According to Petfoodindustry, 68% of American households now own a pet.
This is due to the fact that there are a number of benefits to owning one or many. For one thing, pets lessen our stress levels, making them a great source of emotional comfort. Feelings of loneliness can be reduced by the companionship a pet can provide.
Another benefit of having a pet is that they can force us to exercise. Dogs need time outside, which signifies that you need to walk them at least once a day, resulting in a workout for you in the process. Additionally, keeping a pet increases socialization, since walking your pet will allow you to meet other pet owners. There are even some pet clubs, organizations, and associations people participate in.
Now, with all these health and psychological benefits, what is stopping people from owning a pet?
Well, for one thing, if you do not have your own home, there are few properties that are pet-friendly.
As a landlord in Dallas, Texas seeing this trend of pet ownership, it is strategic to make your rental properties pet-friendly. This widens your pool of quality tenants. Additionally, most pet owners are actually proven to take better care of the rental unit. This is due to the fact that there are so few properties that allow pets, so they take care of the ones that permit them.
Let’s enumerate the pros and cons of allowing pet owners as tenants:
- Opportunity to earn more income through pet rent, pet deposit, and/or pet fees
- Increased number of prospective tenants
- More maintenance
- Exposure to property damage
The decision to become a pet-friendly rental property is up to each landlord. However, there are ways to manage the disadvantages so you can maximize the benefits of increasing your income stream.
Defining Pet Deposits
Like a security deposit, a pet deposit is a certain sum you ask from the tenant to cover possible pet damages during the length of their stay in your unit. If at the end of the lease, there is zero damage, then you can refund the pet deposit.
If there are damages, you can calculate the cost, show it to the pet owner, and deduct accordingly from the pet deposit. This saves you from financial stress and the need to collect additional cash from your tenant to pay for any damages.
Defining Pet Fees
Pet fees are a one-time sum you can charge a tenant for allowing a pet in your property. If by the end of the lease, the tenant’s pet caused damages, the landlord can use the pet fee to pay for it.
It is important to determine how much of a pet fee to charge since you are estimating future damages. Pet fees are non-refundable, so even if there is no damage caused by the pet at the end of the lease, the landlord keeps it.
Defining Pet Rents
Pet rents are additional monthly payments a tenant has to pay if he or she keeps a pet on your property. The amount depends on the landlord relative to the kind of pet a tenant owns. It could also be higher in cases where the tenant has several pets. Landlords generally charge an additional $35 to $100 a month.
It is logical for landlords to want higher revenue by being a pet-friendly rental. Remember that you can always create policy restrictions to exercise control. Be specific and include every detail in your lease agreement. You can also conduct a pre-interview with the tenants beforehand to determine if their pets are the right fit for your property.
Here are some questions to ask:
- How long has the pet been in their custody?
- Has their pet caused damage to property?
- What old are their pet(s)?
- Has their pet bitten any human or other animals?
- Who takes care of the pet?
- If the tenant is not home, who is the secondary pet caretaker?
- Does their pet have complete vaccines?
You can also meet both the tenant and their pet(s) before signing the lease to determine the pets’ attitude.
Is it well-trained?
Is it disciplined?
Is it friendly?
What to Include in Your Pet Policy?
- Amount of pet deposit, pet fee, or pet rent.
- If you decide to ask for a pet deposit, state that it is refundable sans any damages to the property.
- Define what constitutes damages (carpet stains, scratches on wood floors, etc.).
- State what type of pets you allow and the maximum number of each they can keep on your property.
- Define the allowable dog breeds. You may not be comfortable with some breeds and it is perfectly legal to restrict certain breeds.
- Instead of banning dog breeds, you can restrict the weight and height. For example, the pet must weigh below 14 kilos and must not be taller than 15 inches.
- Include in the lease that tenants must have your approval before they can accept or take care of pets from their friends or family, even if it is only for a few days.
- List the responsibilities of the pet owner.
By clearly defining your expectations from the pet owners, there is little cause for concern, as future issues are tackled in the lease agreement.
Clarifying duties of the pet owner is important at the outset, as tenants might find loopholes in the agreement. When it comes to pet ownership, it is best to specify your policies in your lease agreement.
What to Charge a Tenant: Pet Fees, Pet Deposit, or Pet Rent
If you are sensitive to damages and want to create an incentive for pet owners to take better care of your property, you may prefer a pet deposit. Pet owners will likely make sure that damages are avoided in order to earn back a refund from their pet deposit. Lastly, you can opt for monthly pet rent for a recurring income.
It is always your prerogative whether or not to welcome pet ownership in your property. But, do note that service animals cannot be refused on your property, and not permitting them could subject you to a lawsuit.
If you’d benefit from the services of a professional property manager, contact Uptown Dallas Properties today!