Allowing Pets in Rental Units: Benefits vs. Risks

Allowing Pets in Rental Units Benefits vs RisksTypically in real estate, where there is great risk, there is also the opportunity for great gain.  Pets and rentals are no exception. According to the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA), Americans now own approximately 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats.That translates into nearly 50 % of homeowners owning at least one dog and more than 45 % owning at least one cat.

If you are thinking about making your rental unit pet friendly, it would be wise to immediately put some restrictions in place that could mitigate potential damage.


  • Additional income from increased rent or pet fees
  • Larger pool of tenants to choose from
  • Increased tenant enjoyment
  • Tenants with animals may sign longer leases


  • Potential damage to the property
  • Physical injury to neighbors or yourself
  • Possible noise nuisance
  • Allergens and dander in the air ducts and carpet

4 Ways to Mitigate Risks

1. Get References and Screen the Tenant

When it comes to allowing pets into your property, it pays to ask for, and check on, references from potential tenants. Callall former landlords and getthe scoopon your applicant’s (and their pet’s) behavior. Ask the former landlord if they would rent to them again.

2. Charge a Higher Rent

Allowingpetscanbringinextramoneyeach month.Accordingto MSN RealEstateandFirepaw, owners can charge 20-30% more for units allowing pets.

This extra income will be a result of supply and demand and by allowing pets, you can charge a premium in the rent, which most pet-owners will pay.

3. Collect a Larger Security Deposit

In addition to charging a higher rent, you can add an additional “pet deposit”(because of the additional risk) as long as you stay within your state’s maximum allowable amount.

All tenants with pets, should be required to pay for a professional carpet and air duct cleaning.  This is to remove any pet dander and allergens so that people with allergies are not excluded from the pool of future tenants.

4. Require that a Pet be Spayed or Neutered

Animals that have been spayed or neutered, are often more behaved. Neutered males do not feel the need to roam around, patrol the neighborhood, engage in fighting, mark their territory (as much), and display inappropriate sexual mounting. Spayed females will not go into heat and will not bleed on your carpet.  Females in heat often urinate frequently and yowl to attract males.

Makesureyourleaseisveryspecificand ask your tenants to sign a pet agreement that specifies the type of animals you will allow in therental.

Ideas by Lucas Hall, and landlordology

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