What are the risks of renting to a tenant with a dog?

8 Replies

I just bought a 3 family home and need to fill 2 of the units. I have one applicant with 4 children and an applicant for the other vacant unit with a black lab.

There is a fenced in yard all tenants would share.

What do I need to consider, ask, put in the lease agreements?  What is the owner of the property liable for?

my answer to the question asked in the title of your post is...A lot less than a tenant without a dog.  

They are out there, and they are what you want especially with 4 kids running around at the property also.

@Eric Hathway well, I would reject that tenant if they have a shared space. All it takes is that dog attacks one of the children, you get sued, end of story

@Eric Hathway I rent to tenants with dogs, and I have found it very worthwhile. However I would be very hesitant to do it in a multifamily situation where there is shared space.  Even the kindest sweetest dog can bite someone. That liability is typically on the dogs owner. But if there is a shared space amongst tenants, that seems like it opens you up for liability.

Lots of considerations here.  Will your insurance allow for dogs?  If so, do they have a list of those prohibited?  If sharing a yard, what happens if that dog bites another tenant?  Are you going to charge a monthly "pet fee" and extra security deposit?  Are you going to require that the potential candidate bring the dog to the showing so you can see if it is tame/trained?  A quick search on this topic on BP will give you a lot of good information and a lot to think about.  

In a multifamily shared space situation this would be very difficult to protect yourself against the liability. Typically, I have no issues with pets. I charge a non refundable pet deposit for cleaning after the tenant moves and carry insurance that covers my tenants owning pets. (size can be a condition) 

In your situation you will have one tenant with a large dog in a shared backyard. While this may be tolerable at first for your other tenants, I can see it becoming a problem. What if the dog jumps on people? What if the dog likes to lick people? What if the dog knocks over the other tenants BBQ? May seem trivial but I seem to get these kind of calls over the years!

If you choose to move forward, I would recommend that each tenant signs an agreement holding you harmless from the neighbors animal. Good luck!

Thank you for all the great answers. I have decided to reject the tenant with the dog. Thanks for the help.

You should have rejected the family with 4 kids instead.

No seriously, you absolutely made the right call. I typically will rent to tenants with pets but not in the multifamily units that I own. Especially, as many posters pointed out, if there is shared space.

In defense of pets, though, my kids are much harder on the property we rent than my dog is. Just sayin. Unfortunately, you can't just rent to dogs; you have to rent to their owners and they are the ones that will cause you problems.

Definitely doesn't sound like a good mix... and a lot of problems waiting to happen. What happens when those kids step in dog poop and track it all through the house? There's going to be poop everywhere, and nobody needs that.

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.