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Should You Allow Pets in Your Baltimore County Income Property?

At Bay Property Management Group, we often get questions from our clients asking for advice about pet policy. There are both pros and cons of allowing pets on your income property, and we are here today to help you make a more informed decision.

Advantages of allowing pets:

  • It is a chance to significantly expand your tenant market to include pet owners because a lot of people have pets these days.
  • Now that the property is appealing to more people, you can get it rented or leased faster. And as a property management company in Baltimore County, we know that when you are not making money from renting, you are losing it on paying bills.
  • Potential for a higher rent: ret surcharge for pet owners is a common practice among property managers.

Disadvantages of allowing pets:

  • Property damage: even if the tenant moves in with his own furniture, there are still plenty of things a pet can destroy in the apartment that belongs to you. We are talking about scratched-up doors, torn wallpaper, urine-saturated floorboards – the repairs can be costly.
  • Noise complaints: pets, dogs, in particular, can be noisy. Some might have bad habits like barking at cars, pedestrians or howling when left alone or neglected. This is something to consider if your property is in an apartment complex or has close neighbors
  • Smell issues: if the tenant is not on top of pet care, the overflowing litter boxes or unattended pet “accidents” will create quite a stinky environment. The smell will get absorbed by walls and furniture, and sometimes can be strong enough to bother the neighbors.
  • Pests: pets not protected from fleas can bring them in from the outside and infest your property.
  • Allergies: some people are allergic to cats, dogs and other furry creatures. After your pet-owning tenant moves out, it will take a lot of scrubbing, cleaning and disinfecting to get rid of the allergy-causing pet dander.  It’s very difficult to clean it out completely, so certain people with high sensitivity to allergens will never be able to rent from you.

It is your call whether to allow pets on your property or not. The tough part is that there is no guarantee allowing pets will have either a positive or negative impact on your income property. Depending on the property market, condition, location and other factors, a pet-friendly property may or may not get rented faster. Similarly, depending on the pet training and care, pets may or may not damage your property or be a nuisance.  If you do decide to allow pets, be sure to include a pet policy in the rental contract.

Some of the points to include in your pet policy:

  • Total number of pets allowed
  • Type of pets allowed: specific kind of animal, breed, weight, size, etc.
  • Types of pets that are not allowed: poisonous, exotic, aggressive, etc.
  • Provisions for pets contained in cages
  • Cost associated with keeping a pet on your property: security deposit to cover damages, rent surcharge, cost per pet, etc.
  • Emergency contact for pet care in case the owner fails to provide proper care
  • Whether a tenant is allowed to get pets after moving in and the reporting/application process for it
  • Vaccination, tags and other requirements for pets
  • Tenant’s responsibilities regarding the pets
  • Tenant’s financial responsibilities for any property damage caused by pets
  • Penalties for the violation of this policy

As Baltimore property managers, we recommend disclosing to your potential tenants whether a pet has ever occupied the property. You don’t want a tenant to find out he or she is allergic a few weeks after moving in. Remember, size is not always the key decision factor when it comes to pets. A shiatsu can easily do more damage than a German shepherd. Training is the key. An untrained animal will be a nuisance no matter how small and innocent it looks.