I just bought my first rental property, fixed it up and posted an ad that on Craigslist/ Zillow. I have heard the horror stories about pets ruining properties so I wanted to allow small pets under 35 pounds but also require a pet insurance policy for the liability and a $250 deposit non refundable for the wear and tear. Too aggressive?? I appreciate all the input as I am still learning landlording.
If you wanted to make it non refundable, just charge it as a bump to their monthly rents. This way it is not labeled a deposit in anyway and if they extend their lease (hopefully) for many years, you continue to make the fee as opposed to a one time deposit.
@Chelsea John-Williams Instead of a weight limit, I typically advertise potentially pet-friendly rentals as "pets determined on a per case basis".
All other qualifiers being equal I'd much rather have an older 60lb mild mannered dog than a 25lb yapping, high strung, unhousebroken puppy.
Pet fees/deposits are generally whatever the market will bear. I typically do $125 non-refundable or $200-250 refundable - but determine what fits best in your market and go with it.
Mandating a separate insurance policy is probably overkill unless they have a breed that is specifically excluded by your own policy.
A good tenant with a well behaved pet can be a real asset. They typically stay longer because it's tougher for them to find other places that allow pets.
The good thing about renting to tenants with pets is that you have a broader market. In my area many rentals do not allow any pets at all.
I wouldn't charge a pet deposit. I think that could turn off some potential renters. If the pet does damage to the house you always have the security deposit to fall back on to cover those expenses.
@Chelsea John-Williams , be careful of your choice of words. A deposit implies it will be returned in whole or in part. A fee is a charge that has no implications of being returned.
Many people will happily pay a one-time pet fee PLUS pet rent of $25-$50 per month for the privilege of having their pet.
Just make sure you call it a fee if you do not plan on returning it.
I would simply charge a higher rent. Set a market rent for the unit and inform anyone with a pet that the rent will be 50/month higher. People with pets are often desperate to find a place as most landlords do not allow them due to the high risk. If you offer something that is hard to find you can charge what ever you want.
With pets you will either have next to little damage or thousands in repairs and remediation that a deposit will never cover. The advantage of a higher monthly rent is that the longer they stay the greater the likely damage and the more money you collect to cover it.
The size of a dog has little relevance to the damage caused. I have a cocker spaniel and it has destroyed all my hard wood floors. Hyper active little pos.
What you never want is cats.
Thank you everyone for your input. I ended up finding a tenant with no pets but this info. will be useful In the future. So excited for my first rental property!!
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