Everyone loves their pets. In fact, most people won’t move somewhere if they can’t take their pet with them. However, finding rentals that accept pets can be difficult. After all, landlords decide whether or not they will allow pets to live in their rental properties. If you’re on the fence about whether you should accept pets in your rental properties or not, keep reading as we go over why you should consider it.
Why Should You Allow Pets?
If you’re skeptical about allowing pets in your rental properties, there are a few statistics that may change your mind. For example, about 72% of renters have pets. However, most people struggle to find rentals that accept pets. If you decide to allow pets in your rental, your prospective tenant pool becomes much wider.
Unfortunately, only around 55% of landlords allow pets, leaving some tenants struggling to find pet-friendly housing. However, as a landlord, when you allow pets in your rentals, there are benefits for you and your renters. For example, besides the fact that more people will be interested in your property, you may be able to charge a higher rent price or require a pet deposit.
Additionally, people who own pets are generally responsible and know how to care for things properly. This can be a major green flag for landlords looking for respectful tenants. Furthermore, pet owners will likely want to renew their lease once it’s up. After all, it’s hard to find rentals that accept pets. So, if they have a good experience with you, they likely won’t want to take the time and effort to find a similar rental. It’s a win-win for both parties!
Next, let’s go over some ways you can hold tenants accountable and reduce the risk of allowing pets in your rentals.
A Pet Deposit vs. Pet Rent vs. A Pet Fee
If you decide that you’re going to allow pets to live in your rentals, there are a few ways you can ensure you’re not losing out on profits or damaging your rental property. If you’ve contemplated allowing pets in your rentals, you may have heard a few different ways that landlords combat potential damages. Keep reading to learn about pet deposits, pet rent, and pet fees.
A Pet Deposit
A pet deposit is similar to a regular security deposit. It’s a refundable fee that tenants pay at the beginning of a lease term. If there are no pet damages throughout the lease period, you’ll have to return the deposit, as you would a standard security deposit. Overall, a pet deposit is excellent if you’re worried about potential damages from the tenant’s pet.
Pet rent is a monthly fee you charge tenants on top of their regular rent payment. Generally, the amount you charge for pet rent is relatively low, making it desirable for tenants. Instead of paying a large sum for a pet deposit, paying small amounts each month seems more feasible. However, if you don’t charge enough for pet rent each month, it may not cover potential damages.
A Pet Fee
Pet fees are a one-time, non-refundable payment at the beginning of a tenancy. Although there’s no benefit for tenants, a pet fee compensates landlords for taking the risk of allowing pets. However, the initial pet fee amount may not cover extensive damages, and a non-refundable fee may turn some tenants away.
If you’re wondering how much to charge for a pet deposit, rent, or fees, just keep reading.
How Much to Charge for Pet Deposits, Rent, or Fees
Fees, rent, and deposits for pets in rentals may vary depending on rental rates and landlord preferences. Ultimately, it’s up to you how much to charge for these separate fees. However, it’s best to choose one and stick with it. You don’t want to charge a pet deposit and monthly pet rent, as it may turn away quality tenants.
While prices vary depending on several factors, pet deposits generally range from $100 to $500. It’s important to consider the monthly rental rate, regular security deposit amount, and the type of pet that will be living there. On the other hand, pet fees may range from $50 to $500. Generally, pet fees depend on the size, weight, and type of pet.
Pet rent is a bit different since it’s charged monthly along with regular rent. That said, landlords typically charge around 1% to 3% of the normal rate. For instance, if the rent is $1,200 per month, you may charge around $12 to $36, depending on how many pets live there and what type of pets.
Now that you have a good idea of what to charge for rentals that accept pets, let’s go over how to screen pets and what documentation to require.
How to Screen Pets and Documentation to Require
Just as you’d screen a tenant, you’ll want to ask several questions about their pet during the screening process. Luckily, if you’re working with a property management company in Philadelphia, you can count on them to ask pet screening questions.
Along with finding the time to meet the pet, you’ll want to ask some of the following questions:
- What is the pet’s name, age, and breed?
- How old is your pet?
- Is your pet house trained?
- How long have you had your pet?
- Are they neutered or spayed?
- When you’re not home, where will your pet stay?
- Will you be okay with regular inspections to ensure there’s no pet damage?
- Is your pet friendly with strangers or visitors?
- Are you willing to pay a pet fee or pet deposit to live with your pet?
- Can I meet your pet? If so, when’s a good time?
If you want to ensure a safe environment for all of your tenants and their guests, you may want to request pet documentation. For instance, you may ask your tenant for proof of pet vaccinations to ensure they’re up to date. You may also require your tenant’s pets to wear identification, such as a name tag with a phone number.
Once you’ve covered your bases and feel comfortable knowing more about your tenant’s pet, you can decide whether you’ll allow pets in your rental. If you do, you’ll want to add some rules and expectations to the lease.
Tips for Creating a Pet Addendum
If you decide to allow pets in your rentals, it’s best to create a pet addendum in your lease agreement. A pet addendum generally includes basic information about the pet and specific rules you have about the property. For instance, if you’ll conduct regular inspections to check for pet damage, include it in the lease.
Make sure to outline your expectations and clearly state the consequences of pet damages. Generally, if there are damages to the rental due to pets, you’ll keep the pet deposit instead of returning it at the end of the lease.
Protect Your Rentals with Property Management
When you offer rentals that accept pets, you want to ensure your property is well-maintained and taken care of. However, when you own several rental properties, it’s hard to ensure compliance, perform maintenance, and complete tenant screenings. However, when you hire a property management team, you can feel at ease knowing your rentals are fully compliant and managed professionally.
Bay Property Management Group is a top-notch company that offers comprehensive rental management services. We’ll take care of the day-to-day tasks of your rental properties, so you don’t have to! If you’re looking to take some of the hard work off your plate, contact BMG today. We offer services in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC.