If you haven’t figured it out by now, we like dogs. Every single blog post so far has a photo of a dog and I expect we’ll keep that trend going. People are weird about their pets; you have dog people and cat people, lizard people and people who dress their pet babies in cute little outfits. People have an emotional attachment to their animals and will go to great lengths to keep them safe and nearby.
When we moved to Maryland from overseas, we needed to find a place to land and that meant finding a place to rent. Like most renters, we went to the internet to find a place and picked one or two of the many online rental portals and plugged in our search criteria. Of course, we narrowed down our search by location (school district) and number of bedrooms needed and quickly eliminated every rental that stated, “No pets”. We were going to rent, and we were going to bring our 12-year-old Lab along with us come hell or high water.
Every single property that excluded pets, no matter how lovely or perfectly positioned it was, was ruthlessly eliminated by our search filters and never even made it to our computer for consideration. We have since heard many investors or homeowners declare that, although they personally have pets or love pets, they don’t want their tenants to have them. Pet owners are one of the few populations that it is perfectly legal to discriminate against…but it’s probably misguided to do so. We’re here to explain why….
If you are looking to reach as large a pool of potential tenants as possible, it’s wise to include pet owners. Pet owners make up 72% of renters, so blocking them from considering your property starts you out with only 28% of the potential population eligible to lease. Clearing out those that don’t qualify due to poor credit, criminal behavior or eviction histories can quickly whittle your eligible population down to single digits and your property may sit for much longer than a comparable one that allows pets.
But pets can cause damage, right? Normally no more than humans do and there are plenty of ways to mitigate the risk. Pet deposits, renter’s liability coverage and pet guarantees all help build a financial bulwark against future damages. But the differences in damage for tenants without pets versus those with pets was less than $40 according to a FIREPAW, Inc study. Bringing in a correctly screened pet lowers the risk even further. All our tenants must use Petscreening.com to qualify for a lease, even if they don’t have a pet!
Those investors that are using real estate to produce cash flow know that high turnover can kill the profitability of a property. The longer the tenant stays in place, the fewer leasing fees and turnover costs are incurred. Do you know who tends to be a more stable tenant? That’s right, pet owners! Pet owners tend to be much happier with their pets around, and are less likely to move frequently in order to avoid disrupting their pet’s routine.
So, if you are an investor or an accidental rental property owner, consider making your property available to pet owners. You’ll have pet guarantees with us, which is a win. The renter will be happy having their pet with them, which is also a win. Everybody wins!