As a Utah property owner, there are pros and cons to allowing your renters to keep pets. On one hand, pets are adorable—and they make everybody happy. On the other hand, they might eat your woodwork and dig holes in your yard. What’s a property investor to do?
Before you make a firm decision on whether or not you should allow pets in your rental property, it’s a good idea to really consider the benefits and potential drawbacks. Overall, our property management team tends to lean toward allowing pets—but in the end, the choice is up to you!
Please note: This article is not intended as a substitute for the great legal advice of a skilled attorney. It’s designed to help property owners get a better understanding of ‘pet legalese.’ If you need direct legal counsel, reach out to your allies at Reeder Asset Management!
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
Before we get too deep into discussing whether property owners should allow pets, it’s important to stress that we’re not talking about service animals or emotional support animals.
When it comes to these particular critters and people with disabilities, you really don’t have much of a choice. You have to allow residents to have service animals, or else you risk running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and even Utah state law. These are some of the basic facts you need to know.
- Property owners may not prohibit renters from having a service animal or emotional support animal in their unit.
- Property owners may not ask to see proof that an animal is, in fact, trained to fill the role of a service animal.
- Property owners may not charge extra for a resident to keep a service animal in their property.
- Property owners may not request a pet deposit for a service animal outside of their usual security deposit.
Don’t get on the wrong side of federal housing laws and protections: let your experienced property management company handle this one. A residential property manager has the expertise needed to approach these situations with care.
Pros and Cons of Pets in Your Property
Pro: Your Property Will Appeal to More Renters
Pet owners make up a significant chunk of the population, so the math is pretty simple. Allow pets, and you’re opening up your Utah property to a wider range of potential renters! That means you should be able to fill vacant units more quickly. Pets are especially popular among younger generations (recent studies show that 75% of people in their 30s own dogs). So if you want to rent to millennials, allowing pets is a good start.
Con: There Is Potential for Pet Damage
- Cats can scratch the walls and rub the paint off of corners
- Dogs can chew on wood and dig up your landscaping
- Snakes can leave a lingering odor in the basement
- Rodents can find their way into the walls.
There’s always a chance that some damage could occur if you allow pets. But, hey: That’s what pet deposits are for!
Pro: Renters Are More Likely to Renew Their Lease
A great pet-friendly rental is hard to find, and once a renter moves into a place they love that allows pets, they’re not going to want to go out and find another one. Allowing pets in your rental property is a great way to get your residents to stay longer—which is crucial to shortening vacancy cycles and boosting your profits. After all, it costs you a lot less to keep a resident you already have than it does to find a new one.
Con: Things Might Get Loud
Nobody likes a barking dog in the middle of the night. Noise complaints are some of the most common issues that come up in rental properties that allow pets. One solution to this is to insist on accepting only renters with well-trained animals and using the pet screening services of property management companies to identify problem pets.
Pro: Responsible Pet Owners Are Responsible Residents
Chances are if someone has it ‘together’ enough to take care of a four-legged friend, they’re also pretty stable in other areas of their life. Pet owners tend to be hardworking and responsible, they tend to be friendly, and they tend to pay their rent on time. Plus, science has shown time and time again that pets make people happy; and a happy resident is an investor’s delight.
How Property Management Can Help
Overall, we tend to think that allowing your renters to keep pets has more benefits than it does drawbacks. One of the best ways to ensure that you, your residents, and their pets all get along is to work with professional property management services. A great property manager offers the resources to screen future residents (and their pets) to eliminate troublemakers before they get their foot in the door.
At Reeder Asset Management, we’re so confident in our screening process that we offer a pet guarantee! We’ll cover all pet damages to your property up to $2,000 if the damage is caused by any pet approved through our screening process. This is just one of many guarantees that we offer our clients.
Ready to get started? At Reeder Asset Management, we’re happy to offer you the resources you need—including our free Foolproof Screening Checklist for your next renter!