If you’re thinking about relaxing your no pets policy, now is a good time. More people are becoming pet owners, and many young renters see their pets as family. Opening your rental property to pet owners will inevitably increase your profits. Yet what are the pros and cons? Plus, which breeds should you allow?
Many real estate investors have supplemented their pet policies with restrictions on specific breeds to ensure tenant safety and happiness. However, is this the right choice to make considering activist and owner concerns?
Explore the complexities behind the matter and decide which path fits your real estate investment.
What Constitutes a Breed Restriction?
Breed restrictions ban specific pets from living on rental properties. Some landlords take no issue with allowing animals in general, but they ban certain breeds prone to destroying property or threatening other people.
Others prefer not to have animals over a certain weight, which strikes out large dogs. These bans often affect breeds such as:
- Great Danes
- Siberian Huskies
Many areas across the U.S. uphold breed restrictions through legislative action. People aren’t allowed to own specific breeds or bring them into the city, which eliminates a lot of the decisions you need to make. However, if your area doesn’t implement breed restrictions, it’s up to you to choose which breeds can make a home on your property.
Though you may lean towards a breed restriction policy, there are an equal amount of reasons to forgo the practice. Review both sides of the issue before making any decisions. Will your choice uphold tenant satisfaction, or will it drive potential renters away? With 65% of adults under 35 choosing to rent instead of own, you’ll see an uptick in the number of pets on rental applications.
Reasons to Use Pet Breed Restrictions
Avoid future lawsuits by banning potentially dangerous breeds from the start. Having an animal on your investment property will always be a liability due to their ability to destroy walls, flooring, and more.
However, when it comes to bites and attacks, you have a more significant issue on your hands. The law can hold you responsible for any dog attack on your rental property, especially if the injured is uninsured.
Securing liability insurance to cover dangerous breeds is costly. You can require each pet-owning tenant to carry renter’s insurance, but not all policies cover animals. If an incident does occur, you’ll be one of many landlords who surrendered a total of $675 million in 2018 on dog bite claims.
You’ll have an easier time protecting your real estate investment by restricting liable breeds. Even if you invest in a condo, you’re legally allowed to restrict any breed from your property. However, this can be a controversial move considering many people own service and emotional support animals.
Reasons Not to Ban Any Pet Breeds
Breed restrictions aren’t merely unfair to owners — they fail to acknowledge the well-being of pets. People with banned animals often leave them at shelters or set them loose rather than find another rental property. Abandoned dogs encounter all kinds of dangerous, unfamiliar conditions on the streets.
Breed laws have a track record of impacting pet care. Restricted breed owners may neglect necessary medical needs, such as vaccinations and regular vet appointments, to fly under the radar. These people forsake their pets’ health in trying to protect them, which presents long-term ramifications.
Many of these laws are faulty because they judge by appearance and stereotypes. If a dog looks like a Pitbull but isn’t one, it’s still liable to be targeted. This issue becomes more complicated with mixed breeds. Some people abandon non-violent dogs as a result of vague, harmful legislation.
The most direct consequence for your business will be profit loss. Renters who aren’t satisfied with your pet policies will go elsewhere, which drives money straight to your competitors. By allowing restricted breeds, you can make a substantial amount from deposits and monthly pet rent.
Make a Fair Compromise for Renters
Meet renters in the middle by integrating better pet policies without restricting breeds. Landlords have found a variety of ways to allow pets while keeping their properties hygienic and safe for all, including:
- Pet agreements: Create a contract for all tenants to sign — even if they don’t currently own pets — and clearly outline your rules.
- Resumes: Ask applicants to supply a pet resume, including vet records, references, vaccinations, and pictures.
- Interviews: Some landlords do interviews where they meet with the owner and pet to observe its temperament and behavior. Eliminate future stress by ensuring your tenants are caring, trustworthy owners. A great tenant is likely to raise a great pet, which reduces the worry of property destruction and attacks.
- Limits and guidelines: Specify how many pets can live in one unit and require animals like cats and dogs to get neutered. Keep a strict cleanliness policy to avoid tenants leaving animal waste on the grounds or depositing it where it doesn’t belong.
Pet Breed Restrictions for Your Rental Property
Now that you understand the ins and outs of breed restrictions, you can make an informed choice about which policies to adopt. Aim for options that preserve your real estate investment while satisfying your tenants’ wants and needs.
This article has been contributed by Holly Welles.