3 Tips to Reducing the Risks of Renting to Pet Owners

featured image

Rental property owners know there is a large number of renters who also happen to be pet owners. And historically, many owners have shied away from accepting pet-loving tenants due to the increased risks of property damage and expenses. However, in today’s rental industry, not allowing pets at all could have you missing out on a substantial pool of potential renters.

So, how can you open your business up to accepting pets without losing money? Fortunately, there are a few tips to help you mitigate the risks associated with four-legged family members. Here are three suggestions to reduce those risks that will also put your mind at ease and keep your rental property expenses to a minimum.

Pet Screening Can Be Just Important as Tenant Screening

You understand the importance of tenant pre-screening. But, if you’re entertaining renters with pets, you should have a pet pre-screening policy, as well. Of course, you’re not going to necessarily interview Fido or run a background check on Felix. What you can do, though, is develop a questionnaire and checklist to discuss with new potential renters about their pets. Some critters are more high-maintenance than others. For example, a new Great Dane puppy might be a higher risk pet than a senior Pug. An intact male cat may present more risk of property damage than a spayed one. You wouldn’t necessarily have to reject the renting candidate based on this type of information, either. But asking more probing questions ahead of time can help you prepare and evaluate your overall risks. And don’t fret if you don’t consider yourself a pet expert. If the thought of pre-screening pets still has you scratching your head, there are a few third party vendors that we can help connect you with to get started.

Incorporate a Pet Fee or Deposit

For those new pet-owning renters, consider incorporating a pet fee or deposit as part of your lease terms. Most people expect these fees and will gladly pay, knowing they have found a landlord who will accept them. A pet fee also sets the expectation with the renters that those deposits can be refundable if they remain diligent and motivated to prevent pet damage. These fees can be structured in various ways, depending on the overall risk of the pet or pets involved. Usually, they’re calculated on average costs to repair commonly damaged areas. Replacing carpet, for example, might be a required expense when the tenant moves and can be easily calculated into a pet fee.

Insurance Requirements at the Tenant Level

Another layer of rental property owner protection from pet-owning tenants is insurance. Those who rent will often carry insurance to protect their possessions. But they can also be required to add you as an additional insured on their policy. This allows a transfer of liability, in the event of pet-induced property damage, to the tenant’s insurer, relieving you of those costly repairs later.

There have been countless headlines and news stories over the last year about the popularity of pet ownership, especially during quarantine. Americans have been adopting shelter pets and bringing new critters into their families at an increasingly high rate. As a rental property owner, you could be missing out on a massive audience if you enforce a strict, no-pet policy. Contact us to learn more about mitigating your risks with renting to pet owners. We can help you develop a strategy that preserves your bottom line and allows you to remain available to this ever-growing market of potential renters.

If you find tips like these helpful, we would love for you to join us for other tips and strategies by signing up for our free webinar. Learn risk mitigation and ROI best practices when we explore How to Streamline Your Rental Portfolio for Maximum Growth.

And for ongoing conversations with other like-minded and business-savvy property investors, join our Facebook group. Anytime you’re ready to have more personalized discussions about your rental property business, you’re welcome to schedule a meeting on my calendar. Let’s connect and discuss your growth strategy for 2021!