Tenants love their furry friends! According to the 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 67% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.9 million homes. But often Dallas property managers worry that the value of their rental unit will decrease if they allow tenants to have pets. Some landlords are also concerned that their cash flow will be hurt with increased maintenance and damage to the property. However, most studies show that with fewer unit vacancy days, added premium pet deposits, and minimum actual damage to property, allowing pets can increase your investment’s cash flow and attractiveness to potential tenants.
Pet-Friendly Units Have Decreased Vacancy Days
Pets are usually seen as valued members of the family and can influence the choices of where a family ultimately lives. Since there is such a shortage of pet-friendly rental property options, adding a pet-friendly policy for your rental unit can invite more possible tenants. In fact, most rental homes and apartments that allow pets have more applications received, which means a bigger pool of tenants to pick from. Once tenants know they are in a comfortable, pet-friendly home, they will more likely want to stay for a while. When you choose to rent out your home and allow pets, fewer vacancy days means you’ll see a steady cash flow and longer lengths of tenancy. “Tenants in pet-friendly rentals stayed an average of 46 months compared to 18 months for tenants residing in rentals prohibiting pets.” – from petfinder.com
Pets Actually Don’t Cause Greater Damage Risk
A big concern among Dallas property managers is that allowing pets means that more money will have to go toward the cost of repairs for damage caused by animals. After all, those furry friends have claws and teeth that can scratch the walls, pull up carpet, and leave stinky messes everywhere! But studies show that the actual damage caused to property from pets isn’t much higher than normal damages caused by non-pet owning tenants. While some damage is reported by landlords who allow pets in their units, the cost averaged $430, which is far less than the rent deposit paid. Oftentimes, landlords will subtract these damages from that deposit and not actually be out any money.
Landlords Who Allow Pets are Likely to See 20-30% More in Rent
In a nationwide study conducted by FIREPAW, a non-profit organization dedicated to handling animal welfare services, it was found that property managers who allow animals in their rental properties are seeing an increase in their bottom line profits. Their research found that the biggest reason for animals to be relinquished by their owners is due to housing issues where the property owner will not allow the animal. Even though pet owners are willing to pay more in rent to keep their animals, there is still a shortage of landlords willing to accept pets.
“Because of their ability to charge a separate pet deposit which can range anywhere from 40-85% of the rent, and charge a larger deposit upfront, property owners who allow pets in their properties are seeing their bottom lines increase substantially,” said Don Lawby, President of Property Management Business Solutions, the franchisor of Specialized Property Management. “Specialized Property Management encourages Dallas property managers to allow pets whenever possible as a means to assist them in achieving financial goals faster.”
The study clearly indicates the rent differential between housing accepting animals and those who do not was 20-30% higher on average, which equates to an average overall rent for participants in the study coming in at $1070 per month.
Added Benefits to Dallas Property Managers Who Allow Pets
You’ll Spend Less on Marketing
Because tenants who have pets tend to stay in their rental homes longer, you’ll spend less money on marketing and advertising for your rental home. You won’t have to go through the tenant screening process as often or worry about showing the home to potential tenants multiple times. “The amount landlords had to spend on advertising their units was lower for pet-friendly housing at $15 per unit compared to $32 per unit for other housing. Additionally, landlords needed to spend less than half the amount of time marketing pet-friendly housing.” – from petfinder.com
You Can Customize Your Pet Policies
Maybe you’re leery of pitbulls and rottweilers and you don’t want them in or around your property. Or perhaps you want to only allow smaller breeds of dogs and cats, and that’s your right as a property manager to do that. But maybe you need a little help with the wording in the lease agreement. Luckily, FIREPAW has designed a Companion Animal Renters Program (CARP) that helps develop individual pet programs for rental property owners. It customizes pet policies and pet agreements for your leasing situation. They have dispelled the negative myths around pets and renting and help both landlords and tenants work together to establish more pet-friendly renting options.
A Note About the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Service Animals
When someone with a disability applies to rent out your home, it’s imperative that you understand the laws and rights that protect that applicant from experiencing any housing discrimination. Housing discrimination is a serious offense. Dallas property managers need to be aware of anything in their lease agreements or accommodations to the property that would not allow a tenant with a disability to use or enjoy the property they are renting. Some people with disabilities require the use of an assistance animal or service animal to help them get around and function in their day-to-day activities.
“An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.” –from hud.gov
“A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.” –from adata.org
The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.
A person qualifies as disabled and legally protected if:
- The person has a written record of a disability
- The person experiences a disability either mental or physical that limits his or her ability to perform major life activities
- The person is recognized by other people as having a disability
Individuals are protected by the Fair Housing Act from being denied housing because of race, color, sex, religion, presence of children, or disability. Your housing application needs to take care not to ask questions about specific disabilities. If your applicant has a disability, you cannot ask how severe that disability is. Some reasonable changes may have to be made to the rental property to accommodate someone with a disability. All changes and agreements need to be clearly stated in the lease and understood by both landlord and tenant to avoid any misunderstandings.
If you have a no-pet policy for your rental home, you still have to allow service animals. You can be fined and taken to court for failing to abide by this law. Service animals are not considered pets and landlords are required by law to allow them in the rental property. Dallas property managers should also avoid charging additional pet fees for service animals.
Advice to Tenants About Pets
If you’re a tenant with a pet who is a part of your family, it can be frustrating to find a rental home you love owned by a landlord who doesn’t allow pets on the property. Our advice? Talk to the landlord and present the above arguments about why allowing pets is actually better for him/her in the long run. Some property owners don’t have all the facts and research available about allowing pets, and don’t realize they could be increasing both their tenant pool and their revenue by changing their policies. If you do find a property owner who will allow your furry friend, take care to train your animal to not scratch or claw the carpet and be aware of the noise your pet may cause to neighbors.
Why Choose Specialized Property Management Dallas
At SPM Dallas, we believe allowing pets in your rental home comes with enough benefits to outweigh the small risks. We offer comprehensive management services for your rental property and have an experienced team of professionals who will keep you in compliance with all state, local, and federal laws. We save you time and money and take the stress out of operating and owning a rental property.
“I have been with Specialized Property Management since 2006 and I have to say they are a top notch management company. The staff is amazing and they partner with equally as awesome resources. Thank you for a no hassle, stress free, delightful experience.” – Google review from Ursula Boudreaux
Contact your Specialized Property Management Dallas team today at: 214-233-7572!