Will I benefit as a landlord from renting to pet owners?
According to the most up-to-date statistics, around 70% of renters actually own a pet. You will set yourself at a massive financial disadvantage by excluding this group. But is it possible that you might actually benefit from renting to pet owners? The short answer is, yes you might well do so. There are certain financial advantages to including pet owners in your coveted group of law-abiding tenants.
The biggest financial advantage is that you can actually charge your pet-owning tenants a much higher rent. Most pet owners are aware that very often this is the case, so you will not come up against many obstacles, and are normally more than willing to pay more to find the right pet friendly property. There are not many rental properties who are willing to include pets, and as a landlord you can push your price up to reflect demand. Pet owners tend to have a better income than none pet owners, although it´s not clear why this is the case, and they will not necessarily balk at the price you are asking them to pay.
Normally pet-loving tenants are in it for the long-term as there are fewer properties willing to accept pets. Once they have found that elusive property they might well be willing to stay there for a year or more, and that means more stability for you and less turnover. No turnover equates to fewer months without tenants when you are not getting paid anything, and even spending money, refurbishing it for the next lot of tenants.
You will ensure that your property is rented out more often than not, as by including pet owners means that you have subsequently widened your pool of potential applicants. More applicants mean more choice and obviously more money.
Although not a direct financial gain, pet owners are generally far more responsible than those without animals, as they have taken on a big responsibility. Having a pet, for example, teaches children about responsibility, compassion and trust. It goes without saying then that normally they will look after your property and not let it get exposed to wreck and ruin, and having tenants that look after your place means less expense for you; fewer things to repair or replace.
Finally, people who own pets tend to be happier than those without as they see their animals as a member of the family. What does this mean for you? Happy and relaxed people are generally far easier to deal with than those who are angry or aggressive, for example. Plus, if they are content where they are, they might well be more willing to extend the lease on their agreement and your long-term, financial gains will be met.
As always we have to take the rough with the smooth, and although there are a lot of financial incentives to say “yes” to pets, there are also certain disadvantages that have to be mentioned.
Pets are more likely to damage the property, and thus your property is more at risk of being damaged with live-in pets, than without. The destruction of carpets, or wooden floors, or even the chewing of doors and scratching of walls, are all things that could potentially happen, even with domesticated animals. It is safe to say that the normal wear and tear you would expect to find after a family of tenants has moved out, will triple or even quadruple, if there are animals involved.
Following on from the above paragraph is the fact that no matter how well-behaved the animal, tenants who have pets are more likely to disturb their neighbours; whether this be an accidental bite, or destruction of property, no animal is 100% predictable and even the nicest of breeds can suddenly turn with no warning whatsoever.
Pet odours can be impossible to get rid of and may linger a long time after your tenants and their furry friends have gone, leaving you with a lot of work on your hands to make your property hospitable and odour free for the next lot of tenants. The same goes for allergens which could stick to the carpets and cause problems with any future tenants who have a pet allergy. Any issue like this might well cause them to terminate their contract, or never choose your rental in the first place, thus causing you to take a huge financial hit.
If, on the other hand, you believe that you will financially benefit renting to pet owners, at least make sure you screen your potential pets, in the same way you would tenants. A potential checklist might include questions such as, “can your vet provide a certificate demonstrating the animal’s current health and vaccination status?” or even, “does your animal have any underlying behavioural problems?” It is also worth mentioning that as a landlord you have the right to refuse certain breeds of animals, even if your property is pet friendly.
Choosing to rent your property to pet owners is a personal decision but there are definite financial benefits which you can take advantage of, as with everything, if you do the proper research and screen every potential applicant, animals included. But you must know that, according to the Fair housing Act, it´s illegal to discriminate against renting to people who cannot live without a service animal. Pet owners make up a large proportion of your potential tenants, and you will be doing yourself a disservice by excluding them. There are ways to reduce the risk when letting pet owners into your property, for example, including a pet clause in the lease agreement which would basically detail your expectations of the tenant. To be a successful, profitable landlord you must make sure all these types of bases are covered. If you are thorough there is no reason why you can´t reap certain financial benefits as a landlord who accepts pets.