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For many, pets are beloved members of our family. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 64% of households in the United States own a dog or cat. So, it’s not shocking to learn that renters with pets are seeking out pet-friendly properties at accelerated rates. But handling tenants with pets doesn’t have to be complicated. 

If you’re a landlord who’s not currently letting tenants have pets, you’re missing out on two thirds of the rental market. And in my expert business and landlording opinion, that simply doesn’t make smart fiscal sense.

Welcoming pets on your rental property isn’t just nice, it’s a brilliant business decision. 

Don’t agree? Keep reading.


…And while you’re here, don’t forget to register for my EXCLUSIVE online Masterclass training, ‘Hardcore Facts on Landlording‘ to learn how to make the most money while being the best landlord you can be!


Handling Tenants with Pets: Mitigate the Risks


Of course, allowing pets in your rental properties isn’t always smooth sailing, but it’s certainly something that’s worth considering. Especially since we’ve already established that a significant number of renters are also pet owners.

The key to establishing an effective pet policy is working to mitigate the potential risks that come with leasing to pet owners.


1: Screen Tenants and Require ‘Pet References’


Administering ‘pet interviews’ to potential tenants with pets is a growing practice in the rental industry. The reasoning is simple; you get to meet the animal in question ahead of time and discover more about your potential renters as pet owners. Ideally, you want to ensure that you’re renting to responsible pet owners before you let them sign a lease for your property.

On top of that, you can consider reaching out to your renters’ previous landlords. Did they display any patterns of negligent pet owner behavior? Would they lease their property to them again? The answers could determine whether or not they’re quality tenants who are worth renting to.



2: Charge a Bigger Security Deposit and Collect Pet Rent


Charging extra fees in pet rent and security deposits is a great way to raise your monthly income while simultaneously safeguarding yourself in the event you need to perform any emergency repairs from pet damage.

On average, pet rent typically runs between $10 and $100 depending on location, so keep that in mind when coming up with pricing for your rental property. Try to be competitive; overcharging will only deter potential tenants from renting your space.

Like pet rent, you can also collect a pet deposit from renters when you start leasing to people with pets. When choosing a deposit amount, be aware of exactly how much you’re legally allowed to charge per your state’s laws. Just because every state allows landlords to charge deposits and fees to renters with pets, it’s not always enforceable—specifically if the tenant is disabled or has a registered service animal. In both these scenarios, it’s illegal to charge fees or deposits to pet owning tenants.



3: Require the Pet to Be Spayed or Neutered


According to the AMVA, spayed female cats and dogs won’t go into heat, so they can’t destroy your property’s carpet and they won’t bother neighbors by yowling for a mate. 

Similarly, neutered male dogs and cats are less aggressive, more obedient, less likely to mark their territory, and less likely to mount other animals, objects, or people.



4: Consider Personality Over Breed


There is always judgment and apprehension when it comes to the temperament of certain breeds of dogs, namely American Pitbull Terriers and German Shepherds. The truth is that all dogs have the potential to be aggressive and bark, so basing a pet policy on a breed that gets a bad name could cause you to lose out on possible income.

As long as you meet the renter’s dog or cat before they sign a lease, you should be golden. However, it is important to check with your insurance company before you allow any and all breeds to live in your property because some of them may not be covered. In that case, you’ll have to notify your tenant, so they know they have to find their own insurance plan that does cover their dog.



5: Clearly Establish Your Pet Policy in the Lease


Last, but not least, have renters sign a pet agreement contract that clearly dictates what kinds of animals you allow in your rental properties. This can be done by adding a simple “no pets’ clause or “pet addendum” in the lease.


“No Pets” Clause Example


PETS. No pets or animals (including, but not limited to mammals, birds, rodents, reptiles, insects, or fish) are permitted, even temporarily, anywhere on the Property unless the Landlord has given previous written permission. If authorization is granted, Tenant(s) may be subject to a non-refundable pet fee or increases in security deposit. A service animal will be permitted for tenant(s) with disabilities.


“Pet Addendum” To a Rental Agreement Example


A pet addendum is a written permission that landlords can add to a lease to authorize certain pets on their rental property. Not sure what it looks like or what you should include? Click here for an example of a pet addendum you can use in your next landlord-tenant rental agreement contract.


Have More Landlording Questions?


I have answers.

Handling tenants with pets doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Rather, it can actually be quite profitable in the long run. As long as you follow the tips I’ve laid out here, you’ll have no paw-blem finding quality pet owner tenants to rent your property.


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