Pets in rentals

Pets can do damage, but there are many reasons for allowing them. Ultimately, the decision comes down to a cost/benefit analysis by the property owner or management company of permitting pets.

What are the Pros of Allowing Pets

Larger Tenant Pool – About 70 percent of the US population owns a pet. Zillow states that 75 percent of millennials own a pet. Permitting pets widens the pool of potential renters for a property.

Higher Rent – Allowing pets give a property a leg up on the competition in a tight rental market. Higher lease rates offset the risk of potential damage caused by pets.

Longer Tenure – Dogs and cats reduce stress and make tenants feel at home in their rental. Happy renters tend to renew. Renewing avoids the hassle of finding another place since leaseholders know most owners and property management companies do not allow pets.

Pet Owners Make Responsible Tenants – Pet owners are generally more responsible since they take the time and effort to care for animals. The chances are that they will be a reliable tenant as well.

Timely Rent Payments – A study by Practical Apartment Management shows that 65 percent of pet owners earn a good living, so renting to them means fewer incidences of nonpayment.

What are the Cons of Allowing Pets

Property Damage – Dogs over 50 pounds can be tough on properties. They can scratch, stain, and tear up floors, carpet, walls, fixtures, and landscaping. Dogs and cats leave a distinct smell that lingers for years if allowed to urinate on wood floors. Offensive odor can result in tenants filing complaints.

Barking – Some dogs bark and become a nuisance to adjacent properties. Excessive barking in Denver can result in a violation notice, fines, or mandatory court summons. 

Vacancy – In multi-unit properties, barking and rough-housing infringe on other tenants’ right to a quiet and peaceful property. The tenant without a pet may move out of the rental because of the constant noise. Also, some tenants may be forced to move because of an allergic reaction to pet hair and dandruff.

Screening Tenants with Pets

If pets are allowed, check the tenant’s references to find out whether or not there were past problems with their pets. It is probably a good idea to meet the potential renter’s dog. The pet’s reaction to a stranger will tell the landlord if the animal is a good match for the rental property.

Fair Housing Law

The Federal Fair Housing law states that a property manager or owner cannot deny housing to a person with a service dog. The problem is that the definition of “disabled” broadens yearly. Tenants clinically depressed or with post-traumatic conditions often rely on service dogs to provide emotional support. To avoid any issues, ask the potential renter to provide proof that their dog is a service dog.

Lease Pet Policy

Owners and property management companies who decide to allow pets should include a pet addendum in their lease and require every tenant to sign it. The addendum clearly states whether or not pets are permitted, the rental’s pet policy, and all responsibilities expected of the pet owner. If violated, it will be considered a breach of contract.

The decision to make your property pet-friendly should not be taken lightly. Owners and property managers should weigh the pros and cons of allowing pets when making this decision. Owners, if you need some help deciding on whether to allow pets, call DenCO Property Management & Sales at 303-722-9688. We are at your service.