keep the extra pet fees. Ask about this with your management company.
Pet Policy Requirements
A great way to mitigate the risk involved in allowing pets into your rental property is with a strong and solid pet policy. You can feel free to restrict the types of pets you will accept. Maybe you will agree to adult dogs and cats but not puppies or kittens. Perhaps you’ll allow only one animal or two small animals. You can put weight and size restrictions on the pets you’ll allow. You should always restrict dog breeds. Most insurance companies will not extend liability coverage to breeds that are considered dangerous, such as Pit Bulls or German Shepherds.
It’s also important that you collect either a pet deposit, which is refundable after the tenant moves out and an inspection reveals there is no pet damage, or a pet fee, which is nonrefundable and kept by you regardless of damage.
With a strong pet policy in place and some pet screening before a tenant moves in, you can accept pets into your rental property with little risk. We’d be happy to help you feel better about this; please contact us at AMOSO Properties for more information.