Finding the right tenants is a job that landlords will have to deal with constantly. Establishing rules and policies for rental properties to keep properties in tip-top condition is an ongoing process that falls under broader investment strategies. But when it comes to furry friends, some landlords prohibit them while others allow having them. How can you find a middle ground in the midst of two extremes while putting your rental properties as the main priority?
Acknowledging the fact that Americans consider pets to be a part of the family is the first step to take. Another major point to consider is that Millennials make up around 40% of the entire housing market, and 90% of Millennials are renters. Knowing millennials’ needs helps landlords offer them just what they are looking for while allowing successful real estate investors to find occupants for their income properties. As recent studies have shown, more than 76% of Millennials own pets, mostly cats or dogs. Offering pet-friendly rentals can make sure you are making the most out of what you have through broadening your targeted tenant pool to include them.
Related: FAQ in Real Estate Investing: Are Rental Properties Profitable?
How can landlords succeed while offering pet-friendly rental properties?
There are measures that landlords can take when allowing pets on their properties to reduce damage and maintain properties in good condition. The following are the most commonly practiced methods to succeed with pet-friendly rental properties:
Interview the owner and the pet
This may seem strange, but it’s commonly practiced among real estate investors and landlords. Seeing how the animal behaves can give you a good idea of what it will be behaving like within your property. It also helps to take a photo of the pet to include in your lease agreement or pet agreement. This way you have solid proof if the tenant violates the contract.
Check your insurance policy
As all landlords should have insurance on their rental properties, some insurance policies have strict rules when it comes to pets. Meaning that injuries caused by the pet won’t be included in the insurance. It’s not uncommon for pet owners to have renter’s insurance to protect themselves from prosecution in the case of an incident like this.
Charge a refundable deposit for the pet
Whether you’ve invested in short-term rental properties or long-term rental properties, you need to think ahead as most successful real estate investors do. This includes charging the tenant a pet deposit. Some landlords choose to clarify that it’s nonrefundable which may backfire as the tenant has already kissed the money goodbye and may not pay too much attention or care about their pet causing damage. However, charging a refundable deposit will keep the tenant on their toes hoping to get that deposit back when they terminate their lease.
Related: 5 Tips to Prevent Damages from Tenants.
Landlords usually charge a number between $200-$500 as a pet deposit.
Ask for the pet’s complete information
Knowing how to succeed as a landlord entails paying attention to details. Knowing the details of the pet you’re allowing in your rental property is considered a part of screening tenants. Pet details may include identification documents and vaccinations.
You may not have thought this far when you thought about investing in real estate, but it’s important to know all the details that are involved in owning rental properties.
Set standards for pets
Setting standards for your rental properties is a must as it’s a major factor in determining your rental income. Landlords usually have pre-set rules to what kind of pets you’re allowed to have within their rental properties; they often include fish, small reptiles, cats, dogs, and not often, birds. It all comes down to the level of damage a certain animal can do to a property.
Pet standards can be a bit controversial, as some dog breeds are more violent than others. This leads us to the dangerous dog breeds list; it includes Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Wolf hybrids, as well as a few others. The list may be different between insurance companies as not all dogs within a certain breed are dangerous.
Other standards may include:
- Height and weight of the pet: specify a maximum height and weight that the pet can have.
- Number of pets that are allowed: specify the number of pets that your tenant can have.
Set the rules for visitors’ pets
Some landlords choose to specify if tenants are allowed to have pets of friends at their properties; some may choose to implement a tenant’s pet-only policy. It’s important to list such details in the lease agreement or pet agreement as it clarifies all the details for both the tenant and the landlord.
Sign a pet agreement
Clarifying the details when it comes to occupying rental properties is a major responsibility on the real estate investor’s behalf. You must clarify the type of pets you allow, the number of pets, and any other details that are relevant.
It’s good to keep in mind that assistant animals are not considered pets to avoid any legal issues. Additionally, make sure to enforce pet policies equally to all your tenants and not make exceptions. This will solidify your stand when it comes to pets.
Related: Becoming a Landlord: 5 Guidelines to Being Fair to Tenants.
If you are a real estate investor who deals with rental properties, sooner or later you will have to deal with tenants who have pets. It’s a good idea to be prepared with an idea of what it entails to enforce pet policies.
Succeeding as a landlord in a pet-friendly world means you need to meet the rental demand with policies to protect your properties. Making money in real estate is affected by tenant’s preferences, and a major preference is owning pets. It doesn’t matter if you own the best real estate investments if you are unable to find tenants for them and keep them happy along with their pets in the long-term.
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