Pets and Rental Property
One of the biggest points of contention in renting and owning rental property is whether or not pets should be allowed. Why do some properties allow pets and some do not? Why are there sometimes breed restrictions? If I own a rental property should I prohibit pets altogether? In this article we’ll take a look at the topic of pets in-depth and answer these common questions.
According to a 2019 study performed by the American Pets Product Association (APPA) https://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp more than 66% of households in America have one or more pets. The most common household pet is a dog – dogs are present in 63.4 million households nationwide. Trailing close behind, cats reside in 42.7 million households in the United States alone.
If having a pet is so common, then why do so many rental properties not accept pets? The answer to this is quite simple – many property owners do not want to risk the extra damage to their property. The cost of repairing a property after extensive pet damage can be difficult to recover from, even if using the security deposit. Common pet damage includes chew marks, scratch marks, soiled and ripped carpets, and destroyed landscaping. Chew marks and scratch marks can usually be repaired cost-effectively once a tenant vacates the property. Replacing carpets in a home, however, can cost thousands of dollars in materials and labor. In some extreme instances pet urine can even absorb into the subfloors of a home, creating a perfuse odor that only replacing the subfloors will resolve.
Despite the risk of pet damage, there are many benefits to property owners who consider allowing pets. There are a handful of reasons why pets can be great for your investment property, from widening your range of prospective renters, to collecting higher deposits and rents.
If we look back to the 2019 study from APPA, by not allowing pets in your rental property, more than 66% of the nation does not qualify for your home! Your pool of applicants immediately shrinks to only one third of the population. Less people interested in your home means it will be more difficult to rent, eventually leading to price reductions.
In most states, allowing pets gives property owners the opportunity to request increased security deposit amounts. This helps offset potential pet damage over the course of a tenant’s lease. In some cases, even pet rent is an acceptable method to protect your investment from the potential damage of pets.
Allowing pets can be beneficial, but it is important to understand the implications. Most home owners insurance policies have restricted breed lists for rental property owners. Although each insurance company may have their own specific list, you can find a common list of restricted breeds at www.norcalpm.com/breeds. In the event your tenant has an animal breed restricted by the insurance company, your home owners insurance may be revoked until the pet is removed from the premises. Having a home uninsured can be detrimental, so it is very important to take the proper precautions. The exception to this breed restriction is if the animal is a verified service animal. If there is documentation from a legitimate third party source detailing this, an exception may be made with the insurance company to allow the animal.
In sum, allowing pets can be a great way to make your property more attractive and profitable. Prohibiting pets from a rental property can hinder your ability to find a qualified renter quickly, and there are many ways to offset the potential damage caused by a pet. All rental property owners should consider the idea of allowing pets.
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