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Should I Allow Pets in a Rental Property? The Pros and Cons

Should I Allow Pets in a Rental Property? The Pros and Cons

The question of whether or not to allow pets in a rental property is one that has perplexed many a landlord! Seventy percent of US households are proud owners of pets, with cats and dogs being the most popular. There are obvious advantages to opening your rental property up to pet owners, but there are downsides to consider as well.

Let's explore the pros and cons of allowing pets in a rental property and see where landlords stand on the question of support animals.

The Benefits of Allowing Pets

The number one benefit of allowing pets is that it broadens your pool of potential tenants. When pet owners start their search for a rental, they'll automatically filter results to exclude homes with a no-pet policy. You can avoid this fate by allowing people to bring their furry and fishy friends.

The other benefit is that pet owners often make great tenants. They can be highly responsible, given they've already taken on responsibility for another life. They often take great care of the properties they rent.

You may also be able to charge a premium when you allow pets. This could go some way towards offsetting the increased maintenance you may need to carry out due to pet damage. A property management company can advise you about how much damage pets actually do to homes.

The Downsides of Allowing Pets

Not all pets chew furniture and scratch baseboards and floors, but some do. It only takes one incontinent feline to do a lot of damage to a carpet or sofa. If you do choose to allow pets, it's important to include clear rules in the pet addendum to the lease.

The other issue is noise, particularly barking dogs. There's no faster way to get a seriously disgruntled neighbor than to make them live next to a dog that barks incessantly. Birds can also create a cacophony that's unpleasant for those in the vicinity.

What About Support Animals?

Support animals fall into two categories. Service animals, such as guide dogs, perform specific tasks for their owners. They are not considered to be pets, and you may not be able to impose a no-pets rule or charge pet fees in these cases. What you need to know about allowing pets in a rental property is available at this link.

Assistance animals help people with disabilities to cope with their symptoms. A tenant may provide a letter from a doctor or therapist to explain why they need the animal. Again, in these cases, a landlord may not be able to refuse this in accordance with fair housing regulations.

Include a Pet Addendum

If you do choose the allow pets in your rental, consider adding a pet addendum or pet agreement to your lease. This ensures that everybody knows where they stand about having pets on the property. You could include:

  • Pet deposit - to cover any pet-related damage to the home
  • Pet rental fees - some landlords add an extra charge to the rent for pets
  • Pet-specific rules - type and size of pets allowed, not inconveniencing neighbors

The Verdict on Pets in a Rental Property

There is no right or wrong answer on whether to allow pets in a rental property. Allow pets, and you'll open the home to a larger pool of tenants. But you could also open Pandora's box of ongoing issues if you get a troublesome creature.

Talk to Carolina Property Management for great insights on which route works best. We're Charlotte, NC, rental experts, and our property managers can help you with tons of landlord tips. To learn what homeowners typically do wrong when caring for their properties, click here.

Call us at (704) 498-4121 or reach out online to see how we can help today!