Updated Februrary 7, 2022
The 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey found that 67% of households in the United States have a pet. That is nearly 85 million families that own at least one pet. Deciding if your rental property in Atlanta will be a home that allows pets is a big decision.
There are pros and cons to allowing pets into your rental properties. Some of those reasons could help generate more revenue for you—while others could potentially end up costing you money. If you're working with an expert Atlanta property management company (like Renters Warehouse), they'll be able to help you carefully consider all the factors to decide what best suits your rental property.
However, if you're working alone, consider the following information before you make a move to approve (or deny) your property's pet potential.
Legal note: This article isn't legal counsel. However, it can provide rental property owners in the Atlanta area with a great starting point before they move to work with their attorney or Atlanta property management team.
Is Allowing Pets Even an Option?
The first question you need to consider is whether having pets on your property is allowed by both your insurance company and your homeowner's association (HOA). Some policies restrict, have disclaimers against, or have limitations on the types of pets allowed.
Dogs are the most common pets to be restricted by breed. Some examples of dogs that many insurance policies will not allow or have restrictions on include:
- German Shepherds
- Saint Bernards
- Pit Bulls.
You also would want to require your renter (as an element of your lease) to purchase renter’s insurance that covers any possible injuries caused by the animal. Your lease agreement should also include any specific rules about the pets calling your rental property in Atlanta home (such as any additional fees) and what type of pets you will or won't allow on the property.
What Are the Benefits of Allowing Pets?
Your initial thought when considering whether to allow pets in your Atlanta rental homes may be about the potential negatives. However, if you take a moment to look at all the positives as a rental property owner, this can help you to make a decision based on the returns you need to get out of your property—rather than your initial gut feeling.
A full-service property management company in Atlanta will almost always recommend that you allow pets into your rental property for the following reasons. Still, even if you are working with Atlanta property management services, the final say always falls with you as the property owner.
More People to Choose From
One of the largest benefits of allowing pets in your rental property is providing you with a wider pool of potential renters to choose from. With 67% of households owning a pet in the United States, you'll find the majority of your renters will come pre-packaged with some form of companion.
If your policy is to not allow pets at all, some people will completely skip over your rental homes. For these renters, keeping their pets is not an option; some view them as close as family. If you want to appeal to as many potential renters as you can with your rental property in Atlanta, allowing pets is one way to help yourself stand out in our rental market.
Pet owners typically have a difficult time finding a rental that allows pets. If a renter finds a place they like and they can keep their pet, they are usually willing to stay longer—especially if you also happen to respond promptly to maintenance requests.
No renter wants to have to go through the process of searching for another rental property in Atlanta: moving is expensive and stressful. However, moving exhaustion is magnified when you have to consider pets.
With this in mind, most renters would prefer to stay in a home they already consider reliable and enjoyable. As a rental property owner, this leads to reduced turnover and make-ready costs for you in the form of renewed leases. Avoiding vacancy is something every rental property owner wants, so having a renter that wants to continue to renew their lease is another perk for pet allowance.
Higher Monthly Income
Allowing pets means you do have to address the potential for damage, so tacking on a monthly 'pet rent' fee is a great way to protect both you and your renter. Pending any potential mishaps, you will automatically have a higher income rate every month.
It's also wise to require a refundable pet deposit at the outset that can cover any instances of extreme damage. But a monthly additional pet fee (even if it is low) can add up throughout your renter’s lease. A pet damage deposit is the industry standard, but pet rent rates can vary wildly. You should always discuss what rate will help keep your property competitive in the Atlanta area with your Atlanta property management team.
What Are the Disadvantages of Allowing Pets?
If you are a pet owner yourself—or know someone that is—you most likely know the potential disadvantages of having a pet in your Atlanta rental homes. Weighing those against the positives just discussed is important in making the right decision for your property and your income.
Damage to the Property
The most common danger of having a pet is the damage it can cause. This may be minimal, from a few scratches on the floor to more serious damage to furniture or outdoor spaces. If a pet ruins any items included in your property (for example, if you offer a fully-furnished home), you will have to either purchase new items or hire someone to come repair the damage.
Both of these options would cost you money out of pocket if the security deposit you asked for wasn't enough to cover said damage.
Disturbance to the Neighborhood
Depending on the type of animal your renter has, they could potentially bother nearby neighbors or even cause injury to someone. Animals such as dogs could cause unwanted noise with loud or constant barking. If not properly contained, they could also get into nearby properties and cause damage or injury.
While this would be the responsibility of your renter under their renter’s insurance, you would not want to cause any undue issues with the neighbors. Legal issues from aggressive pets can still come back to cause you problems as a property owner when associated with your rental property.
What Should You Do Next?
If you decide you would rather not deal with the potential problems that come with renting to pet owners, then making a clear no-pet policy is important.
However, if you think you want to allow pets to improve your chances of finding your next renter, making a clear policy is still important.
- Check your insurance and see what type of pets you are allowed to have, then decide what restrictions, if any, you as the property owner want to add.
- Discuss the policy with your renter before signing the lease so you both agree. You can then have the chance to provide a home to one of 85 million families that have a pet.
You can always confirm that you're on the right track with your pet policies and fees by running your lease agreement by an Atlanta property management company! Here at Renters Warehouse, we have the insight you need to ensure you're maximizing your rental income.
Get started by getting in touch with us!