Pet ownership continues to grow in popularity in the United States. Particularly during the ongoing global pandemic, people are turning towards furry companions to keep them company and create a cozy atmosphere in their homes.
In the [Portland] (https://www.portland.gov/ )area, there's a strong culture centred around pet ownerships—and dog walking is a popular form of exercise.
Hotels and cafes have started to design their accommodations with a focus on pet needs. You might find signs hanging outside shops mentioning that pets are welcome. In luxury hotels, part of marketing programs like staycations focus on being pet welcoming.
There are numerous perks for landlords who decide to make their units pet friendly, but there are important considerations to keep in mind, too. This guide can help you decide whether allowing pets in your rental property is a good idea.
Higher Earning Potential
With additional opportunities for designing services catering to pets as well as the ability to charge pet rent, landlords can maximize their income without raising the rent price itself, which is often limited.
Larger Tenant Pool
Since not all rental properties are open to pet ownership, you’ll have a huge slice of an underserved demographic who are pet owners. That will give you an advantage over other local property owners, given that you property account for the risks of allowing pet ownership.
A good property listing will be clear and straight-forward about what your pet policy is, so that you don't waste your time communicating with applicants with pets that don't fit your criteria.
Moving pets from one rental space to another can be tedious. Cats in particular are notorious for disliking change, and will often hide for days on end when they're relocated. If tenants find a space where they’re happy, then they’re bound to stay longer.
Tenants will also appreciate that you've gone out of your way to accomodate their furry friends, which will in turn make them more likely to respect your rental property.
Since there’s typically more demand for quality rentals that are pet friendly than the number that is available, your vacancy rates will be lower compared to properties that don’t permit pets.
As you've read, the benefits of allowing your renters to have pets are pretty substantial.
However, disadvantages do exist in being pet welcoming. Here are some of them:
Probable Property Damage
When you permit pets, the likelihood of incurring damages such as floor scratches and carpet stains is way higher.
There are important steps you can take to try to prevent pet damages in your property, but the risks will always be higher. This means you'll have to devote extra time to upkeep and inspections, to mitigate the risk.
Injuries and Accidents
There’s also a higher chance of putting other tenants at risk, resulting in physical injuries when pets are around.
Of course, you shouldn't allow tenants to have unusual dangerous pets that will put their neighbors at risk. But even dogs can act unpredictably, and a cat on the loose can damage neighboring property.
Sometimes pets can cause noise that can be hard to put up for some tenants.
If some of your tenants have to work difficult hours or have trouble sleeping, the sound of a constantly barking dog can be a nightmare.
Birds can be a relatively safe pet to allow in terms of damages, but they carry a high degree of risk of annoying sounds that will disturb tenants of neighboring units.
For tenants susceptible to allergens, their health might be affected when animal hair travels through air ducts.
In addition, if your property has common areas, dogs may need to pass through on their way outside for walks. If you're personally very allergic to certain animals, allowing pets could make conducting inspections of your own property difficult.
How to Manage the Risks
Although there’s a price to pay for accepting pets, it doesn’t mean you should totally write off the benefits that come from welcoming pets. If you're able to manage the risks, potential issues can be negligible.
Here are some common methods of mitigating the risk of pet problems:
Before allowing a tenant to rent your property with the pet, you can conduct a meeting to evaluate the pet. Is the pet well disciplined and kept under control by the potential renter?
Charging Pet Rent
A common practice for landlords is charging additional pet fees. This is done to budget for repairs when a pet happens to damage the rental property.
Collecting a Pet Deposit
Asking for a higher security deposit can be understandable given that frequent cleaning needs to be performed. You'll need to be sure to check out Oregon's pet deposit laws before assigning an amount though.
Assess Each Pet
When conducting a pet screening, observe the pet but avoid judging based on the breed.
For example, fierce dog breeds can be discriminated against, but some supposedly dangerous breeds are well-trained and obedient to owners.
If you’re scared of potential bites and injuries, you can ask the pet owners to make sure their pets are vaccinated prior to moving in. This way, everyone exposed to the pet is protected from risks of infection.
A way for landlords to make a good judgment call is to ask the pet owners to provide a pet reference. They can submit a letter issued by a veterinarian or a previous landlord. If the prospective tenant recently bought or adopted the pet then this may not be applicable.
The best thing that pet reference letters can accomplish is that they’ll give you more information to solidify your decision. You’ll gain knowledge about how the pet behaved in a rental space.
You’ll learn whether there were property damages from the pet. Moreover, the previous landlord can reveal how well the applicant took care of the pet.
These are conditions outlining policies in pet ownership and what you should allow while the pet is staying in the rental unit.
It will also summarize the pet owner’s responsibilities while renting.
Checklist on Pets
Here's some information you'll want to be sure to gather from applicants prior to welcoming their pet in your rental unit:
- Length of time the pet owner has been taking care of the pet.
- Type of vaccinations undergone by the pet.
- Possible substitute caregiver of the pet when the owner is away.
- Official training completed by the pet.
- Amount of exercise the pet needs.
- Level of comfort a pet has when around other people.
Restrictions on Pets
As a landlord, it’s impossible to grant permission to all pets.
Most pet acceptences are conditional and limited to the following:
- Type and breed of pets.
- Policies referring to pet owner’s duties.
- Acceptable size and number of pets allowed in the rental property.
Tips when Accepting Pets
- Study what type of pets you’re open to accepting in your rental space. Be clear on the size, breed, and number of pets you’ll permit.
- Find an external source that can vouch for the prospect’s pet responsibility and the pet’s behavioral patterns.
- Review local laws on the policies on pets for rental spaces before creating a pet clause and addendum.
The Bottom Line
Being a flexible landlord when it comes to pet ownership is looked upon affectionately. Just ensure that you’re adequately prepared before permitting pets to stay in your rental property.
If you need help managing pet policies or any other aspect that pertains to your Portland-area rental property, get in touch with the expert team at Inter-West Properties today.