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.
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.