All property owners struggle with the question of whether or not they should allow pets in their properties. If you look at the statistics, recent surveys show that approximately 70 percent of the potential renters in the greater Seattle area have pets. This means that allowing pets will increase your pool of prospective tenants considerably. The disadvantage here is that when you allow pets, your risk for damage can increase, especially if the tenant is not a responsible pet owner. When you’re screening a tenant who has a pet, make sure you contact current and prior landlords to find out if the pet was a problem.
It’s important to understand that service animals are very different from pets. Animals that provide physical or psychological assistance to a tenant are exempt from any pet restrictions. You cannot charge a pet deposit or extra pet rent when a tenant has a service animal.
Pet Rent or Pet Deposit?
Pet rent is rather specific to certain areas and we don’t find that it’s generally used in the greater Seattle area. Pet rent is an additional monthly rent for tenants who have pets in their homes. A pet deposit is a little different; it’s charged in addition to the regular security deposit and it’s fully refundable if there’s no pet damage noted at the time of move out. The major advantage to charging a pet deposit is that it provides a greater incentive to tenants to ensure their pet does no damage. The prospect of having a significant amount of money returned to them at the end of their tenancy will make a tenant more diligent.
Except when we’re talking about service animals, owners have the option to allow pets or not allow them. As an owner, you can decide what type of pet is permitted, how many pets you’ll allow and whether you’ll place restrictions on size, breed, age etc. Property management companies will be diligent in screening a potential pet to make sure it meets an owner’s criteria.
It’s important to note that there are a few dog breeds that are considered aggressive by insurance companies and allowing those breeds into your rental property may have a detrimental effect on your rental insurance policy. Talk to your property manager and insurance agents about what breeds should be avoided.
If you have any questions as you try to develop a pet policy of your own, please contact us at Brink Property Management, and we’d be happy to help you.