Property ManagementHow to Set the Best Pet Policies for Your Rental Properties by Nadia Abulatif June 8, 2018June 27, 2018 by Nadia Abulatif June 8, 2018June 27, 2018Investing in rental properties is perhaps one of the most lucrative real estate investment strategies in the business. However, one of the biggest challenges for every landlord is tenants with pets!One fact that a real estate investor cannot deny is that a pet is a part of the family. Therefore, you can’t expect tenants to leave behind their pets only to be able to rent your property. So, for this matter, you want to make sure you invest in pet-friendly rental properties.Related: Real Estate Investment Strategies Guide: Long Term RentalsCan a landlord say no to a pet-owning tenant?Even though the rental demand is high in the United States, the number of pet owners is much higher. Thus, refusing to rent to tenants with pets will have an impact on the rental demand for your property. Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of the rental population are pet owners. We guess that it explains the fact that you are risking to lose that much by not allowing pets.Before we get into further details, it is important that we address the subject of service animals. Many elderly people and veterans have service animals. Thus, it makes it a completely different matter. You can never say no to a service animal owner. Therefore, make sure you understand the difference.We understand why a landlord might not want to let pets in. Of course, pets can cause damages to the property or to items on the property. Hence, we’ve got great news for you; a pet is far less damaging than a baby! Shocking, we know. But, that is the reality. But, why would a landlord want to let pets into their rental properties?Here are 4 reasons why we believe you should allow for pets in your rental properties:Reason #1: You are saving the poor animalsStatistics show that many pet owners tend to abandon their pets due to the difficulty of finding rentals that are pet-friendly. Therefore, by allowing pets, you are saving these poor animals’ lives!Reason #2: Increasing the rental demand for your rental propertiesBeing a landlord means that you want what is best for your rental business. Therefore, regardless of your rental strategy, allowing pets into your rental properties increases the odds of getting your properties rented. A survey shows that 75% of the population in the United States are pet owners. Moreover, these pet owners find it a challenge to find rental properties that are pet-friendly. Therefore, allowing these pets would be a great way to increase the rental demand for your property.Reason #3: Higher chances of lease renewalAs we have mentioned before, pet owners struggle to find a place to live in with their pets. Once they find one, why would they want to let go of it? Of course, they will renew the lease!Reason #4: Making money in real estatePet-friendly rental properties contribute to boosting your rental income. Whether you invest in traditional rentals or Airbnb rentals, when you allow pets, you can ask for pet rent (fees) that is added to the rent you charge. In this case, even a $50 fee would be of good increase to your cash flow. Keeping in mind that this type of fees is not refundable. But, make sure you check with the state’s laws concerning this matter.Related: What Are the Most Important Metrics in Real Estate Investment Property Analysis?Smart pet policies should include the following:Pet policy #1: Set a pet criteriaA smart thing to do is to include a pet agreement in the lease. By requiring that all tenants sign it regardless of whether they are pet owners or not, you oblige them to the agreement. This way, if a tenant decides to own a pet later on, they would know what it would take if they want to stay in the property.One thing a landlord can do is to set certain criteria for pets they allow into their rental properties. For example, you can set a certain weight that is allowed to your property. Many real estate investors set a weight limit up to 25 pounds. However, once you set this type of criteria, it is important that you stick to it.Other reasonable criteria would be the type of pet you would allow. Keep in mind, there are some species that are a bit dangerous or have a tendency towards aggression. Some landlords, for instance, do not allow Pitbulls or Rottweilers or any similar types of animals. Thus, make sure that you include all types of animals and specific limitations to the type clear. This allows you to evict a tenant in case he/she lied about their pet.You should also include vaccinations. This helps you make sure that the animal is healthy and does not have any diseases that might be contagious to humans. Also, it ensures that your property is going to be as clean as possible. Of course, one way to do this is to include some questions in the tenant application. Once you have approved the tenant you can ask to view the license, the identification as well as the vaccination documents.Pet policy #2: Tenant screeningYour number one goal here is to find good tenants and avoid bad tenants. Well, a pet wouldn’t make any difference if the tenant is a slob. So, screening tenants would be your number one priority. A background check is a legitimate option in your case. You can check for their credit score to ensure that they never fell behind on rent. But more importantly, you can also ask a previous landlord and ask if the potential tenant ever had problems concerning their pets. For example, ask if the pet has ever caused damages. Furthermore, ask what type of damage was it and how much it cost them.Sometimes, the problem is not with the pet itself but with the owner. Therefore, it is important that you know who you are letting into your rental properties. Also, in the pet agreement, make sure you hold the tenant responsible for their pet.Related: Why Retirees are the Best Investment Property Tenants and How to Accommodate ThemPet policy #3: Pet depositA smart pet policy must also include a pet deposit. This is your only insurance in case of any damages done to your rental properties. Most landlords ask for an annual pet deposit that is refundable. It would be money used to cover up for any damages during the lease period. At the end of the lease, a tenant gets to ask for a refund of the deposit if the pet did not cause any damages that require money spending.Finally, setting pet policies is a part of proper property management. Therefore, make sure you check out our blog to learn all about rental properties and how to manage them. Start Your Investment Property Search! START FREE TRIAL 0FacebookTwitterGoogle +PinterestLinkedin Nadia AbulatifNadia Abulatif is an experienced Content Writer at Mashvisor. She was a trainee lawyer before switching to writing about real estate. She is currently doing an LL.M. in Human Rights and International Law. 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