The question of whether to allow or not to allow pets is one that property owners always face. There can be both advantages and disadvantages to allowing pets, so it is important to understand both the pros and the cons prior to make a decision.
Pros of Allowing Pets
Perhaps the biggest advantage of allowing pets in your rental property is that you will be more competitive. The simple fact is that most property owners do not allow pets. By allowing pets, you may be able to attract more tenants and potentially even collect higher rents. Before you rush out to advertise that your property is pet friendly, it is important to keep in mind that many property owners ban pets for a reason….in fact, several.
Cons of Allowing Pets
Regardless of the fact that most tenants will swear to the moon and back that their pet is completely trained and that they are a responsible pet owner, there is really no telling whether your tenant will actually care for their pet.
There is no getting around the fact that a pet means the potential for stains on the furniture and flooring. Furthermore, less-than-responsible pet owners may leave pet messes in the common areas, which can cause a disturbance to neighbors as well as a hygiene issue.
When you allow your tenants to have pets, you run the risk that the property will smell of urine and just plain pet. Additionally, smells are not easy to mask, which means that when the tenant leaves, you may well need to replace the carpeting.
Whether or not you rent a unit that is furnished, there is still the potential for scratches. The first time that Fido or Fluffy becomes afraid or bored, he or she may leave scratches on the walls, the floors, and everything else. This can make your unit look worn out and less than appealing to future tenants.
Even if your tenant has what appears to be a fluffy, friendly pet, there is still the potential for an accident to happen. While it should be the responsibility of your tenant if their dog bites someone or their cat decides to claw someone, as the landlord, you could be dragged into it, as well.
Incessant barking or the yowling of a cat does not a pleasant night's sleep make. The last thing you want is to have the neighbors calling and complaining because a tenant's pet is creating a disturbance.
Rather than simply banning all pets, you could opt for a middle of the road policy in which you allow some pets but not all. For instance, some property owners will only allow "small" pets that are less than 25 pounds. Other property owners will insist upon a pet interview before approving a pet. Another option would be to charge a pet fee and deposit, but keep in mind that even that may not be enough to cover significant damages.