Pets, or No Pets. That’s the question that plagues everyone in real property management.
Turns out dogs aren’t just man’s best friend. Allowing pets in rental apartments is also a major profit-generator for landlords.
That probably seems counterintuitive, because the long-standing preference of rental property management is to ban pets. But times are changing.
During the recent U.S. recession — back when no one could find a job — the tenant pool got a little sketchy. That forced many real estate and property management professionals to consider pet-friendly rentals in order to close a rental lease.
Today, more people own pets than ever before. Entire industries, from doggie daycare and spas to DNA testing of poop violators, have emerged from this trend.
Many landlords are resistant to the idea of allowing animals into rental apartments. They want to avoid rental property management nightmares like property damage, noise complaints, and higher landlord insurance premiums.
But, a survey entitled Companion Animals Renters and Pet-Friendly Housing in the U.S., conducted by an agency known as FIREPAW, shows that those fears may be unjustified.
According to the survey results, based on landlord input:
About one-half of all real property management allow pets in rental apartments.
- Large complexes (more vacancies) are most likely to allow a pet.
- Pets increase tenant retention. Tenants with pets stay significantly longer — 46 months on average, compared to 18 months for no-pet tenants.
- Landlords who advertise pet-friendly receive on average twice as many rental applicants, and spend half as much money and time filling vacancies.
The survey also showed that, while most landlords did encounter damage at some point in time, the units with no pets generated nearly the same costs.
In 2012, Apartments.com, a premier real estate website, announced the results of its nationwide pet-preference survey of apartment renters. There, 43% of renters surveyed said they already have a pet, and more than a quarter of those who didn’t have a pet said they planned to within the year, confirming that the pool of qualified candidates grows substantially in pet-friendly rental apartments.
If you are still on the fence about pets, keep in mind that there are effective real property management strategies that can significantly mitigate the risks:
Landlords can deduct pet damage from the security deposit. In some states, an additional deposit can be collected specifically to cover any pet damage.
Pets can be regulated. Rental property management can craft policies that keep the peace and reduce the risk of any injuries.
Pet owners can be pre-screened. A reference from a previous landlord, a vet, local Humane Society or trainer can settle whether the applicant is a responsible pet owner. If not, then they are not qualified.
Rental apartment can be “pet-proofed” by real property management. For instance, next time the carpet needs upgraded, it can be replaced with a easier-to-clean material. Adjusting for pets can be preferable to sustaining damage from tenants who sneak pets into the building.
Still not convinced? Here’s a shameless tug at the heartstrings: In tight rental markets with far too few pet-friendly rental apartments, tenants have to choose between a roof over their heads and a beloved pet. Soon, the local animal shelter will fill to the brim with loved but abandoned pets. That agency will be forced to beg for donations needed to keep the animals alive until they can be adopted. Not only does a pet-friendly real property management policy make good business sense, it gives you an opportunity to give back to the local community, and to be a hero.