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Should I accept pets at my rental property?

Should I accept pets at my rental property?

This is a common question we get from new landlords. Trust us, after years of move out inspections, we can understand a property owner's initial hesitation to accept pets. Often, owners make this decision without prior landlord experience and based on emotions. Accepting pets at your rental property should be a business decision, not an emotional one. Because of this, we’ll breakdown the reasons why it’s financially smart to accept pets at your rental property and then discuss the negatives of accepting pets. Similar to there being pros and cons to being a landlord, there are also pros and cons to accepting pets at your rental property. 

Pros of accepting pets at your rental property:

Your property will rent faster when you accept pets. For this reason, there is a big financial incentive to accept pets. We find that nearly 70% of Pensacola renters have pets. This means your property will rent much faster and for more money when you accept pets as your pool of available renters increases drastically.

We also collect a $250 non-refundable pet fee at move in for each pet residing at your property. This helps to offset leasing fees and turnover expenses. It also helps to offset any damages a pet may cause. 

At Realty Masters, you have control over what pets you’d like to accept at your property unless the renters provide service animal or assistance animal documentation. We typically set pet restrictions based off preferences and say they are accepted on owner’s approval. This allows you control over which pets to accept or pass on. If you’re set on not allowing a specific type of pet, we can restrict those animals. We can limit the number of pets as well as the weight, breed, or age of an animal. Some owners have had bad experiences with cats, larger dogs, or puppies. If you don't want to accept a cat that is not spayed or neutered, we can add those restrictions. We also have basic breed restrictions for renters based on insurance company regulations that may exclude certain breeds from your coverage.   

We find that responsible tenants who meet the criteria most often are responsible pet owners who take good care of their pets and limit damage done by pets in your property. Having a thorough screening process to properly vet your tenants, along with a recent rental reference from the current and previous landlord, helps to screen out bad tenants who do not care for their pets.  

Finally, some renters will sneak in pets whether or not you approve them. Allowing them with approval helps you to control what type of pets your tenants get and to charge them a fee for the privilege of having pets. 

Cons of accepting pets at your rental property:

The obvious reason some owners are scared to accept pets at their rental properties is because animals can cause damage to the property. Specifically, we see pet damage most common among homes with a lot of carpeting. We’ve also seen scratching or biting on doors and door frames when animals are not properly supervised. Reducing the amount of carpeting in your home can make it more pet friendly. 

There is some liability in accepting pets at your rental property as it’s possible that someone can get bitten and try to sue the pet owner and landlord alike. While these instances are very rare, it’s possible. Luckily, we've not have to handle a situation like this one. Keep in mind, this liability exists if a tenant sneaks a pet on the property or if they have an assistance animal or service animal also.

Other considerations when accepting pets:

  • If your property is located in a homeowners or especially a condo owners association, they may have restrictions against tenants with pets. Keep this in mind when setting your pet policies.
  • If your property doesn’t have a large yard or a space for pets to use the bathroom outside, you may choose only to accept small pets that don’t need as much exercise or not to accept pets at all.
  • Some owners have serious pet allergies and prefer to keep their home pet free. Keep in mind, we cannot promise this will be the case as a growing number of tenants have service and assistance animals that cannot be denied even in these instances. 

Regardless of your pet preferences, we’re here to support you in your investment goals and will do our best to lease your rental home as fast as possible to a qualified tenant. Let us know if you have specific questions about accepting pets at your Pensacola rental property.