You have a strict no-pet policy for your rental properties.
You don't want to deal with the pet hair, smells, or stains they leave behind. Pets cause damage to property. It's hard to find good tenants after a pet has lived in your property.
Those are all excellent reasons to have a no-pet policy as a landlord. Should you reconsider it?
You might find some benefits to allowing renters with pets. If you have a multi-family property, you should definitely consider how strict you want to be about pets. About 70% of apartment renters have pets.
Should you allow pets when considering your policies for property management in Jacksonville, FL? Here are a few things to consider when it comes to renters who own animals.
Is it a Pet—Or a Service Animal?
We already mentioned a few excellent reasons not to deal with pets in your rental properties.
Pets can be a hassle during a lease term. It can also add difficulty and headache when cleaning a rental and making repairs between tenants.
However, you might run into a tenant situation that requires you to relax your no-pet policy.
Landlord requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires you to allow a service animal for a tenant with a disability.
Trust us. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the ADA when it comes to providing reasonable accommodations.
When determining if you need to adjust your pet policy for a tenant with a disability, know the criteria of a service animal. Not all animals can qualify for accommodations as a service animal.
According to the ADA, a service animal qualifies when:
- It is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
- The task(s) performed by the dog is directly related to the person's disability.
A tenant's potbelly pig that can fetch a water bottle from the fridge does not count as a service animal.
Also, keep in mind that allowing a service dog for a tenant doesn't mean you have to allow pets for all tenants. You can maintain your general pet policy for tenants who don't require accommodation.
When Pets are a Benefit
Other than service animals, allowing pets could be a benefit to your rental property business.
When you exclude all pets, you also restrict your pool of potential tenants. When you have fewer tenants to choose from, you risk having to select from the best of the worst tenants for your properties.
Most landlords would prefer a great tenant with a pet versus a bad tenant without a pet.
Pet owners typically make good tenants. They often struggle to find suitable rental properties that allow pets. When they find one, they want to stay as long as they can.
You're likely to see an increase in renewals when you allow pet-owning tenants.
Pet owners also take good care of their pets. It makes sense that they'll also take good care of your property.
However, in the event of pet damage, the pet deposit helps cover the cost of deep cleaning and repairs caused by pets. When you require renter's insurance, extensive issues cause by the tenant's pets should fall under their liability coverage.
Consider Pets Within Reason
Allowing pets doesn't mean you have to allow all pets. You can say no to oversize dogs, a Burmese python, or that helpful potbelly pig if you're not comfortable with something a tenant might claim as a "pet."
You'll also want to make sure other tenants or neighbors can live in harmony with pets in your rental properties.
Establish guidelines for pet owners who live in your rental properties.
- Restrict allowable pets to cats, dogs, and small animals like fish or hamsters.
- Add a maximum size limit to exclude large dogs.
- Create guidelines for cleaning up after pets on the property and enforcing noise complaints.
- Make it easy for pet owners to contact you when damage occurs.
Document all pet policies and fees with an addendum to your general lease contract.
Work with your pet owners. You'll find they appreciate your help making a home for them and their pets.
Get Help With Pet-Friendly Policies
If you decide pets are the best idea for your rental properties, that's not a bad decision. Your properties are your investment.
However, if you decide the risk of a little pet dander is worth it, let a Jacksonville, FL property management company help.
Green River Property Management can help you define (and enforce) your pet policies. If you don't want to deal with deep cleaning or repairs from pet damage, let the professionals take that off your hands.
You'll still benefit from good tenants and pet owners who renew their lease because they love the home you provide for them and their pets.
Questions? Let our experts help.