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Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental? A Guide for Landlords

At Bay Property Management Group, we often get questions from our clients asking for advice about pet policy. For example, should you allow pets in your rental property? 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. So, read along as we go over some of the main benefits and disadvantages.


Contents of This Article: 

Pros and Cons of Allowing Pets in Your Rental

If you’re questioning whether or not you should allow pets in your rental property, it’s crucial to explore the pros and cons. After all, there are several benefits and drawbacks to allowing tenants to move into your rentals with their pets. Additionally, it’s important that you and your property managers in Philadelphia are on the same page. That said, let’s explore some of the main points to consider before making a decision. 

Benefits of Allowing Pets in Your Rentals

  • Larger Tenant Market: It is a chance to significantly expand your tenant market to include pet owners because a lot of people have pets these days.
  • Faster Leasing: 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.
  • Higher Returns: Implementing pet fees, pet deposits, or pet rent is common practice among rental owners. That way, you can ensure the tenant covers potential damages. 


Disadvantages of Allowing Pets in Your Rentals

  • 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, and 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 and 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 that are 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 eliminate 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.

Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?

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 most important points to include in your pet policy include the following:


  • 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
  • The cost of 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 responsibility for any property damage caused by pets
  • Penalties for the violation of this policy

Do You Have to Accept Service Animals in a Rental?

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, including those that require service animals. As such, landlords must allow service animals for tenants that need them, even if there’s a no-pets policy. 


According to the Fair Housing Act, service animals are not considered pets, so landlords cannot discriminate against tenants who require a service animal as a reasonable accommodation. As such, landlords cannot charge additional pet fees or pet rent for service animals. Additionally, they may not place breed or size restrictions on service animals. 

When it comes to emotional support animals (ESAs), they’re not the same as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, they’re still considered a reasonable accommodation under the FHA in certain instances. As such, you cannot deny an emotional support animal for tenants in need.

When handling service animals, landlords may ask for documentation to verify that a tenant’s animal is a service animal and is required as a reasonable accommodation. However, they cannot ask about a tenant’s disability or request proof of training or certification. It’s important to navigate the situation carefully, so you may want to review your policy with an attorney or a professional property management company.

Protect Your Rentals With Property Management

As Baltimore property managers, we recommend disclosing whether a pet has ever occupied the property to your potential tenants. You don’t want a tenant to find out he or she is allergic a few weeks after moving in. Additionally, remember that size is not always the key decision factor when it comes to pets. After all, a small pet can do just as much damage as a large one. 

If you’re deciding whether or not to allow pets in your rental property, keep the pros and cons in mind. Additionally, think about how you’ll manage the properties and clean them in between each rental tenant. One of the best ways to ensure your rentals are well-maintained is by hiring comprehensive property management. 

Need More Advice? contact us today!

Bay Property Management Group has top-notch property managers that will care for your rentals just as you would. So, if you’re looking for a full-service management team in or around Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, or Washington, DC, be sure to contact BMG.