It IS Possible to be Successful with a Pet-Friendly Rental

As a property management company, we frequently receive inquiries from people looking for available rental units that include pleading messages about permitting pets. Luckily, for the many authors of these messages, we are a very pet-friendly management company, as are the vast majority of our rental units.

I understand a landlord’s hesitation to allow pets into their rental units. We’ve all heard the stories about a cat that refused to use a litter box or a dog that chewed something it shouldn’t have. However, when a few safeguards are put into place to prevent these issues, the result is happy and thankful tenants who largely take care of the property they reside in and the pets that they love.

For example, in our rentals we conduct regular (typically quarterly) safety inspections. If a pet is damaging a home, we will typically see it before the situation is dire. We also tend to use pet-friendly surfaces whenever renovating rental properties, such as vinyl plank flooring that is scratch and water resistant. And, overall, our rental units are nicely finished and have features that will attract tenants who value a nicely kept home. These measures result in happy tenants who want to stay in their home, with their pet. This translates into less turnover for landlords, which equals less expense.

Recently, in a social media post for an animal rescue group that I follow, I saw a message about a woman who couldn’t find a new rental that would accept her dog so she was seeking a temporary home until such time that she could purchase a home that would accommodate both her and her dog. Tons of comments flooded in from others in similar situations.

Multifamily housing providers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on researching and creating an amenity-rich environment to attract prospective tenants. What if the answer was simpler? What if, providing clean and safe housing that permits tenants to have their beloved pets without breed restrictions was the answer? Multifamily providers could go as far as to provide fencing for an off-leash pet area, and the cost would be far less than the annual upkeep on a sauna, tennis court, or pool.

We are not naive to the damage pets can cause. We’ve had a chinchilla that chewed a drywall corner. We’ve had a dog that ruined carpets. We’ve had cats that refused to use a litterbox. However, in the more than 10,000 tenants that I have assisted throughout my career, only 1% of them have had pets that did substantial damage.

A 1% rate of damage from pets is a risk worth taking, in my opinion, when the benefits far outweigh the risk.

The fact is, we love our pets and that isn’t going to change. So, I encourage all landlords to evaluate their own properties to see if it can be a pet-friendly rental home. Not all properties are well-suited for pets, but most can be with minimal change. If you’re unsure, seek guidance from an experienced property management firm. It could be a change that SAVES you money.

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