Pets in rental properties have always been a controversial topic. Some landlords willingly accept animals into their rentals, while others have zero-tolerance rules.
We understand where the no-pets policies come from. Landlords fear pets will damage property, carry allergens, and disrupt the neighbors. We're not saying these things can't happen, but we believe the risk is worth the reward.
As long as your HOA or condo association permits it, we recommend allowing pets in your rental properties (with certain rules and conditions, of course). Here are the reasons why.
Reasons You Should Allow Pets in Your Rental Property
1. You Can Charge Higher Rent
Pet-friendly owners can charge a premium on their rentals. Rentals that allow pets tend to charge 20% to 30% more than the average rent. Landlord survey data shows that 73% of pet-friendly housing also requires a separate pet deposit.
Residents are willing to pay more to live in a place that accommodates their pets, and it makes sense why. When they're in the market for a new home, they won't waste their time looking at apartments with no-pet policies—they'll only want to find a rental that'll house their entire family (and that includes the furry family members).
2. Larger Tenant Pool
47% of rental properties don't allow pets, and 44% restrict the types and sizes of pets—that leaves just 9% of rental units that allow all kinds of pets. Contrast those statistics with the fact that 72% of renters have pets!
The supply and demand problem with this situation means renters have far fewer choices when it comes to finding a pet-tolerant rental home. For landlords, that means you can dramatically open up your tenant pool when you allow pets in your property (even if you have some limitations).
Expanding your pool of potential residents allows you to charge higher rent prices and find more top-notch tenants. More options mean you don't have to settle—and that's good for your property and your bottom line.
3. Your Competition Is Allowing Pets
Other rentals in your neighborhood or city are likely seeing the golden opportunity to allow pets in their properties, making them the go-to choice for these renters. Your competition gets a larger tenant pool, higher rent prices, and longer leases. You get the leftovers.
Be proactive and competitive with rentals in your area by allowing pets in your property. Remember, this doesn't exclude non-pet-owning renters from using your property—it just expands your potential market. You might accumulate additional cleaning fees, but it's worth it, especially when you look at the higher rent prices and longer leases.
4. Longer Leases
Tenants with pets tend to stay in properties longer. Tenant surveys show that residents will stay an average of 46 months in pet-friendly units, while residents who stay in no-pet properties only stick around for 18 months—that's a massive 28-month difference. That means you can experience fewer vacancies and spend less time marketing your property to new tenants.
When a resident finds a pet-friendly property they love, they stick around. It's not always easy finding other pet-tolerant properties, so they have fewer reasons to leave.
5. Lower Vacancy Rates
Vacancies can eat into your cash flow and even cause your property to lose money in the short term. They can become one of your property's most expensive costs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to control your vacancy rates:
- Screen tenants properly
- Stay on top of maintenance
- Improve your marketing
- Optimize your rent prices
- Guarantee your rent with Nomad
- Allow pets in your property
Pet-friendly rentals have a 10% vacancy rate, while other housing has a 14% vacancy rate. Fewer vacancies (and longer leases) lower your expenses and help you maintain consistent income from your rental property.
6. More Responsible Tenants
Tenants with pets likely better understand how to take care of your property. Their pets are their babies, and they want the best for them—and that includes living in a safe, clean environment. While this principle isn't universally true, it's something we've found anecdotally to be valid.
Plus, tenants don't have too many pet-friendly rental options. Since they might have no other place to stay, they'll likely do a better job of doing everything they can to maintain their lease and relationship with you (the landlord).
7. Improved Reputation With Your Residents
No parent likes to see that their kids aren't invited to the party, just like no resident wants to hear that their pet isn't allowed. While you might not care too much about being the "cool" landlord, you might want to have positive relationships with your tenants, and pet-friendly policies help you do that.
8. Sneaking and Rule-Breaking Prevention
Pet restrictions can be challenging for renters, especially when they can't find any pet-friendly place to live. When you create strict regulations against pets, you increase the likelihood that tenants will bend the rules and sneak in pets.
The downside to this is that renters might sneak in pets and not follow laws you could have outlined in a more lenient set of requirements. When you have a no-pets-allowed policy, you lose the opportunity to have control over this aspect.
Additionally, you lose the chance to reap the rewards of pet-friendly policies (and still have to deal with pets). You don't get to collect higher rent or a pet deposit—and you don't get the benefit of opening your rental property to a larger tenant pool.
9. Greater Inclusivity and Accessibility
Your rental property is a business, but that doesn't mean you can't make the world a better place. An old report estimates that shelters kill 4.2 million dogs and cats every year because they lack a home.
Allowing pets in your property gives pet owners access to more housing options, and that could be a life-changing factor. You could change someone's life and increase the profitability of your rental unit by permitting pets—that's a win-win for everyone.
10. Shorter Time on Market
Surveys show that pet-friendly units took 19 days to find a tenant, while non-pet-friendly units took 29 days. A shorter time on the market means fewer vacancies for you, and that leads to less money left on the table. If you're having a hard time renting your property quickly, consider changing your pet policies.
11. Fewer Advertising Spend
Advertising spend and time on the market go hand in hand, but it's worth noting that surveys show advertising spend for pet-friendly housing is less than half as much as other housing. When the cost of acquiring a tenant is lower, you make more from every contract.
Want to Deny Pets? They Might Get Permission Anyways
Despite the reasons we outlined above, you still might want to prohibit pets in your properties. That's your choice. Unfortunately, no-pet policies might not make much of a difference.
The Federal Fair Housing Act and Americans With Disabilities Act forbid housing providers from excluding or discriminating against service animals, emotional support animals (ESAs), or their owners. You won't be able to deny these animals or residents in your property, and you must make reasonable accommodations for them.
What this means for you is that certain pets and their owners will still be eligible to stay in your property, but you don't get the opportunity to raise rates or expand your tenant pool.
Want to learn more about laws and regulations concerning pets in rental properties? Read our article: Pets in Rental Properties: ESAs Vs. Service Animals.
Safeguard Your Property (and Profits) With a Property Protection Plan
Property damage tends to be the biggest fear for landlords hesitant to adopt pet-friendly regulations. However, the financial rewards seem to outweigh the concerns.
When landlords reported damages, the average cost was $430—much lower than the average renter or pet deposit. Furthermore, your rental property should have a property protection plan to cover damages in excess of your tenant's security deposit (though the averages indicate that's unlikely to happen).
For example, if a Nomad resident ever leaves behind damage in excess of their security deposit, Nomad's Property Protection Plan will cover costs up to $500,000. It will take a King-Kong-sized pet to incur damage costs anywhere close to that.
Take the Stress of Out Renting Your Investment Property
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