Are you looking to make your rental property pet-friendly?
Attracting long-term tenants is the goal of most rental property owners. One of the most efficient ways of cutting down vacancy rates is by allowing pets in your rental. Since many households in the U.S. have pets, you are bound to attract more renters.
Designating your rental as a pet-friendly property could even give enough reason to increase the rent. You’ll generate more interest in your property while boosting the monthly rental income.
However, housing tenants with pets in your rental property does come with its own unique set of risks. In the following paragraphs, you’ll learn how to minimize the risks involved and make the transition a success.
1. Consider a Pet Deposit
As a Kansas City landlord, you are allowed to charge an extra deposit for pets. You, however, need to make sure that this deposit won’t amount to more than half a month’s rent. The pet deposit accounts for the additional risks that come with allowing pets in your investment property.
2. Inspect Your Rental
Conducting regular inspections in your rental property is always a great strategy. When you have allowed pets on the premises, be extra diligent in doing a check-up every now and then.
Failure to conduct proper inspections raises the risk of facing unexpected damages and expenses after your tenant moves out. The costs tied to initial issues that didn’t get addressed could exceed any collected security deposits.
While inspecting your rental property is essential, keep in mind that you must adhere to all the state and local laws. Every entry that you make into the property while your tenants are still living inside needs to be justified.
3. Check the Pet References
The best prospective tenants will share pet references with you. Make sure to verify these references by calling their past landlords. Check out these examples of what you could ask:
- Could you please describe the pet’s general behavior and personality?
- What is your opinion on the person’s commitment as a pet owner?
- Did you have any issues with the pet?
- Did you receive neighbor complaints regarding the pet?
Be cautious whenever your applicant fails to provide reliable references. You can never be sure if there is a concrete reason for a prospective tenant to be reluctant and hide something.
4. Meet the Pet Candidate
Consider actually seeing the animal in real life before you sign a lease agreement. Getting that first-hand assessment can allow you to understand the pet and its behavior much better than any story you’d hear.
The number one thing to check is whether the pet has been properly socialized. You are going to have maintenance and repair workers enter the premises regularly. That’s why aggressive pets and rental properties don’t mix.
5. Understand the Legal Exceptions
Service animals or emotional support animals are not pets. Denying these animals is a common mistake among rental owners.
Learn about the exceptions that outline a legal entitlement for your tenant to keep an animal with them. If you stop allowing pets in your rental, you still need to account for these circumstances.
6. Decide Which Pets to Allow
Did you know that you can limit the type and breed of pets? This approach is legal under most state laws. For instance, you could only allow cats or prohibit your tenants from having pit bulls.
The most common restricted dog breeds in rental properties include Siberian Huskies, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Alaskan Malamutes, and German Shepherds. Even many insurance companies deny insuring properties that house dangerous breeds.
7. Weigh the Pros & Cons of Pet Rent
As a Kansas City rental owner, you can charge pet rent from your tenants. You just need to ensure that the particular area of your property doesn’t have rent control. If it does, the total combined rent can’t exceed the rent maximum.
While pet deposits are refundable, pet rent isn’t. It’s a type of rent that will cover expenses associated with pet ownership. Regardless of the animal’s conduct, the earned pet rent will be permanently yours.
Your tenant may ask how you will use the pet rent. Here are some of its most common uses:
- You may need to get more frequent air duct upkeep service due to pet hair and dander.
- Pet-free properties receive less wear and tear, so pet rent helps to cover the difference.
- Most pet-friendly rental owners opt for carpet and upholstery cleaning services to eliminate allergens.
8. Make Your Property Pet-Friendly
Pet-friendly rental owners do more than just allow tenants to have cats and dogs with them. You can take practical steps to make the entire property more suitable for renters with animals.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Install feeding stations. See what’s for sale and consider other amenities for pets.
- Do you have water features? Make sure that these are safe for animals.
- Always inform your contractors about the pets beforehand.
- If you have wooden fittings, replace them with aluminum ones instead.
- Get a fence that is high enough to prevent the escape of your tenant’s pets.
- Switch from carpeting to tiles as they are much easier to maintain.
In a Nutshell: How to Successfully Rent to Tenants with Pets
Renting to tenants with pets is bound to generate more interest and bring in potential tenants to your Kansas City, MO rental property. Before you get started, it’s smart to have a game plan ready.
- Decide on which pets you’ll allow and what restrictions are going to be in place.
- Consider pet rent or pet security deposit.
- Verify the pet references; exercise caution if no references are provided.
- Take practical steps to make your property more pet-friendly.
Owning a pet-friendly rental can come with added challenges. When you hire a property manager, however, you can get help every step of the way, from conducting tenant screenings to dealing with tenant complaints. If you are looking for professional guidance and legal expertise in this field, contact Young Management.