Atlanta Area Property Manager Discusses if Owners Should Allow Pets in Rental Property?

Real Estate Agent with Solid Source Property Management, Inc.

A lot of owners are concerned about having pets in their property. So I wanted to discuss the pros and cons of accepting pets in an effort to help owners make educated choices. The biggest concern with pets is of course pet damage. 

This month, we are transitioning to new property management software. This transition has allowed us to examine our base of business and to help us better serve our clients and tenants. What I found as part of our analysis was that 30% of our tenant base has at least one pet. Some actually have multiple pets. 

So what does that mean to you? First, if you are an owner of investment property and don't want to accept pets, you are significantly reducing the number of tenants that will want to rent your place which will result in longer vacancies. 

So what is a landlord to do? We encourage all of our owners to accept pets with conditions. It has been our experience that if you do not allow pets, the responsible pet owners will go elsewhere and you will still end up with unauthorized pets for those tenants who are dishonest. Unauthorized pets create more damage and are a bigger liability. 

There are certain pets that due to insurance requirements, we cannot accept. Those are the vicious breeds - Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Siberian Huskies. The interesting thing is that people who have these breeds are appalled that we don't accept them. While we are sure that there are many dogs in those breeds that are fine, there are a greater number that have caused problems and our insurance would not cover us should a problem arise. 

Responsible pet owners are happy to pay a pet deposit. We recommend charging a non-refundable portion for the privilege of having a pet and returning the rest provided that the lease was honored and there were no damages. 

We have all our residents sign a pet policy even if they don't have a pet, so that everyone knows exactly what our pet terms are. It also shares with them the consequences of having an unauthorized pet. We find this comes in handy from time to time. 

We charge based on the weight of the animal the heavier the breed, the more the deposit. Also, we take into consideration the type of dog as some dogs are notorious chewers while others are just helping keep their owner's lap warm. 

We love our pets and understand that others do too. I hope that this has helped take the fear out of accepting pets in your rental property. 

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