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How to Rent to Pet Owners

Lets talk about allowing pets.

We have a very high demand for rental properties in Gulfport (in my office alone, we have waiting lists for people who want to rent). One of the stumbling blocks I often run into is an owners reluctance to rent to people with pets. Being such a pet friendly town, it's difficult to reconcile this with potential tenants.

In the U.S. alone, 39% of households have a dog and 33% a cat. Just to simplify, by not accepting pets you're eliminating some two-thirds of your potential rental market.

Four questions landlords can ask:

The fear of damage to the property is probably the biggest reason for the reluctance and I understand that. However there are ways to minimize that risk. The first is to simply ask questions up front.

  • Ask the potential tenant about the age, type, weight, and number of pets.
  • Ask where the pet sleeps.
  • Ask if they are spayed/neutered.
  • Even ask about the general health of the pet and if it's up to date on inoculations and flea/parasite control.

These questions are really more about understanding if your potential tenant is a responsible pet owner than anything else.

Be specific:

Make sure your lease is specific about what you expect the tenant's responsibilities will be regarding the pets. All of our leases include a pet addendum, which makes it very clear.

Regular pest control is a good investment for any rental property and the cost of it can be reflected in the rent.

Paying for damage:

Asking for a pet deposit (being a deposit is by its nature refundable) or a pet fee (non refundable) can help defray any cost of damage, odors, pests, etc. Remember that damage done by a pet can also be covered by your security deposit (damage is damage).

So if you have been reluctant to rent to those with pets, reconsider. We live in such a pet friendly community there's no reason to limit your potential market.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tom Heckel October 04, 2012 at 02:44 PM
We always rented to tenants with pets and have had significant problems. The biggest issue see, and then only rarely, is a pet stain on a carpet which using modern carpet cleaning is easily remedied (at tenant's expense). Keep Gulfport PET FRIENDLY -- don't fear renting to pet owners.
Tom Heckel October 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
OOPS -- I meant to type "and have NEVER had significant problems" SORRY.
Inrchld November 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM
So glad to read this. We just purchased a little home we hope our daughter and grandson will be able to reside in within the near future but until they are able we're going to try seasonally renting. In our family we have 3 beloved dachshunds and I would surely want our renter's dogs to enjoy the warmth our Gulfport offers equally to our pets.
lee stephanie March 07, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Though I'm writing almost a year after these posts, I hope a petlover who rentstoother petlovers will contact me at:boomerbabe128@gmail.com. I hope to visit Gulfport/St.Pete in April, but want a lease beginning September or later. Thanks.

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