Whether you’re a pet-owning renter or a landlord, there are many questions surrounding the topic of renting and pets. Sadly, housing problems are some of the main reasons pets are surrendered to animal shelters. On the other hand, landlords are understandably nervous about renting to pet owners.

Still, there may be good reasons to allow renters who own pets. Let’s explore the pros of renting to pet owners, as well as how to spot a great renter and how to protect your property.

For Landlords: The Pros of Renting to Pet Owners

There are people out there who allow their pets to damage property, disturb neighbors, and generally run amok. However, it’s important to know these people are few and far between. Great reasons to rent to pet owners include:

  • Pet owners are responsible. Being a pet owner is a big commitment. Chances are, someone who is caring and responsible enough to care for an animal will take the same care with your property.
  • Pet owners are everywhere. According to Apartments.com, as many as 70% of renters own pets. Opening up your rental property to applicants with pets will give you a bigger pool from which to choose.
  • Pet owners stay longer. Pet owners are generally stable people who are more likely to stay in a rental for a longer period of time (pet-friendly rentals can be difficult to come by).
  • Pet owners expect larger deposits. If your area is short on pet-friendly rentals, you may be able to charge a premium for renting to pet owners. Most pet owners also expect to pay a larger deposit to cover pet damage. Just remember, all rental agreements must follow Fair Housing laws. If your prospective renter has a service dog, make sure you’re in compliance with ADA regulations.
  • Pet owners are happier. Many studies have shown that people who own pets are happier and less stressed. This can translate into your tenant taking better care of your property and treating it as their home, not just a rental.

Finding the Perfect Pet-Owning Tenant

Let’s face it – for pet owners, the rental market can be brutal. There’s a shortage of pet-friendly rentals, and those that do exist are in high demand. As a landlord, there are several things you should look for when considering whether to rent to a pet-owning tenant:

  • Along with their rental application, pet owners should also include a resume for their pet. This should include a photo, references from current or recent landlords, and the pet’s “story.”
  • Ask for a letter from the pet’s veterinarian that specifies the pet’s good health.  Vaccination records, confirmation of good behavior and training, and proof of spaying/neutering should also be submitted.
  • The applicant should offer you a chance to meet their pet.
  • The applicant should be prepared to pay a reasonable pet deposit or an extra rental fee.
  • Even if you specify “no pets” in your ad, be prepared for renters to ask about this. It may be a worthwhile discussion!

Ways to Protect Yourself

Here are a few other things you can do to mitigate risk when renting to pet owners:

  • Get references and screen the tenant. Remember, a pet could be very well-behaved, while the renter is a poor housekeeper who doesn’t clean up pet messes.  
  • Evaluate personality over breed. Some breeds have a bad rap, but their personality should be the deciding factor. Meet the pet, and judge for yourself!
  • Require that pets be spayed or neutered. Pets who undergo this procedure have fewer behavioral problems and are generally calmer.

We hope this guide is helpful as you consider renting to pet owners. As a landlord, you may be a pet owner yourself and know what loving, responsible people most pet owners can be.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital.