Tenants with pets come in two flavors – those that are responsible and those that aren’t. A strong pet policy can attract the responsible ones and deter the irresponsible ones. For our tenants with pets we have following pet policy:
· $35/pet bump in rent (and +$10/mo. for each additional pet)
· $250/pet bump in security deposit
· Spay or neuter
· Over 18 months old
· Under 50#
· Restricted breeds
We usually max out with 2 pets, but will sometimes allow 3 if the rest of the application is in good order. The bump in security deposit is preferred over a ‘pet deposit’. Pet deposits can only be used for pet-related items whereas a security deposit can be used for anything. Imagine the scenario where a tenant owes a bunch of rent and leaves with the place spotless. The tenant would receive a refund check for the pet deposit even though he/she might owe thousands of dollars in rent!
The spay/neuter requirement is a no-brainer and reduces the chance of pet odors. We won’t accept puppies or kitties for the same odor reason. The weight limit is mostly because big critters generally create a lot of wear-and-tear (if not on the home then on the landscaping). And finally, pit bulls, Dobermans, and other dangerous breeds are simply a huge liability. Some insurance companies will not insure a property with certain animal breeds present.
“Pet rent” is becoming increasingly popular in rental properties. We have not gotten into it much – we don’t like to penalize long-term, responsible pet owners. But it is something we are giving a try with and so far we are not meeting any resistance from pet owners..
In summary, having a strong pet policy – and sticking to it – can be an asset for attracting good, responsible tenants while also protecting your rental asset. Remember to follow it fairly across all applicants.
Peter Nelson is President of Full Service Property Management. Full Service PM offer management and maintenance services for single-family homes, condos, townhouses, HOAs, and small apartment communities in the Seattle metropolitan area including South King County, the Eastside, and Snohomish County.