Is your rental " pet friendly" ? if no why not?

63 Replies

NO!!! Not everyone is a responsible pet owner. Pets potentially cause damage. Damage = money! I don't like spending money. Therefore, no pets!

I'm still in the research phase of becoming an investor, but I plan to start with a BRRRR. And I will have a pet-friendly policy (presumably excluding certain dog breeds for insurance purposes, although I don't agree with it personally). Anecdotally it seems that kids do more damage than pets. And I would argue cats are likely more destructive on average than dogs. Since I've been on the tenant side of things quite a bit, I'm pretty grateful when I find a private landlord who has a reasonable pet policy (refundable pet deposit and no additional fees/pet rent), and I'm vested in taking care of the property and nurturing that relationship. Of course you always want to thoroughly vet the tenant and their pet(s), but I think it pays off to offer pet-friendly rentals.

I do allow pets, I rent class A-B properties to a lot of young professionals who rent from me because I allow pets. Most people who can afford a higher end property tend to take care of their pets as well, so I haven't had many issues at all. I charge a one time non-refundable $200 pet fee at move in (per pet, max 2 pets). I also have them sign a pet addendum that clearly states the expectations for pet care. If the pets cause any damage at all to the home, I take it out of the tenant's security deposit.

Some are, some aren't,  and most of all, it depends on the pet.

When my little 650 sq ft 2 br is available I always seem to get applicants with 2 or 3 large dogs. That doesn't make me feel very friendly!

@Redgy Saint-Germain Yes. 

I own about ~50 student rentals and it seems like every single one has a black lab puppy. Every. Single. One.

My choices are:

1) Allow dogs and get a $350 non-refundable pet fee.

2) Get $0 and have the students lie the entire year with some variation of "My friend is out of town visiting for the weekend and it's their dog".

I chose #2 for the first 5-6 years and then finally decided to quit swimming upstream. 

They're going to sneak the dog in anyway. I'll take the money.


I MAKE my properties pet friendly. I get higher rents, tenants stay longer with less turnover and pet fees are FREE money.

Never had any pet damage. 

I like the vinly flooring that comes in strips and looks like hardwood floors. I have never had any of it damaged.

I fence in many of my backyards. My properties do not stay empty for more than a couple days when I do have a turnover.

The majority of tenants have pets so you are eliminating over half your candidates when you exclude pets, but that pushes those renters over to people like myself that see the value in allowing pets.

I also have a VRBO Lake House and 75% of my renters bring pest and pay pet fees. Again no pet problems and extra income.

I love it when LLs refuse pets, as it just makes the market less competitive. We allow pets. We have nice homes but I don't consider any of them the Taj Mahal - they're just houses for making money. Pet friendly setup: no carpeting - vinyl floating or glue-down everywhere; fenced-in back yards in most of the homes; no expensive woodwork or anything like that. 

We screen tenants hard, and our experience: responsible people, with good credit, good jobs, no felonies, no evictions, decent cars, tend to be responsible pet owners as well. It is the rare person that has their entire life together except for the way they keep up with their pet. 

We do specify certain things in leases: how often pet waste must be picked up, keeping dog nails trimmed, etc. 

I would definitely say yes to pets! At the apartment complex where I worked, we charged a $300 pet fee (non-refundable) and $25/mo. pet rent. We also had an all-inclusive pet addendum in the lease that outlined policies regarding pet waste, barking/noise, pet damage to the unit, etc. It can help you bring in more prospective tenants and increase cash flow. I would recommend having some weight and breed restrictions if you are renting out a smaller apartment/house. 

As JD mentioned in his post, comprehensive screening can give you an idea of whether or not a person will be a responsible pet owner. 

Generally speaking I allow pets outside of certain types of dogs. I don’t really see any issue with it.

People don’t allow dogs but then have tenants with several kids and I imagine the kids do way more damage over time. Of course you can’t say you don’t allow kids lol.

In my duplexes I allow pets, pet fee and deposit. My apartment building is ‘strictly no pets’ and I intend to keep things that way too. Have not run into the ‘service animal’ scenario yet; cross that bridge if it comes. Need to keep ALL the tenants happy and not just the one with the animal.

Originally posted by @Redgy Saint-Germain :

Is your rental " pet friendly" ? if no why not?

Not without substantial charges.  Because I don't need to allow pets to rent my properties.  I will allow pets with a pet fee and additional pet rent, but so far only tenant (in many years) has done that.

All but one is pet friendly, yes. I charge $65 monthly for a cat, $100-150 monthly for a dog. In my market it’s roughly 2-4% of all rentals allow pets. For a couple properties I specifically target folks currently getting divorced with animals.

Animals are far less hassle/ damage than kids (if screened properly). When was the last time you openly required all kids be present at a showing as spent half hour watching them interact with Mom n dad? ... easy to do with pets.

@Sylvia B. and @Bjorn Ahlblad point out a marked difference among landlords and that is whether you have a SFH/Duplex or a multi-family with a number of apartment units. I am quite certain that if I was renting out the former I could be convinced to accept a pet. I say this because I right readily recognize that I do cut out a large portion of the market, and I cut more by being more discriminating than the average landlord.

My buildings are profitable at 25% and 40% vacancy, break even at higher. A SFH and a decent duplex cannot claim the same and immediately operate at a loss on vacancy. My tenants live in close proximity to one another in apartments of less than 900 sq.ft. They work all day and I do not wish to have a stranger who's profession is to pick-up dog shite to have a key to my building.

I would never argue with the advice of @Will Gaston - He puts an even different spin on things based on his market and he has a great handle on it.

I have posted far too often about my travails in renovating pet apartments. I love dogs. But there is a desensitization which takes place amongst the landlords whom I have met that allow animals in their buildings. They don't immediately notice the smell upon entry like I do. The barking from across the hall doesn't phase them. They fail to notice the stains. I've got a couple friends with labs, their cars are just covered in hair and scratches, but they don't notice or mind.

I would certainly disagree on it lessening the quality of the tenant. In fact I am inundated with inquiries from pet owners even though they are expressly prohibited. They want to convince me that their pet is different, they want into my building. Some even sheepishly ask me if I mind them taking care of their moms dog from time to time. And I know why, because in my market any building accepting pets is a 3rd tier property.

I allow dogs at my SFH, but I must approve the dog as I do any other renters. They have to be well trained and cared for, and I meet them as I do the human renters. I also have them sign a pet addendum and charge a $500 pet deposit refunded if there is no damage.

I absolutely do not allow cats. I have ripped up subfloors trying to get the smell out of a unit that had cats once. Never again.

Personal choice......allowing them can make you $$....but like everything else, it comes with some risk....and like other aspects of being a landlord, you can do things to mitigate risk up to a point but there are no guarantees.

Market can play a big role..... if its a hot market and you can rent it easily without tapping the "pet" community...... A/B higher rent neighborhoods tend to have people that take care of their pets....etc etc.....

Bottom line is your tolerance for risk vs reward.....

Lots of great advice in the thread.  We allow pets in some of our rentals.  We do a non-refundable pet fee of $250 up front and then $25/month pet rent.  My personal opinion is that I believe most of the tenants will stay longer because so many landlords don't allow pets we are their only option in the area.  We do restrict certain "dangerous" breeds of dogs.  Lots of people contact us claiming to have service animals but most don't go through filling out the application so it hasn't been an issue.

@John Underwood

This is what I'm doing. I just had a tenant move out who let the cat use carpet instead of a litter box. I'm remodeling the apartment to make it "pet friendly". I'll get the non-refundable pet deposit, have them sign a pet addendum, and have a low maintenance unit that doesn't need new carpet after every tenant moves out. Glad I'm not the only one doing the vinyl plank flooring!

I don't allow pets in most of my properties and always have plenty of qualified applicants.  While many tenants have pets there are many others that don't.  $25-30 a month isn't worth the hassle.