Does Allowing Pets in Your Rentals Make Sense (or Just Scents)?

Does Allowing Pets in Your Rentals Make Sense (or Just Scents)?

2 min read
Dave Van Horn

Dave Van Horn is a veteran real estate investor and CEO of PPR Note Co., a $150MM+ company managing funds that buy, sell, and hold residential mortgages nationwide. Dave’s expertise is derived from over 30 years of residential and commercial real estate experience as a licensed Realtor, real estate investor, and private lender.

Beginning his career in construction and as a Realtor, Dave bought his first investment property in 1989. After years of managing his own construction business, Dave became a full-time real estate investor, specializing in fix and flips, buy and holds, and eventually commercial projects, before moving into note investing in 2007.

Over the past decade, Dave has also invested his time into becoming a connector and educator, who helps others achieve success. He focuses jointly on helping accredited investors build and preserve wealth with his group Strategic Investor Alliance and with general audiences through the annual MidAtlantic Real Estate Investor Summit.

Dave has also shared his strategies and experiences with real estate and note investing via hundreds of articles published on the BiggerPockets Blog and with his acclaimed book Real Estate Note Investing.

Dave has been featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast twice (shows 28 and 273), as well as episodes of familiar podcasts, including Joe Fairless’ Best Ever Show, Invest Like a Boss, Cashflow Ninja, and many others. He also has been a guest of Herb Cohen’s on Executive Leaders Radio, which airs nationwide.

Dave is a licensed Realtor with eXp Realty with CRS and GRI designations.

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To be quite honest, in my close to 30 years in property management, I’ve never had a problem with pets. My problems have always been with the pet’s owners.

For example, it’s usually not the pet who doesn’t change the litter box, and it isn’t the pet’s idea to have eight dogs in one apartment. Yes, that has actually happened to me. I bought a duplex once with two one-bedroom units, where I inherited a tenant with one dog who suddenly had a record-setting eight pups.

The funny thing was that my tenant decided she wanted to try and keep them all. People are crazy. Obviously, the idea of turning a one-bedroom apartment into a kennel didn’t work out very well.

No Pet Policies

I’ve heard many of the super landlords talk about how they have these “no pets” policies; they’re the type with zero tolerance. One guy I know claims he walks through his apartment building unannounced with a dog whistle trying to catch unsuspecting tenants. This may be taking it to a new level, but I do agree to a point.

Related: 4 Things to Check Before Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property

I have a no pet policy, too, especially if I have a newer unit that’s in high demand or a unit that’s just been renovated with a lot of new carpet and flooring. Other than a seeing-eye dog, my first inclination is “no pets.”

When Pets Make Cents

Still, there are scenarios when pets can actually make you money. For example, when I’m looking at a rental property to purchase, one that has a strong pet odor can be bought at a good discount.

There are ways to get rid of the odor in most cases, whether that’s removing the carpet, sealing the floor, or using a product like OdorExit to mask the bad smell. It’s pretty rare that you would have to replace wood, as you can usually encapsulate it, or in other words, seal it off. Anyone who’s done a fire restoration job would know what I mean.

There are some other scenarios that make sense, too. Maybe you have a property that’s tougher than normal to rent or isn’t in the safest area. Maybe you can charge a pet deposit or a monthly fee.

If you catch a tenant with a pet, this may be a good solution. If the unit had a previous tenant with a pet or the carpet is on the way out, maybe pets would work out okay in this scenario, and you could get some extra cash flow.

Paying pet fees is not a logical thing; it’s an emotional one. To many people, their pet is a family member for which expenses are considered well worth it.

Know When to Draw the Line

That being said, there are times when we all have to draw line, and for many, the line is at wild animals, reptiles, or dangerous breeds.

Related: Why I Allow Pets in My Rental Properties

Please note that many homeowner and landlord insurance policies will not cover you with these types of situations, so be sure to check with your provider. Also, this is a good reason to explain to your tenant why it may be an unacceptable situation.

And, of course, insurance policies only cover legal activity, so it’s the landlord’s responsibility to stay up-to-date on any municipality or deed restrictions in regard to pets. For example, I have several rentals in a town that banned reptiles after a large snake ate the neighbor’s small dog.

As you can see, it’s a crazy world property managers live in.

So, what’s your craziest pet story? What is your policy when it comes to pets in rentals?

Let’s discuss in the comment section below.