Rental Property Pet Policy and Recommendations for Landlords

Philadelphia pet policy

As a Philly rental property owner, you know one of the most commonly asked questions from potential tenants is, “Do you allow pets on the property?” Despite the horror stories you may have heard from other property owners, adjusting your rental property pet policy to allow for some animals comes with a number of benefits.

Benefits of Pet Policies for Rental Units

The prospective tenant pool for any given property is significantly higher if you allow pets. Before you throw out the idea of allowing pets on your property, consider a customized rental property pet policy. In order to benefit from the vast majority of renters who seek a pet-friendly home, but still maintain the property, use these example restrictions:

  • Pet Limit: One pet per property
  • Pet Size: No dogs over 40 pounds
  • Pet Type: Decide if you will, or will not allow certain types of animals, like cats or reptiles
  • Breed Restrictions: Ban notoriously aggressive breeds like Huskies, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds

While implementing these restrictions may help avoid damages or dangers to residents in neighboring properties, keep in mind that the more restrictions you put in place, the smaller your tenant pool becomes.

Another way to hold the pet owner responsible for their animals’ behavior is to require a fee or pet deposit. Consider these guidelines for implementing an additional fee in your rental property pet policy:

  • Monthly Fee: Increase rent by $25 per month per pet
  • Pet Deposit: Require a refundable pet deposit in addition to the security deposit
  • One-Time Pet Fee: Require a non-refundable fee due at the lease signing for each pet

The difference between a pet deposit and a pet fee is whether the tenant gets the money back. With a pet deposit, in the event the pet causes no damage to the property, it’s your responsibility to return the deposit in full. A pet fee is a non-refundable cost that allows the tenant to own a pet, but the pet fee traditionally doesn’t cover damages caused by the animal.

Keep in mind that tenants with an emotional support animal or a service animal are exempt from paying an additional pet deposit, pet fee, or monthly pet rent. You can request proper documentation for the animal, which the tenant is required to provide per the ADA and Fair Housing Laws.

Another benefit of allowing pet owners to lease your Philly rental property is that they stay longer. A FIREPAW, Inc. survey determined tenants with pets stay in a property 46 months on average, compared to the non-pet tenants’ 18-month stay. Also, pet owners are prepared to pay more in rent because they earn a higher income. According to Practical Apartment Management, 65 percent of pet owners make over $50,000 a year. The FIREPAW, Inc. survey reveals housing that was pet-friendly charged $222 more on average than housing that was not pet-friendly—with the average rent for tenants in the study group being $1,070.

Philly Rental Property Conditions

You have the power to set stipulations on your pet policy for rental properties, and research shows that pet owners are longer-lasting tenants and tend to make more money. However, there are disadvantages to allowing pets inside the property, including:

  • Damage: Animals can tear or chew carpets, scratch wood floors, and chew molding or door frames.
  • Noise Disturbance: Neighbors may be disturbed by the barking dog, or the playful running could be bothersome to neighbors on a lower floor in an apartment setting.
  • Pet Waste Odor: The smell of pet urine or spray can be extremely difficult to remove from carpet or the padding beneath hardwood floors. Pet waste can also cause permanent stains on the flooring.
  • Loss of Future Tenants: For prospective tenants with pet allergies, a history of animals living in the unit may be a deal breaker.
  • Lack of Clean Up: Pet waste left outside can create an odor that’s offensive to neighbors and tarnish the appearance of the property.

If you do decide to allow pets on the property, check your insurance policy to ensure you’re covered for the types of breeds you allow and if there are any limitations or exclusions to the coverage.

Rental Property Pet Policy Recommendation

No one understands better than Bay Management Group Philadelphia how to properly manage a Philly rental property, especially those that allow pets. We are committed to treating our clients’ homes as we would our own. We develop pet policies that provide the most suitable tenant pool and bring in the most money for the property.

Our recommended rental property pet policy:

  • No cats permitted on the property.
  • No fish permitted on the property.
  • Birds are permitted in single-family homes with a pet deposit and pet fee. Birds are not allowed in apartments to avoid noise disturbances of other tenants.
  • Small mammals, like a weasel, hamster, or mouse, are allowed with pet deposit and pet fee.
  • Maximum of two dogs on the property based on home size and a total weight of 100 pounds.
  • Pet rent rate of $25 per month.
  • Refundable pet deposit of $500 for the first pet, $250 for the second.

Our Philadelphia Property Management company offers professional services for your Philly rental property. We will perform routine inspections throughout each tenant’s lease term to ensure your property is being adequately cared for. Our client testimonials speak to our reliability and professionalism.

Contact Bay Property Management Group Philadelphia today to learn how you can get the most for your rental property by offering a custom pet policy and expanding your pool of potential tenants.


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