You know, this is a great question. I’m actually at my house right now recording this. I’ve got a black Lab.
We’re also fostering another dog. I don’t even know what kind it is.
So, I’m kind of used to having dogs in my house, but for your rental house, would you want to allow pets?
So, let’s look at both sides of it.
And then what we’ll do is we’ll talk about, if you decided to, ways that you can mitigate some of that risk.
So, I would say point number one of why you would want to allow pets in your rental house.
Because, I think on average, around 68% of you as households have pets.
And so, when you think about that, and when you’re marketing your home for rent and you think about the pool of potential tenants.
You have to imagine that if they’re like most of the U.S. population, then 68% of them have pets and they’re going to want to take their pets.
Typically, that’s going to mean a dog or a cat.
You know, we’ve seen other types of animals, but that’s typically the main two animals.
So, you need to decide, do you want to shrink that pool of potential tenants down if you’re going to say that you don’t want to allow pets in your house?
Completely up to you.
Another thing that I think is really important is just the fact of how many people are attached to their pets.
You know, not only do they have pets, but these people are not typically giving pets away or keeping pets somewhere else just so they can rent a house.
So, that’s probably the biggest thing.
What are some of the cons of having pets? Well, obviously, they can do damage, right?
They can absolutely damage floors. If they use the bathroom in the house, they can stain hardwoods.
They can leave odors in the house. And so, you know, there are all kinds of things that can happen.
I’m trying to think back. One of my first rental houses was a very nice house.
I had, you know, good hardwoods. And I think what we did was we pulled the carpet up.
This is probably about 14 years ago.
We pulled the carpet up and there were pristine hardwoods underneath. I had a “No Pets” policy in this house.
And one day I dropped by the house because they were late paying rent.
And sure enough, when I knocked on the door, probably about six or seven little dogs came yipping around the corner barking at the door.
So, when I finally got the tenant out of the house, the hardwoods were totally destroyed.
And so, I had to refinish those hardwoods. Not the best scenario, but does that always happen though?
I mean, I talk to plenty of owners every week that talk about allowing pets in their house and they’re fine with it.
They’re used to having pets. But they can’t do damage.
So, what are the ways that you can, maybe, mitigate some of that? There are a few things.
You can take a pet deposit, right? So you could ask for a non-refundable pet deposit or really a pet fee.
If you have a deposit, then you’re going to need to assess whether the pet damaged the house at all.
And if they didn’t damage the house, you’re going to give that money back.
So, we probably recommend a pet fee, which is what we do. We just charge a pet fee.
We take photos of the animals and take a look at…you know, we just want to make sure and verify that the animals are what they say they are.
You could also limit the size of the pet by saying, you know, “We’re only going to take, you know, dogs less than 30 pounds or less than 20 pounds,” something like that.
So, that doesn’t open it up to everybody, but it definitely opens it up to people, families who have smaller dogs or people who have smaller dogs.
Another thing that you could do is you could restrict it to a certain type of pet.
You could say, “No cats, but dogs,” or you can say, “No dogs but cats.”
That’s one way to do it.
If you’re just kind of on the fence about it, you’re not really sure, you’re a little bit weary, then I would recommend saying, “Pets okay on a case-by-case basis.”
So, when you market the property, have that stipulation there, “Pets approved or okay on a case-by-case basis.”
And that way, if you get an applicant, you can talk to them about their pet.
If they have a pet, you can talk to them about their pet and figure out if you’re okay with it.
You know, if they come with a, you know, 130-pound Bullmastiff, maybe you don’t want to allow the pet in the house, I don’t know.
You know, but maybe they come with a Maltese or something like that, or a real small dog and you’re okay with it.
So, that’s one way you can still keep it open, but yet have a say on what kind of pet goes in there.
So, you know, I hope that helps. I’m trying to think if there’s anything else.
Those are really the main things you need to consider when you say no pets, you shrink that pool, but you also have to be very careful, I think, when you open it up to just about everybody.
So, because there’s always, I would say there’s always gonna be something with a pet typically that’s going to have to be taken care of if the tenant stays in the home long enough.
You know, just like my hardwood floors, just like, you know, hair that is left over when a tenant moves out, no matter how well they clean the house, you’re gonna have to take care of these types of things.
So, I hope that helps.
And it gives you some things to think about whether you should or should not have a pet in your Atlanta rental house.
Spencer is the VP of Marketing at Evernest. He wakes up with Google and Facebook on his mind. Having bought and sold over 150 homes in Birmingham, Spencer gets a kick out of helping new and seasoned investors navigate the mistakes he made as an investor. Spencer is also passionate about his love for Michael Jordan and does his best to explain to the Millennials (who never saw him play live) how much better he was than LeBron. He loves to hang out with his wife, kids, and the world’s best black lab, Jett.