Whether or not you decide to allow renters to have pets is a person decision. Though, it may also be a business one, since you can charge more for every apartment that has pets. However, there is a greater chance for damage because animals can be destructive, especially younger ones.
Here are some things to think about when renting to those with pets.
Fair Housing Laws. There are Fair Housing Laws that you must follow. Even if you don’t allow pets, you can’t turn away someone who is disabled who needs a service dog. The amount of people who need service dogs are growing. It used to be just blind and paralyzed people need service dogs. Now, anyone who is “disabled” including those who need emotional support.
Check your insurance policy. Not all insurance policies will allow you to have pets at your rental properties. Some may have certain restrictions which you must follow if you want to be protected in case of any problems. Make sure that you have enough liability in case of a dog or cat bite. You need to protect yourself.
Check your lease. Make sure that you have a pet policy that is clearly stated in the lease. Not only should it say whether or not you allow pets, you should have clear rules about the pets that you allow and what you expect from the owners.
Types of Pets. You are the only one who can decide what types of pets that you allow in your building. Fish tanks and small animals kept in a cage are usually fine, though if you don’t keep after them, they can smell. Some people don’t want cats in their apartments due to the smell and some don’t want to deal with dogs and their mess outside. You can limit what types of animals that you allow in your apartment building.
Breeds. Once you decide what types of pets, you can also decide which breeds to allow. When it comes to dogs, you may try to limit them due to their size. Bigger dogs can do more damage than smaller ones so you might start there. Depending on your location, certain aggressive breeds may be outlawed so they are out. Even if they are not, you may not want the potential for a lawsuit by allowing pit bulls and other aggressive breeds.
How many pets. You can set a limit to how many pets you will allow in a single apartment. The more that you allow, the more likely there will be damage. Think about the size of the apartments before you decide how many to allow. A few cats would be happy in a one-bedroom but could you see five medium to large dogs in the same area? Not unless you want your apartment to be damaged.
What happens if they sneak one in. Whether you allow pets or not, there are times when a renter will sneak a pet in, without letting you know. This may even be because they have more pets than you allow. However, you are allowed to fine them (and it can be a big one) if you ever find a unknown pet in their apartment. For this reason, you may do routine checkups (changing light bulbs, checking appliances, etc) in order to see if there are any pets there without your knowledge.
When deciding about whether or not you should allow pets, it can be helpful to consider all of the options. You should always check with your insurance to make sure that it will cover everything necessary if you allow pets. Then, you can decide what types of pets and how many you allow. You should also take action if someone is not following your rules. This should all be listed in the lease so everyone knows exactly what is expected of them!