Every landlord dreams of a tenant who stays in the property long-term, and who never makes a late payment. Unfortunately, that task can prove much harder than anticipated, especially if you set restrictions on the property like choosing not to allow pets.

Although it may seem like you would be putting your property at risk of damage by bringing in a tenant with a dog or a cat, there are ways that you can protect yourself and your rental, all while opening up your space to a whole new market.

If you’ve been having trouble finding tenants, or you can’t decide on whether or not to allow your renters to have pets, follow along in this post to see why pet owners can make excellent tenants and how to protect your investment if they don’t.

The Pros of Pet Owners

Many landlords only think of the downsides of having pets in their investment properties, as opposed to weighing them against the benefits. In truth, pet owners can come with a plethora of positives that their petless counterparts don’t necessarily share:

Pet owners are responsible. Pets come with a lot of needs, from food, walks, and vet appointments, to training, vaccines, and companionship. If someone chooses to have a pet long-term, it shows that they are generally a responsible person overall.

This trait often transfers over to a pet owner’s dedication to making rent payments, taking care of a property, and ensuring that their pet has good manners.

Pet owners are long-term. Since pet-friendly rentals can be hard to come by, especially for people who need backyards for dogs, or who have multiple pets, many pet owners find a rental and stick with it.

Moving can be much harder with pets, especially when your choices are limited, so pet owners can offer the added benefit of long-term tenancy to their landlords.

Pet owners have stability. Pets don’t come cheap, and most pet owners are aware of this. In order to care for their furry companions, they need to have a stable source of income, and caring for your pet means keeping a roof over their head.

A stable income for a tenant means a stable rent payment for a landlord.

While not every pet owner is going to turn out to be responsible, stable, or long-term, many of them make excellent tenants, and you can increase your chances of finding the right one by protecting yourself and your property.

Preparing Your Property

Once you decide that you are open to having pets live in your rental property, you may need to make some adjustments in order to ensure that the space is pet-friendly.

What needs to be done depends on the type of pet you are open to welcoming into your property, but you can start with the following:

  • Putting up or repairing a fenced yard.
  • Getting rid of carpet and protecting any hardwood.
  • Soundproofing between shared suites.
  • Checking in with your property’s insurance provider.
  • Removing any harmful plants from the yard.

Remember that even the best pets can make a mistake once in a while, so it’s a good idea to keep a detailed list of paint colors, flooring types, and baseboard and doorframe brands so that if any damage does occur, your or your tenant can get it fixed up correctly the first time.

Protecting Your Property

It doesn’t matter if your tenant’s pet is the most well-behaved and trained pet you’ve ever met, it’s still a good idea to be careful when renting to a pet owner so that you can be sure to protect your property, your tenant, and yourself if there is ever an issue.

Finding the Right Tenant

One of the most important parts of finding any tenant is to have a discussion with them about their needs and expectations for the property, as well as your own. You can do this with pet owners by:

  • Meeting the cat(s) or dog(s) that will be living in the property. Ensure that they have a good demeanour and that they will do well in the rental. For example, if there are other pets or children nearby, talk to the tenant about whether their pet is comfortable with that.
  • Asking if the pet is registered with the municipality, spayed-neutered, and up-to-date on vaccines. These are all things that the owner should be able to provide documentation for if necessary.
  • Requesting a reference from their last pet-friendly property manager.

Setting Rules

Every rental has rules, but you’ll need to make sure that you cover all of your bases when allowing an animal to live in your property. You can do this by setting some rules with your tenant, such as:

  • Limiting the number of pets allowed on the property.
  • Only allowing approved pets to live on the property.
  • Discussing how clean the yard must be kept.
  • Setting approved spaces for the pet in shared properties.
  • Deciding loose curfews (for example, dogs cannot be unsupervised outside after 10pm).

You should also make sure that you adjust your lease. This means checking that it allows for pets and listing either a pet deposit or an increased rent price to accommodate for any damages that may occur.

If you do end up renting to someone who owns pets, get a picture of the pet and their identification information to attach to your lease. That way, if there are any complaints from outside sources in the future, you’ll be able to identify if it was your tenant’s pet that caused the issue.

Fitting in With Fido

With pet ownership on the rise, the demand for pet-friendly properties is at an all-time high. Landlords can take advantage of this by finding the right tenants for their rentals, and by exercising good communication with interested pet owners.

By asking the right questions, properly vetting prospective tenants, and opening your home to Fifi or Fido, you’re welcoming a whole new tenant market, and changing it from being one of a million, to being one in a million.

What is your experience with pet-friendly rentals like as a tenant or landlord?

Posted by Brittany Foster

Brittany is a writer, editor, and content manager interested in law, marketing, and technology. She's been writing for LawDepot since 2014.