Should you allow pets in your rental properties? This is a question many landlords ask themselves, and while some animals are less likely to cause damage, many landlords ban pets altogether because it’s easier.
If you’re not sure you want to allow tenants to keep pets in your rental properties, there are several reasons to lean toward allowing (most) pets. If you’re still on the fence, here are three reasons to make your rental properties pet-friendly.
1. You can pet-proof your property
There’s no denying that pets can do some serious damage to a home, but there are ways you can pet-proof your rental properties. Doing this will be a long-term investment, but it’s worth it in the end because it will help you stay profitable.
Not sure how it’s done? Los Angeles Property Management Group shares several ways to pet-proof your rental property, including:
- Install pet-friendly flooring, like hardwood or vinyl floors
- For furnished rentals, get chew-proof furniture
- Limit the number of pets per unit
- Charge a refundable pet deposit
These are all pretty easy ways to reduce the potential for damage caused by pets. When you have hardwood or vinyl floors, you don’t have to worry about having to rip up carpet and carpet padding to get rid of pet urine. Limiting the number of pets per unit makes it easy to evict a tenant who starts to hoard animals. And finally, charging a refundable pet deposit will give you the funds to cover most damages, even when those damages weren’t intentional.
2. You won’t need to fuss over ESAs
When you don’t allow pets in your rental properties, you’ll have to give your time and attention to tenants who request an accommodation for an emotional support animal (ESA). This process can feel like an inconvenience to you, but it can also be extremely frustrating for tenants who legitimately rely on their dog or cat for emotional support.
Although many people fake having an ESA in order to get their pet accepted into a rental unit, there are people who genuinely need their animal to maintain a state of wellbeing. Animals provide immense comfort to people, and for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other issues, that comfort is a lifeline.
Allowing pets will make it, so you don’t need to field accommodation requests from tenants for ESAs. This will also reduce the chances of getting sued by a tenant if you refuse their request or ask for a certification. Neither service animals nor emotional support animals require certifications to be valid. If your tenant requests accommodation for an ESA, they only need to prove they have a diagnosable emotional condition that can be alleviated by having an animal.
3. You’re less likely to get sued by a tenant with a service animal
If you’re like most landlords, you mean well and wouldn’t intentionally deny someone their legal right to keep a service animal in their home under a no-pets policy. However, the laws concerning service animals are grossly misunderstood, and landlords often believe tenants need to provide some kind of certification to prove their animal is a service animal.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals don’t require certification to be valid. As a landlord, you’re only legally allowed to ask a tenant two questions:
- Is your animal a service animal?
- What tasks is the animal trained to perform?
You can’t ask about the nature of your tenant’s disability or anything else outside of those two questions. Many people who rely on service dogs are used to people being rude, judgmental, and discriminatory based on their ignorance of the law. After dealing with many other situations, some people won’t have the patience to try to have a conversation with you about the law. Sometimes, people go straight to the courthouse to file a lawsuit.
Allowing pets will help you avoid this type of situation because you won’t need to know if an animal is a service animal, an ESA, or a pet.
Pets are family
By allowing your tenants to keep pets, you’re allowing them to keep a loved member of their family. Like small children, pets can be destructive at times, but there are ways to work around it. Pets are family to many people, and they shouldn’t be forced to give them up just to find a new place to live.