Pets for rental property

9 Replies

Hello All, I am considering allowing dogs for my rental property in Philadelphia.  Even though I am hesitant to do so I feel like it will open up the tenant pool.  I am planning on having discretion on what types of dogs I will allow.  What is everyone's experience with allowing dogs?  Are there particular ones you wont allow(big, small, certain breeds)? 

Also, do you find it better to have an upfront pet fee or a monthly pet rent?

Thanks In advance!

Hello. Contact your property insurance company. They may have a list of breeds that are not allowed and would void your property insurance (those 'outlawed' dogs will be the baseline for breeds you don't accept). 

Monthly pet rent is the way to go and you can have a pet security deposit fee (refundable or not - your choice) as well. 

Originally posted by @Karl B. :

Hello. Contact your property insurance company. They may have a list of breeds that are not allowed and would void your property insurance (those 'outlawed' dogs will be the baseline for breeds you don't accept). 

Monthly pet rent is the way to go and you can have a pet security deposit fee (refundable or not - your choice) as well. 

Pennsylvania courts have ruled on what the maximum deposit money can be - a total of two months of rent in the first year and one month's worth after that. So don't call it a deposit if making a one time charge at move in.


@Maneesh Joshi Our Insurance company has a list of 11 breeds of dogs that they prohibit.  If we knowingly rent to a tenant with any of those so called vicious dogs, it would invalidate any insurance claim that resulted from that dog, like an attach on anyone.  Check with your insurance company and comply with their list or get another insurance company.

The banned breeds have been covered above    You might want at add "pet rent" to your lease.  While you cant really charge much of an extra security deposit, you can change pet rent in PA and it will stand up in court. 

Originally posted by @Josh Caldwell :

The banned breeds have been covered above    You might want at add "pet rent" to your lease.  While you cant really charge much of an extra security deposit, you can change pet rent in PA and it will stand up in court. 


 I don't even call it "pet rent", because if the pet dies or they otherwise get rid if it, I still want to be paid the same higher rent! Just initially tell them the rent is higher because you are allowing the pet.



I read once and it kind of makes sense that since alot of landlords dont allow pets, if you allow a family to have a dog then you kind of secure them as long term tenants. Biggest downside is if they are bad tenants, then you wouldnt want them longterm.

@Maneesh Joshi

I don’t understand how anyone can allow pets in their rentals 1% responsible is 100% liable. Any benefit you receive puts you in the pet business and failing to provide adequate protection to prevent a dog bite in your pet business isn’t a hard sell to a jury

Hi Maneesh, 

It is very smart and a fantastic thing to do. Allowing pets will help you avoid vacancy, helping the bottom line, and may bring you better tenants. As long as you screen your applicants, tenants with pets are oftentimes more responsible. Pet owners must return home after work and have to go outside and live healthy lifestyles. They often may be homebodies. One thing you can do is ask about their work routine - essentially try and confirm they won't leave the dog unattended for extended periods unless they have a dog walker. You can ask if it is crate trained as well. Furthermore, you can ask for references that can speak to the pet's behavior. The very great majority of dogs aren't an issue. Many dogs aren't given perfect care so they may bark but you will know if this is an issue at your particular unit (such as one with thin walls where you own the neighboring units). 2

In different places, such as in Victoria, Australia, pets are increasingly recognized as members of the family and it will become illegal to be biased against applicants because of having them. 

You'll also be able to leverage new pools of people by having pet-friendly rentals. You can share your listings to pet-focused facebook groups and such. These people need housing often or know others that do. 

To prevent risk, consider requiring rental insurance and increasing the security deposit. If there is any damage, such as a scratched door from a dog with separation anxiety (which is common), then you will have extra funds to repair this. If they are great tenants, you and they will benefit from you not charging more for having pets. I personally think this is a better approach than charging $25 a month or whatever you please as a "pet rent". I believe these tenants will oftentimes be more loyal if you allow pets because they don't want to deal with the hassle of leaving a good rental and searching in the market which views them as less than ideal tenants. 


Best of luck!