There is no doubt that Arizona is an animal loving state. Whether you’re talking about stores that cater specifically to animals, photographers that capture “family pictures”, or your neighborhood dog park, we love our furry friends! If you’re a homeowner thinking about renting your home, there is a lot to consider before making the decision on whether or not you should be a pet-friendly landlord.
According to the American Veterinary Association, almost 50% of renters have a pet.
Animal lovers are looking for rental homes in Phoenix and the surrounding areas that can cater to their entire family’s needs, including their pets. Different features, such as doggie doors and grassy backyards, can help attract this large population of pet owners and give you an opportunity to make more money and retain tenants.
Advantages Of Being A Pet-Friendly Landlord
The Potential for Higher Rental Income- Typically, a pet-friendly landlord is able to charge more on a monthly basis. To test this, check some of the comps in your area. Do they allow pets? If so, are they comparable to other homes or do they charge more? You’ll notice that by allowing pets, you’re in much higher demand. The pool of tenants that you’re attracting are willing to pay the money for a property that will allow their entire family, animal and all.
Tenants Stay Longer- A pet-friendly landlord is often about to enjoy longer tenancies from their renters. Even if it means paying higher rent, tenants with pets have been found to stay longer than tenants without pets by an average of 46 months, according to a 2005 Firepaw study.
Lower Vacancy Rates- The same study also found that the vacancy rate for pet-friendly housing was significantly lower than “No Pets Allowed” rentals. Landlords also rented their properties faster, spending less than half the usual amount of time marketing pet-friendly accommodations. Talk about really getting the most out of your investment!
Larger Tenant Pool to Draw From- With almost 50% of renters owning pets and only a handful of rental homes that will allow them, you are opening up a larger selection of renters to choose from. This gives you the ability to select only the best tenants for your home. Every property owner appreciates having a family that you can trust living in your property!
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking… “What about issues like property damage and complaints from my neighbors?”
To mitigate those risks, talk to a property manager about charging a larger security deposit. They can most certainly help you understand what other pet-friendly landlords charge, and work with you to settle on a fair fee. Obviously, you will want to check with Arizona’s pet related legislation first to make sure you are allowed to charge pet related fees.
You can also draw up your lease to include a monthly pet fee that would cover things like property damage, higher insurance fees, etc. You might also want to think about putting boundaries on your lease. By documenting how many pets are allowed in your home, stating size restrictions and rules on whether they need to be spayed or neutered, you’re ensuring that you don’t have any surprises.
Remember, being a pet lover to you might mean 1 small dog… to another, it could mean a small zoo! Don’t make the mistake of miscommunications occurring between you and your tenants.
If you own a multi-unit complex, or home that shares a wall with another home, consider taking extra precautions. In the lease, you can require that all pets be up-to-date on their shots and can even require a health certificate. Some homeowners will even request an obedience-training certificate to reduce the chances of having an ill-trained dog living in their home. If your property is located in a family-friendly neighborhood, this might be something to consider.
What about service dogs?
Even if you have decided that you do not want to allow pets at your rental property, you do not have a choice when it comes to an applicant that is disabled and requires a service animal. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals including guide and signal animals are not considered “pets.” Landlords who have a “No Pets Allowed” policy cannot refuse a disabled person a service dog. Make sure you aren’t discriminating against anyone with disabilities by barring service animals from your property.
There are a lot of benefits to consider when deciding whether to allow pets in your rental property or not. That said, you will want to do some research and make the best decision for you and your property.
Have questions about how to screen and select quality tenants with pets? On Q Property Management can help you find trustworthy people for your rental property. Screening prospective tenants is the secret to reducing your chances of damage from both pets and their owners.
What other ways can homeowners ensure tenants are responsible for their pets? Leave your comments below.