According to the American Pet Products Association, 65% of Americans have pets. This means that a large percentage of your market owns at least 1 pet. If you don’t allow them in your rental, you’re missing out on potential profit by eliminating two-thirds of prospective tenants before they even look at your vacant unit.
There are both pros and cons to allowing pets in your rental properties. They can do a lot of damage to your property and can be a disturbance to other tenants.
On the other hand, by allowing pets, you’ll have more potential applicants for your property. Considering the high percentage of pet owners and the fact that they typically lease longer, allowing pets could be very beneficial.
In this post, you’ll learn about the differences between the types of pet fees, pet deposits, and pet rent, and which ones you should charge as a property owner in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Pet Clauses in Your Lease Agreement
Any time a tenant brings home a new pet during the lease, they are subject to the charges, deposits, pet leases, etc. You should include a stipulation for a large fine for tenants who, in the rare case, try and sneak in pets.
Another clause you can include is to limit the number, size, breed, type, or any other qualifications for pets in your rental property. Be clear about what types of pets you want and indicate it in your lease agreement.
If you’re thinking about allowing pets, consider charging a pet deposit, pet fee, or pet rent.
The Basics: Pet Deposits vs Pet Fees
The main difference between a pet deposit and a pet fee is that deposits are refundable. Pet fees are not. A common misconception is that people think that it’s the opposite.
What is a pet fee?
Simply put, a pet fee is like an admission fee that the tenant pays to allow their pet to stay in the property. However, this does not cover any damages caused by the pet, and it is non-refundable.
What is a pet deposit?
A pet deposit is the equivalent of a security deposit. For example, upon a tenant’s move-out inspection, if it is determined that there is no pet damage, you will need to return the deposit.
If you discover that there is damage, you will need to send your tenant an itemized list of how much you spent to repair the pet damage. This justifies keeping all or part of the pet deposit — just as you do for a security deposit.
It’s better to meet the pet before signing the lease because you can assess during this time if the pet can be controlled by its owner and is generally well-behaved.
What about pet rent?
Pet rent is an additional amount of money added to the regular rent. This amount depends on the number and type of pets allowed. Many property owners are adopting this practice to charge a monthly recurring fee instead of a pet deposit or pet fee. This is because it significantly increases the monthly revenue.
Do I charge a fee?
If you do not charge a pet deposit or fee, you can still use the security deposit to pay for damages caused by a tenant’s pet. However, by having the extra revenue obtained through pet deposits or fees, you have additional recourse in case there are repair expenses.
If you do allow pets, there are numerous ways to make their experience renting at your property more enjoyable. Prepare your tenants a list of areas that are nice for walks, and provide a supply of waste baggies that can be placed outdoors. In the end, offering these solutions will make it easy for both you and your tenant, building a strong landlord-tenant relationship.
Make sure your lease is well written, and that expectations are clearly set for these fees to be charged. A good way to foster a better landlord-tenant relationship and higher returns is by allowing your tenants to have pets. Regardless of whether you charge a pet deposit, pet expense, pet lease, or nothing extra, it will increase your chances of a successful rental.
The bottom line
There are most definitely both pros and cons of allowing pets in your property in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Due to the fact that so many prospective tenants have pets, there’s a much larger pool to choose from, increasing your chances of selecting a great renter. Pet-friendly rentals attract a high number of tenants, allowing landlords to spend less time and money advertising and marketing their property. They often find better quality and longer leasing tenants because of it.