Realty Insites: Pets help landlords rent spots
Updated: August 27, 2012 1:48PM
Landlords are competing with many more apartments and homes on the rental market these days.
Homes sold in foreclosure or at distressed prices have resulted in many more investor landlords. And some relocating homeowners are choosing to rent rather than sell in slow markets.
Faced with stiffer competition, how does one enhance a property’s rentability factor? Obviously, condition and pricing are important. But pets rate pretty high on the list, too.
According to a recent national survey by Apartments.com, more renters than ever before are saying that if a rental doesn’t allow a pet, they don’t want it. The group found that 43 percent of those surveyed said they are current pet owners, and more than a quarter noted that they plan to get a pet within the next year. Even among those who weren’t pet owners, 34 percent still said they wanted to have the option of having a pet. Furthermore, only twenty percent of non-pet-owning renters said they avoided properties that allow pets.
“Renters have made it clear that not accommodating a pet could be a deal-breaker,” said Tammy Kotula, a spokeswoman with Apartments.com.
Considering how many Americans have pets, it’s an important landlord-tenant consideration. According to the National Pet Owners Survey of the American Pet Products Association, 62 percent of American households have at least one pet. As a result, pet-friendly landlords will likely always have a much bigger pool of potential tenants to choose from than those who do not accept pets.
That said, how do landlords make sure their properties stay as safe and sound as the pets they allow within their rental’s walls? Veterinary groups suggest these tips for landlords:
• Request references from prior landlords, if applicable. A reference check will allow you to quickly find out if the tenant has a good rental history and maintained their previous residence in good condition.
• Prefer that pets be spayed and neutered. Spaying and neutering not only prevents unplanned litters, but also eliminates many undesirable behaviors that can cause potential property damage or liability.
• Ask for proof of vaccination for distemper and rabies. Up-to-date vaccinations are generally a good indication of a responsible pet owner.
• Request a reasonable and fully refundable pet deposit. With the proper due diligence up front, there is no reason to automatically assume that a pet is going to cause property damage that will warrant additional rent or a nonrefundable deposit.
• Check the pets-per-home count limit for your municipality and make sure tenants comply to those and any other local rules.
Finally, in those cases where unwanted pet smells remain after move-outs, property managers and veterinarians alike say that new products, like Smells Begone or D-Molish, are effective in permanently eliminating the smell and not just masking it.
Julie Morse is
a Realtor. ~.