How do you feel about pets?
Maybe you love your own pets, but you’re not sure you want dogs and cats inside your rental property.
This is understandable. Even well-behaved pets come with risks.
However, when it comes to allowing them in your rental property, you may want to consider the risks against the rewards. Most pet-friendly properties do better on the rental market, especially here in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Socastee, and Surfside Beach. More than half of the tenants currently looking for a new home have at least one pet.
Those tenants would never dream of moving into a new home without their furry friends. When you’re renting out a property, you’ll have to consider that a large majority of your potential residents will have pets.
Not allowing pets will only reduce the size of your potential tenant pool.
Providing a pet-friendly rental property comes with a number of other benefits. With a larger tenant pool to pull from, you’ll have a lower vacancy rate and fewer turnovers, which means more income for you.
We want to talk about those benefits in case you’re still on the fence about whether to allow pets. We’re also acknowledging the risks and how they can be mitigated, especially with a good property management partner and a strong pet policy.
For some rental property owners, allowing pets is a no-brainer. Maybe you have your own pets who you cherish or maybe you believe that not allowing pets is just bad for business. When you do allow pets into your rental home, you set yourself up for a pretty successful investment experience. While there are always risks to bringing animals into a rental home, the pros of allowing them generally outweigh the risks for a lot of landlords.
Here’s why it makes sense to allow pets on your property.
Lower Vacancy and Turnover Rates
When you allow pets, you attract more potential renters. You don’t have to worry about alienating those tenants who are specifically looking for pet-friendly homes.
Not only do you attract more tenants when you allow pets, you also hold onto those tenants. Studies have shown that tenants who are living in a rental home with pets are more likely to renew a lease agreement than those tenants who do not have pets.
The reasoning is easy to understand. Tenants with pets understand that not all rental properties will be welcoming. So, when they find a great place to live that allows their pets, they won’t want to struggle to find another pet-friendly property. They also don’t want to pay another pet fee or deposit at a new home every year.
Higher Rents with Pet Fees and Pet Rent
Not only do you have the potential to earn more rent when you allow pets, you can also collect some extra money up front. Most property owners will charge a pet fee. A pet fee is non-refundable, which means you can keep the entire fee even if you don’t need it to cover pet damage or cleaning after a tenant moves out.
Pet rent can also be charged every month, raising your revenue. Most rental property owners will charge between $25 and $50 per month, per pet. That’s a lot of extra income if you have a tenant moving in with two cats or a dog and a cat.
Putting Together a Pet Policy
A detailed and well-enforced pet policy will protect your investment and demonstrate to tenants what you expect in terms of behavior, maintenance, and cleanliness. Establish limits and guidelines in your pet policy as well so there aren’t any misunderstandings or potential conflicts.
Some of the things you’ll want to include might be:
- Limits on the number of pets you’ll allow in your rental property. You can say one pet only or two pets. This is a reasonable restriction, and it will still allow you to earn more on your property while limiting the exposure to pet damage.
- Limits on age and size. Puppies and kittens are likely to be more potential trouble than mature cats and dogs. You can include these age requirements in your pet policy. Size limits are also acceptable. Maybe you only want small dogs under 20 pounds, for example.
- Breed restrictions. Insurance companies are not always as welcoming as landlords. Check your landlord insurance policy. A lot of companies will refuse to cover what they consider to be dangerous dog breeds. Pit Bulls, for example, are on nearly every list of restricted breeds. If something happens at your property involving a Pit Bull, your insurance company may not cover you. Your pet policy must let your applicants know what kind of dogs are and are not allowed. You can set your own breed restrictions, as well. If you’re not comfortable renting to a particular dog, you can either deny the animal or request that your resident get additional coverage through their renter’s insurance.
You can also screen pets before you accept them. Ask for pictures and vet records. You can also meet the pet to see how it behaves around people. Make sure the pets are up to date on their vaccines and in good health.
There are screening services specific to pets that you can use to ensure the animal is a reasonable risk. You can also work with a local property management company when you’re not sure about the pet and whether you want to accept it.
As professional property managers (and pet owners), we recommend allowing pets in your rental home. You’ll attract more tenants, earn more income, and likely retain the residents who don’t want to go searching for another pet-friendly rental home at the end of the lease term.
Working with a property manager can further protect your property from potential pet damage. If you understand the reasons to accept pets but you’re still worried about the risks, talk to us. Please contact us at J&P Unlimited. We manage investment properties in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Surfside Beach, Murrells Inlet, Socastee and the surrounding areas.