The disposition of a friendly puppy or kitten can melt nearly every heart, but landlords are wise not to be fooled by the first appearance of an adorable family pet. As an investment property owner, you need to decide whether to allow pets in your rental properties. This decision must also take into account a variety of factors.
While it can feel unkind to exclude animals from your rentals, there are circumstances in which this is the best option available. No matter what stance you take, it is essential that you be clear in your policies so that you never have a misunderstanding with a tenant that can result in property damage to your Baldwin Park rental home—and damaged relationships.
Be Aware of Assistance Animal Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers protections for certain kinds of animals that live with individuals, including assistance dogs quite frequently. Make sure that you know the differences between ADA compliance for assistance animals and pets. Because certified assistance animals are extremely well trained at what they do to support individuals with disabilities, you are unlikely to experience an issue with such animals. However, the more you know about the ADA, the better equipped you are to explain your pet policies and welcome assistance animals to your rental. A property manager can offer you insight into how to make sure you comply fully with ADA regulations.
Clearly Define What Is Allowed
If you choose that you will also allow regular pets into your rental properties, decisions are not finalized. You'll want to make limits of various kinds:
- Are there kinds of animals that you prefer not to admit to your rentals?
- What about the maximum numbers of animals per unit?
- Will there be additional cleaning fees or monthly fees for having a pet?
These factors should also be spelled out clearly so that tenants know what they will be paying each month and which pets are allowed. You'll want to make sure that you lay out all fees or "pet rent" in a professional lease addendum. You'll be protected in the case of a tenant who chooses to have more or different pets than are permitted.
It is also valuable to revisit this information after your first few years as a landlord. Are your current rules fully serving you? Perhaps you've had bad experiences with particular kinds of pets, and want to become a no-cats-and-dogs property, or want to have a hard limit of two pets. These things are fine as long as they are exercised reasonably across your tenants. You must communicate clearly with everyone so that they know what to expect.
No Pets? Smaller Tenant Pool
There are some definite upsides to choosing not to admit pets:
- The wear and tear tend to be lower on your rental.
- With animals like dogs, noise and waste are reduced.
However, the estimates in the United States show that nearly 30% of households have a dog, and almost 60% have some pet. Not allowing your tenants to have pets restricts your tenant pool considerably. If you aren't having trouble finding great tenants without admitting pets, you may not experience any of this as a downside. However, if you find yourself struggling to find applicants, making your policy on pets a little more open may be the key.
If you want to start allowing more pets into your rentals slowly, add a higher-than-average pet fee. This way, if someone wants to live at your property badly, but they need to bring a pet, they will be able to do so for a fee. Be careful to balance the higher price with the potential of people bringing pets into the rental without making you aware to avoid the fee. If you keep your fees on the high side of "fair," this will ensure that people still pay them.
Ask a Property Manager: Which Pet Paw-licies Are Purrfect for My Rental?
As you can see, allowing or not allowing pets in your rentals involves more than meets the eye! Because they work across a range of rental properties, property managers here in Central Florida have a depth of experience with the pros and cons of pets.
At Verandah Properties, we understand that there are reasons to allow and to avoid pets. We'll help you figure out what factors affect your rental property that might push you towards one side or the other. An expert property manager here in the Baldwin Park area can be the ticket to maximizing the happiness of your tenants and keep your properties operating at low-maintenance.
Reach out today to learn more about Verandah Properties and how we can help you with your pet policies. Ensuring the health of your investment property is what we do! Just as you should screen a potential pet that may soon call your Baldwin Park rental home; you should be screening their owner, too! Get started with our free Tenant Screening Checklist.