Every pet owner loves their furry friend, but when it comes to allowing pets into a rental property, the topic of pets suddenly becomes controversial. There are a lot of benefits and risks to welcoming animals into your investment home in Washington, D.C., and we’re talking about those in today’s blog.
Benefits to Pet-Friendly Rental Properties
There has been a huge explosion in pet ownership in the United States and here in Washington, D.C. in the last 10 years. According to our own data, we estimate that about 68 percent of renters now own at least one pet. But, only about 50 percent of landlords allow pets in their properties.
There’s a huge disparity in those numbers. And, it presents opportunities for you if you’re a landlord. The economics are such that if you allow pets, you can probably charge a little more in rent. Because there’s a shortage of properties that allow pets, the demand is higher, so tenants will be willing to pay a higher rent if it means they can move in with their cat or dog.
Another benefit is that you’ll have a lower vacancy period. When you allow pets, tenants who have pets will be eager to sign a lease. If you don’t allow pets and the majority of tenants have pets, you might have to wait a little longer to get your property rented.
Risks to Allowing Pets into Rental Properties
The benefits are usually worth allowing pets. But, there are also risks and things that you should contemplate. For example, you need to be sure your building or your community allows pets. There may be restrictions on breeds and noise. You also have to consider allergies. Allowing a pet for the current lease term might be fine, but what if a future tenant has allergies and you cannot remove all the pet dander and odors from the carpets? You’ll have to spend a little more money turning the property.
Damage is a huge factor, too. There will almost always be more wear and tear on a property when there’s a pet in residence.
Mitigating the Risk of Pets
At EJF Real Estate Services, we have a number of ways to counter these risks. First, we require all of our tenants to carry renter’s insurance. This will over most or all of the damages that can be caused by pets. We also use Petscreener.com to screen every pet before a tenant moves in. We also screen annually, so we can be sure that the animal is up to date on its shots and vaccines. If you visit our website, you can find more information and another video about pet screening.
Then, we go one step further. If we screen a pet and that pet damages your property beyond what we’ve collected for a security deposit, we will cover up to $2,000 of additional damage. This is our Pet Assurance Guarantee, and it allows you to accept pets with a lot less risk.
If you have any questions about our pet policy, or you’d like more information, please contact us at EJF Real Estate Services.