Adding A Pet Policy: Factors To Consider

By Ashley Paskill on February 11, 2019

For many students, pets are a crucial part of their lives and leaving them at home while they are at college can be devastating. Deciding to make your rental property pet-friendly is a major decision for you as well as current tenants. While being pet-friendly may attract new tenants, you also have to determine if certain pets will cause property damage or not. There are a lot of factors to consider before deciding to allow pets on your rental property.

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Types of pets you want to allow

While many landlords decide not to allow pets like cats or dogs, many allow smaller animals such as fish, hamsters, and hermit crabs. Make sure you clearly put the specific types of animals that are and are not allowed and be open to asking questions from the students. Smaller pets may be less intrusive to other tenants and can be easily taken care of, even with a crazy student schedule.

Many landlords also specify sizes or types of dogs that they allow. Some only allow cats and small dogs while some may choose specific breeds to not allow, especially if the breed is known to have a bad reputation for being mean. If you want to include all dog types, make sure each dog is well-trained and have specific rules for pets.

Also, keep in mind that some pets are noisier than others. Dogs bark a lot, which can distract students from their studying. Animals like hamsters that run on wheels tend to be up at night, and the wheels can be loud. Keep this in mind when deciding whether or not you allow certain pets. If animals get too noisy, other tenants may complain, but it is difficult to control the noise level of animals since they have minds of their own.

Tenants who may have pet allergies

If you have had a property for a while and are considering allowing pets, keep in mind that some of your tenants may have chosen your property because you do not currently allow pets and they have an allergy. This is especially true for dogs that may come in contact with those who may be allergic while going for a walk. At the same time, it is impossible to accommodate everyone. It is still important to save yourself hassle when it comes to legal issues.

If you want to allow pets, take a poll of your current tenants about their feelings on allowing pets to get a sense of any concerns they may have. If the response is positive, go ahead with allowing pets. However, if multiple tenants have allergies to animal dander or are concerned about other issues, choose to allow animals that will accommodate the issues that were brought up. If some of your tenants want pets and some are allergic, you may be able to accommodate both, depending on the size of your property.

The upkeep that goes along with having pets on the property

One major concern that landlords have is whether or not pets will damage the property. Dogs who have to go for walks need grass and their owners need to pick up after them, so landlords need to ensure that this is being done. Keeping up with pets, even small pets such as hamsters, fish, or hermit crabs can be tough, and if their cages are not cleaned regularly, the apartment can start to smell. The smell can impact other tenants, so make sure you make it clear that all pets need to be clean and taken care of.

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Whether or not you will charge for allowing animals

Many landlords charge for allowing cats and dogs to live in the apartment. While it may not be a huge amount, this can help with any cleaning or damage restoration the needs to take place after the tenant moves out. If you know the tenant is responsible and will make sure the apartment will be clean even with pets or if you have a strict policy of making sure everything stays clean and undamaged, you may opt to have pets stay free. You may also opt to allow smaller pets to stay free as well.

Expectations of the pet owner

Remember that your tenants are students, so they have a busy schedule. They will not be home all day to help take care of animals. Animals such as dogs need to be taken for walks regularly, and if they have an accident on the carpet, it may stain or may cause an odor that is difficult to get out. Allowing only low-maintenance animals may allow for less pressure and upkeep for student tenants to worry about.

When considering whether or not to have a pet policy, think about what kinds of things your tenants will need to do to help keep the apartment clean. Have an agreement that tenants need to keep the apartment clean and fresh smelling. Have them pay a security deposit in case there are stains or smells that need to be taken care of once the tenant leaves. Consider that students are busy, and if you do not feel like the students will be able to keep up with cleaning the apartment, do not allow them to have animals.

Allowing students to have pets in your rentals is a huge decision, so take your time and be sure to consider all the factors that you need to.

By Ashley Paskill

Uloop Writer
Temple

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