Back in 2013 only about 43 percent of renters claimed to be pet owners according to a survey done by Apartments.com. Their most recent survey revealed that number jumped all the way to 72 percent in a short two years. The same survey found that non-pet owners weren’t annoyed by living in pet friendly communities and many of them actually enjoyed it.
What does this mean? If you’re a property owner, it means you might want to consider renting to people with pets if you don’t want to miss a large market of good renters. Should you accept all pets? Probably not. Know what your city allows. Know the limitations set by your insurance company. Know your own comfort level. Be consistent. You can pick and choose what you allow. Some common practices are to allow one pet only, one cat or one dog, or maybe a two pet limit will work for your rental. Some people put restrictions on weight and breed of dogs. Whatever you do, be consistent. You do not want break to fair housing laws.
Can you charge for allowing pets? Yes, you can as long as it’s not a medical necessity for your resident. It’s not uncommon for landlords to charge a monthly fee for each animal, usually ranging from $25 to $50 per pet. You can also charge an additional pet deposit or fee at move in. Please contact an attorney before charging extra fees. You do not want to break any laws here. Some states, like Michigan, only allow landlords to charge one and a half times the rent for deposit.
Bottom line, know the market, know the trends, be ready for them. Educate yourself on current laws. As Grand Rapids property managers, that’s what we do every single day. We stay in front of these trends so we can best serve our clients. So when a client asks us if we will accept pets, we tend to say yes. We don’t want to miss out on a great renter if they have a little dog. If we can leverage the risk by performing a thorough background check and collecting fees that will cover any possible damage that is what we will do.