September Owner Report

At a recent real estate event a real estate developer said, "When I was in my thirties, everyone was getting married and having babies. Today, Millennials are getting pets!"

It's true—and it's not just Millennials who have pets: An estimated 68% of American households have at least one pet.

However, most landlords give pause to residents with pets. Some consider pets to be a liability, and in some cases, that may be true. However, there are also tremendous benefits to offering pet-friendly housing.

Here's our rundown of things to consider if you're wondering whether you should allow pets in your homes.

#1: Allowing Pets Can Attract More Residents

Pet-friendly properties can help you to attract more prospective residents. Simply allowing pets will draw a larger pool of prospects.

#2: Allowing Pets Can Bring in Additional Revenue

Some animal lovers are willing to pay more to live in a pet-friendly property. There's no doubt that animals cause additional wear and tear on units. We account for that by charging animal owners a slight premium (e.g., $25 more per month/per pet).

#3: Allowing Pets Can Help You to Retain Residents

People with pets might be inclined to stay longer. Because pet-friendly units are often hard to come by, people with pets might think twice before moving. Others may hold off on moving if they feel that doing so would disrupt their pet's routine. Lower turnover means less time spent marketing units, more consistent cash flow, and an overall higher return on your investment.

#4: Allowing Pets Can Attract More Responsible Residents

Animal owners are often more stable tenants. Taking care of an animal is no easy task. It requires a person to be at least marginally responsible. If they're responsible enough to take care of their pets, they'll probably be responsible enough to care for your unit, pay rent on time, and give adequate notice if they decide to move.

#5: Some Insurance Policies Place Restrictions on Pets

Check with your insurance company before allowing pets. Some insurance policies specifically prohibit animals (or animals over a certain size) from living on the property. If you decide that you do want to allow pets, you'll want to be sure to adjust your insurance policy accordingly. Some insurance policies charge more for (or ban) specific breeds of pets, so be sure to look at that, too.

#6: “Interview” Before You Allow Them to Move In

Consider "interviewing" the pet. This may sound crazy, but hear us out. Just as we screen residents, we also screen pets. We ask the potential tenants to fill out a pet screening application that asks some questions include the following:

· How long have they had the pet?

· Where did they get them?

· How old are they?

· Has the pet ever done damage to a person or property?

· Who will care for the pet? Do they have proper vaccinations and licenses?

This gives us the baseline detail about the pet situation.

#7: Use Security Deposits to Offset Property Damage

Security deposits can insulate you from damages caused to your property by pets. This is especially true if you're going to allow people to have pets. We charge an additional "pet deposit," which, runs $250. These deposits can be held to cover any routine or accidental damages cause by someone's four-legged friend.

#8: Should You Require Renter's Insurance?

Your homeowner, landlord, or business insurance policy should cover you for damage caused by pets, but in case, we also require tenants to have renter's insurance. Renter's insurance won't cover damage to the premises caused by pets. Instead, it protects the renter in the event that the animal bites or otherwise injures someone. If this were to happen, both you and the tenant would likely be named in a lawsuit, and renter's insurance will ensure that the renter has at least some basic coverage for his or her defense.

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