Tell me how you feel about allowing pets?

53 Replies

I love animals.  Well;  unless they are trying to hurt me - then I don't like them.  But in general;  I have had, and enjoyed having, pets.  But now I do not have pets.  I don't like the smell of them, I don't like cleaning up after them, and I don't like having them as a dependent.

I have dealt with truly hideous things as a result of tenants having pets.  And as a result of both things - I don't like the idea of animals living in any property that I own.

What do you all think?  And do?

Do you consider tenants-with-pets a necessary-evil of the business?  Do you forbid all pets?  Or for that matter . . . .  do you Prefer tenants with pets? <g>

stephen

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We get a non-refundable pet deposit and can charge a monthly pet fee. For houses only. Zero pets in apartments and or multi-family.

At the moment I'm strictly no pets but I would consider letting a good, clean get a small dog after a successful 12 month period. I don't think I'll ever allow cats.

We actually prefer a tenant with a well-trained large dog as they seem to stay longer since most facilities that even allow dogs have a weight limit, which to me is ridiculous because in my experience owners of small dogs tend to let them "make" in the house more.   Now that we have a property manager, we've had more issues as they don't seem to screen the dogs as well, which makes no sense as you can usually tell within minutes if a dog is well-trained and obeys your basic commands or jumps on you or acts aggressively.  And if you don't have paw-friendly flooring, it's not worth it.  Hardwood floors can get seriously damaged.  No cats, too many problems with cat urine houses, so I stress no cats and that we have allergies so we will seriously enforce it.   We've had more damage done by kids than dogs, but they are a protected class.    

I only own tile floors now so that's not my concern.  I asked you all because I have had a strict no pets policy for a good while.  Because in my experience there have always been more pet horror events than there are happy pet events.  And the illogical -ness of keeping animals in a house started to really bother me.  Sort of like how I cannot understand why anyone would ever smoke cigarettes. <g>  But recently I was approached by tenants who have two gold labs.  Their dogs are really nice and are better trained and behaved than many children.  Than most adults too. <g>  

So, despite the fact that I am presently evicting a no-pets-allowed tenant who's house is literally Filled with piles of dog crap because of their two illegal dogs - I am considering relenting in the case of these two lab owners. <g>  

BTW:  "filled"  is not even slight hyperbole - they have apparently never taken the dogs outside Or cleaned up after them in many months.  It is literally everywhere in the house:  even on the furniture.  One of those dogs is pitbull ***** that I had to beat with a axe handle to keep it away from me.  To it's learning-curve-credit - now even the Sight of a stick makes it avoid me now. <g> 

stephen

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I had a no-pet policy  but then a prospective tenant inquired about their 20 lb 10+ y.o. dog. They checked out perfect and I changed my mind (policy?) while collecting $200 non-refundable deposit plus $25 extra "pet" rent/month.

Keep in mind, that pet owners are facing less choices while looking for an apartment vs. non-pet owners. So you get exposure to larger group of prospective tenants.

You might want to implement "pets on case by case basis" policy and decide based on the pet (rn background on people first :). Pet-owners are not a protected class (yet?)

Strict NO PETS policy.  We have had our share of de-cat-ing and de-dog-ing houses and apartments.  I don't like the allergens, I don't like the smell, I don't like the hair, I don't like the excrements, and I don't like their personalities.  I don't like what their teeth and claws and pee and poop do to my property doors, door jambs, walls, wood floors, vinyl, carpets, window blinds, flower beds (cat poop and scratching), and back yard (dog poop and digging).  The pet hair gets sucked into the HVAC system and air ducts; it also accumulates under appliances such as refrigerators and stoves.  Also had problems with rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and birds.  I will make an exception for a small aquarium with non-agressive fish or a goldfish bowl.

We also have a strict NO SMOKERS policy too because de-smoke-ing units has cost us thousands. It is also a health hazard and smells foul.  No smoking inside or outside the unit or anywhere on the property.  Smokers who smoke elsewhere are a problem too because the smoke stays on their clothing and when they come into the unit, it fouls the unit.  We also stopped working with contractors who smoke and those who are stinky.

We are just getting started on our end, but will be doing pet friendly deals.  We have 2 labs (80+ lbs) who are great dogs & couldn't find anywhere to rent when we first moved back to MI.  We are going to want to meet the dog(s) & see the condition of their current home to see if there is any damage done by the dogs.

We think there is a big market for pet friendly housing. We may change our minds after we have trouble. . .

Used to allow pets (because I have them and used to do volunteer work in greyhound rescue).  Fading fast.   Now we allow pets only in rentals with 1. no carpet,  2. no aggressive breeds  3. limited number  4. with a $250 pet deposit, refundable at the end of the lease if there is no pet damage (but that one may also change). 5. crate trained dogs and 6. NO PUPPIES!!!!

To date I've had 1. the plug of a window air conditioner eaten by a large puppy that resembled an elephant, 2. a porch swing partially consumed by the same galoot,  3. flower beds totally destroyed because the dirt is, oh so cool to lay in in the summertime,  4. a carpet scratched down to the subfloor underneath by a dog left in a bedroom and either bored or going through a panic,  5.  the bottom of a closet door chewed into splinters by another dog,  6. some idiot tenants who decided the crawlspace under the house made an excellent dog house (nothing like scooping dog poop out on your belly) and 7. much of the metal around an HVAC unit rusted out early by a male dog marking his territory there.

Gail

I allow them on a pet-by-pet basis.  For dogs I require a dog interview prior to lease signing.  I take a picture, and write the name, and description of the dog allowed into the lease.  If the dog, no matter the size, is anything other than loving and friendly, then I pass.  I don't exclude "aggressive breeds" as it depends on the dog and its owner.

$200 non refundable deposit and $20/per month rent per pet.

Important to note also that I specifically sought out insurance policies that did not have breed restrictions.  Especially in my area, there are LOTS of pit bulls, and most of them are great dogs.  I didn't want to exclude all of their responsible owners from my rental base. 

I have found if I have a mess when the tenant leaves, it is more than a pet mess, it's because the people are messy too.  So it doesn't make that big of a difference to me.

Being in the military, I have have had to move often and know how difficult it is to find a nice place to rent with two, well trained large dogs.  Knowing and experiencing that, I allowed dogs into one of my properties and I will say that I will never do it again after my most recent experience.  The tenant had two small dogs and apparently (from what my neighbors told me) left her dogs in the house for days at a time.  When we moved back into the house their was so much dog urine soaked through the pad and stained the concrete slab underneath.  The tac strips from the carpet were saturated in many places.  There was dog urine under the washer and dryer (tile floor) that soaked the base boards.  I definitely learned that all dog owners are not the same!  If I were to allow them again, the house would have to be completely tiled, even then, there is room for damage to the baseboards.  

very interesting post.  Just did a quick google search and found 37-47% of Americans own a dog and 30-37% own a cat.  I have always allowed pets with a non refundable deposit.  Yes, I have had to replace carpet due to pet damage.  Never have had to replace doors, moulding, cabinets, appliances, etc. due to pet damage. The vast majority of the time  when a tenant with a pet vacates I cannot tell that a pet had lived there.  I have a clause in my leases that all carpets must be professionally cleaned upon move out and that pet owners must have house professionally treated for pests.  The percentage of Americans that own pets is striking.  I can't help but think that landlords that don't allow pets are really limiting their pool of renters and that an extra month or two of vacancy would do far more harm to their bottom line than potential pet damage.  

Case by case scenario for dogs depending on the results of the doggie background check.  Cats with limited number understanding.  All with non-refundable deposits and negotiable terms set by me.  

I don't like it but try to keep an open mind.  I advertise 'pets considered', then I make my decision based on the breed and weight of the pet.  Usually my non-refundable pet fee is enough to make pet owners say no thanks, especially those with multiple pets.

If I had two equally qualified tenants, one with a pet and one without, I'd go with the tenant without the pet.

@Marcia Maynard  

Why does it matter if it is an agressive fish or not? No one takes fish for walks. No one lets fish run around without a leash. No one pets fish. Beta fish are absolutely beautiful, yet aggressive toward other fish. (I lied I've actually petted beta fish before). Beta fish often fight until death with other fish, but when you touch them they just swim in circles. That seems ridiculous to me. How do you screen fish to determine if they are aggressive or not? Look it up on google and read reviews? Not being sarcastic here I just really don't see the problem with fish. I've owned 2 sharks in my life. This type of shark gets no more than 3-4 inches and can live in a small aquarium peacefuly. They don't try to eat your hand off when cleaning the inside of the glass with a sponge either. Please explain your non-aggressive fish policy. 

Pet friendly rentals allow me to rent for more with a larger tenant pool

I've allowed my tenants to get a puppy; hopefully it'll work out well. They have been responsible for the last 9 months I've had them, so we'll see.

I plan on being a pet friendly landlord. I like the potential to add to the bottom line and serve a market which sounds under served.

Not to hijack the thread, but I'm intrigued with the number of non-refundable pet deposit requirements. Does anyone have experience with refundable vs non refundable? My agreement has a refundable $200 deposit with a requirement the tenants pay for flea treatment at the end of lease. I'm hoping the refundable acts as a bit of a carrot, instead of the tenant chalking it up as a loss from day 1. Naive, brilliant, or neither?

I have dogs. I have (too many) cats. My house is pretty much a mess. But that's MY house & I own it.

My rental is "no pets." I have spent hours & hours fixing shredded woodwork, ripping out pee-rotted drywall, filling holes in the yard, cleaning carpets, etc. I can't re-rent it to any decent tenant with existing pet damage - THAT limits the potential market!

@Damon Armstrong    I love aquariums too.  Seems I hit one of your buttons!  Perhaps I should have said potentially dangerous to humans instead of aggressive in my wording!

"Why does it matter if it is an agressive fish or not? "

Ever clean up one heck of an aquarium leak on carpet/laminate/wood flooring?  We have.

Gail

I allowed a pet in my first rental - it was my first tenant in a house that we had just totally rehabbed.  I adopted a no pet policy for my other rentals due to ruined carpets, but I still have the original tenants in that house.  This house is in a so-so neighbourhood so I do understand why they want to have a dog and might keep this one unit as pet-friendly.

Hi Stephen,

I urge you to listen to the latest Podcast show 078 here on BiggerPockets.

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/07/10...

Bri Schmidt who is the guest on the show has put together over 25 units in three years and as you listen later into the show you discover that part of her secret of having fast rentals and no vacancies is specializing in "dog" friendly rentals. Especially big dogs. Of course she screens the tenants and only rents high end. The result is people with money who tend to be "picky" about cleanliness and therefor have clean well trained dogs. She gets more money, wants dogs in all her units (with hardwood floors) and has big deposits. She has found a "niche" that keeps her rentals non-vacant and her tenants stay longer. I mean where do you find rentals that allow 125lb Mastiffs!?

I have had a no pets policy with implied flexibility for sometime now. I have allowed a couple small dogs and a couple cats (no more cats ever). I have not had any nightmares like some of you have had but every cat has cost me money. After listing to Podcast 78 yesterday while mowing the lawn I am strongly considering going dog friendly. I like the extra rent coming in and I agree the interview process has always been my best tool for finding great tenant when it comes to people so why wouldn't it work for dogs. As for the non-refundable and refundable deposit I would like to hear more discussion on that but I tend to agree that if it is no-refundable may just think that is there to pay for the cleanup and damage so they won't worry about doing it themselves. That is the problem I have with some tenants they either think that the deposit is so they don't have to pay their last months rent or they don't have to clean if they don't want the deposit back. That said I am leaning towards the carrot of a refundable deposit. 

I can't explain their no-fish policy but I can explain my  "no container of any fluid over 5 gallons shall ever be permitted in or on the property at any time" policy - 

One time I rented an older 2 story house to a couple.  Later they had a child.  Then at some point they got fish and put the tank upstairs.  The house was post & beam construction and had 4 by 4 floor joists.  The joists were not happy about the added weight and began to sag.  I didn't lean any of this until after the fact - they would walk the rent check over every month and drop it off.  

I don't how many gallons the fish tank held but it was about 5 feet high and 6 feet wide.  When it either fractured or fell over the water damage was extensive and Smelly.  Sheetrock, all new kitchen appliances  (salt water in everything)  new oak floors, etc. etc.  I forget now why insurance declined to pay for it but I think it was that the tank was the wrong kind, or too big, or something like that.  Anyway;  nobody paid a penny but me and the tenants also sued me because their child was injured by their illegal fish tank.

A goldfish in a bowl?  OK;  maybe.  More than five gallons?  Nope.  And I don't want more than five gallons of Anything around really anyway.


stephen
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 Originally posted by @Damon Armstrong:

@Marcia Maynard 

Why does it matter if it is an agressive fish or not? No one takes fish for walks. No one lets fish run around without a leash. No one pets fish. Beta fish are absolutely beautiful, yet aggressive toward other fish. (I lied I've actually petted beta fish before). Beta fish often fight until death with other fish, but when you touch them they just swim in circles. That seems ridiculous to me. How do you screen fish to determine if they are aggressive or not? Look it up on google and read reviews? Not being sarcastic here I just really don't see the problem with fish. I've owned 2 sharks in my life. This type of shark gets no more than 3-4 inches and can live in a small aquarium peacefuly. They don't try to eat your hand off when cleaning the inside of the glass with a sponge either. Please explain your non-aggressive fish policy.