When you own a rental property, you have to be selective about your tenants – and that includes the pets that come with them. This guide explains whether you should choose to allow pets in your rental property, and if you do, how to handle all the special circumstances that may arise.

Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?

Generally, it’s good business to allow pets in a rental property. However, that doesn’t mean you need to allow all pets – you still maintain the ability to choose what types of pets you’re comfortable allowing in your investment property. The following sections explain why allowing pets in your rental may be a sound business decision.

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How Many Renters Have Pets?

Statistically, more than half of all renters have pets. That means that if you’re not allowing pets in your rental property, you’re automatically excluding a significant portion of the renting population.

Can You Impose Breed or Size Restrictions?

You don’t have to allow certain pets in your rental. You can place restrictions on what types, sizes and even breeds (in most locations) of pets are allowed to live in your rental property. It’s not a blanket policy; you don’t have to allow a tenants to keep potbellied pigs, pygmy goats, alligators, birds, dogs or cats. You can choose which types of pets are welcome in your property based on a careful analysis of how different types of animals typically affect the homes they live in.

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Can You Charge a Pet Deposit or Pet Rent?

Most landlords who allow pets in their rental property charge a pet deposit, which is typically equal to one month’s rent. This deposit is separate from the security deposit that all tenants must pay, and it covers any additional cleaning or damage that may be caused by the pet.

Some landlords also charge pet rent, which is a monthly fee that helps offset the additional wear and tear that pets can cause on a rental property.

What Can You Use a Pet Deposit For?

A pet deposit can be used to cover any additional damage that a pet may cause to your rental property, including scratches on floors or walls, holes in carpeting, and damage to doors or cabinets.

A pet deposit can also be used to cover the cost of professional cleaning services that may be required to remove pet hair, dander, and other allergens from your rental property.

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A Word on Renters Keeping Pets in Pet-Free Homes

Unfortunately, some tenants will sneak in pets even when they’re not allowed. If you discover that a tenant has a pet in a pet-free home, you can evict them for violating the terms of their lease agreement.

Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals

Federal law requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including allowing emotional support animals and service animals in pet-free homes.

Landlords cannot charge pet deposits or pet rent for emotional support animals or service animals.

Pet Owners Are Statistically More Likely to Renew Their Lease With You

Allowing tenants to keep pets in your rental property can actually help you retain good tenants. Studies have shown that pet owners are more likely to renew their leases than tenants without pets.

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