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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting to Tenants With pets — How to Screen Pets

There may be times when a property owner needs to consider renting out their unit to tenants with pets. As a landlord, you might face pros and cons if you allow pets in your property. Most pet owners show responsibility towards your property and agree on paying extra for a pet-friendly unit. Nevertheless there is a chance of unnecessary noise, bad smells, and damage to the unit if you have a tenant with a pet.

There can be numerous causes for you to consider a pet owner as your tenant. The biggest reason could be that a large portion of people own pets. Statistics show that, 63.4% of people in the country have a dog while 42.7% are cat owners.

It is illegal to discriminate against persons requiring a service animal according to The Fair Housing Act. You should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of renting to tenants with pets before agreeing to rent your unit to them. You must also know the terms you need to include in the application. You are responsible to make sure the pet you are letting in your property is fit.

Advantages of having tenants with pets

1. More rent

It is a known fact that tenants with pets pay more rent as compared to non-pet tenants. Reason being that not all property owners allow pets. As landlords need to take care of the wear and tear of the property caused by the pets, so they can charge pet rent, or simply increase the monthly rent.

One thing to keep in mind is to check rent control laws and limits on security deposit before you get the agreement signed.

2. Longer occupancies

Tenants with pets keep their rented placed longer as there is a shortage of properties that allow pets. As a result, pet-owners usually move lesser as they don’t have many options for a new place to rent.

3. Fast filling of vacant units

If you allow pets in your units, more prospective tenants will apply to rent your properties as your unit qualifies to be a good rental place for a higher number of people.

Typically landlords who have pet-friendly units would have a better income because their units remain vacant for a lesser time. Similarly, your rental competition decreases when you start allowing pets.

4. Tenants with pets are responsible

As taking care of pets is a great responsibility, so pet owners usually take decent care of your unit too. There can be exceptions, but, generally, tenants with pets are better at keeping your place well maintained.

5. Lesser violations of lease

If there is a pet clause included in the rent lease, it gets highly unlikely for the renter to break the agreement to bring a pet in the unit. If you find out that the renter is keeping an animal although there is a “no-pet” rule, you need to carry out a long and costly procedure to evict a bad tenant.

Disadvantages of renting to tenants with pets

The cons of owning a pet friendly unit are quite clear. Following are the causes of that property owners avoid renting to tenants with pets.

1. Loss to the property

The top cause of not renting a property to pet-owners is that probability of loss to the property is more. Animals normally scrape or damage wooden floorings and furniture, rip soft stuff like sofas or rugs. The wearing away in places with pets is greater than the ones without them.

2. Neighbor issues with noise

Neighbors usually have an objection about the barking of dogs. Unnecessary and loud noises during the night can cause a severe issue for you as neighbors don’t like such noises. This may cause them to report your property or tenant to the authorities.

3. Issues related to pets

Pets may have foul smells which discourages landlords to allow them in the rental unit. It gets quite difficult to remove these odors from your property even after the tenant has left.

Other pet related issued like fleas, pests and germs can get trapped in furniture and rugs. It can get hard and costly to clean-up after pets as allergens can get stuck in air ducts.

Pet screening prior to renting to tenants with pets

As you screen a prospective tenant, it is equally important to screen a pet before letting them in your property. If you check a pet thoroughly, you can avoid renting to someone having a loud, violent, or troublesome pet that may cause loss your property.

The process of screening can also ensure that the owner has not intentionally hidden anything about the pet. A professional service can be used to go through the pet screening process which will also authenticate service animals.

Checklist for screening of pets

Screening of pets normally relates to dog and some cat breeds. As a property owner, you have the right to deny renting to people with a specific type or breed of pets. According to The Fair Housing Act some animals can’t be classified as assistance animals.

Following is a checklist for screening pet-owners prior to renting out your unit to them:

  • Type of pet

  • Duration of pet ownership

  • Pet’s health and immunization record confirmed by veterinarian

  • Reference from previous landlord

  • Any medical or behavior issues with the pet

  • Is the pet domesticated?

  • Is there an identification tag on the pet?

  • Emergency contact for the pet

  • Info on pet deposit or pet rent

  • Which insurance can be used to cover loss caused by the pet?

If you go through the above checklist with the pet owner in the application, you can avoid any problems that you may face in the future. These will also ensure that the pet is okay to inhibit your property. You should have a thorough policy related to pets added to the rent agreement so that you are covered as far as damaged related to pets are concerned.


As a property owner you need to be well aware of all issues that may be caused as a result of renting to tenants with pets. There can be advantages and disadvantages of renting your unit to pet-owners. In case you rent your unit to tenants with pets, you must make it a point to ask for pet deposit or more rent—according to your state’s laws. You should also check if you can collect more rent or instill a security deposit for an assistance animal.

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Justin Brennan

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