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How to Make Your Property Pet Friendly

January 6, 2016

Excluding renters with pets from your property is excluding a huge percentage of the population – in fact, 68% of US households own a pet, according to a recent APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Even if the cat ruins your carpet, you may find that you have shorter vacancy periods that will make up for the extra costs that might occur.

Of course, wise landlords screen for well behaved animals — cats that have learned to use the litter tray, and dogs that won’t eat everything in sight — but it’s worth making your property pet friendly to attract good owners of good pets.

Here’s how to open your doors to a bigger pool of renters (and some of the tips will work to attract families with young children, too):

1. Furniture
Choose stain resistant furniture that will be durable – leather upholstery is good for dogs, but don’t expect cats to leave it scratch and pluck-free. Woven microfiber with a stain resistant coating may be a better option as the smooth surface seems to be a deterrent for cats.

2. Renovations

Tile, laminate, sealed concrete and sealed stone are all good choices for a home with pets. If you would rather have wooden floors, however, choose only the most durable materials: solid woods like Brazilian walnut, hard maple or bamboo are good choices for doggy-proof flooring. Avoid soft wood altogether and buy wooden flooring that’s pre-varnished and therefore harder to penetrate. Wood look ceramic planks are another option. Rugs on heavy traffic areas give cats something to pluck other than your expensive carpet.

3. Tenant Deposits

Larger deposits are something that pet-owners are used to paying and any reasonable owner will understand the reasons why, but don’t be tempted to charge way above the usual rental rate. A standard charge for pet cleaning is widely accepted. You’ll probably already have an inventory when a new tenant moves in anyway, but with a pet in tow it’s even more important to have a list that records the condition of each element at the start of the tenancy.

4. Animal Agreements

Have all tenants sign a lease with a pet agreement included and state what animals, and what size animals, are allowed. Specify that the animals are spayed, neutered and vaccinated. Ask for references from previous landlords and ask to meet the animal before you agree. Specify that any additional damaged caused by pets is paid for by the owners.

5. Fabrics

Curtains gather hair and odors and give kittens and cats a tempting way to scale the heights. Choose wooden blinds, non-fabric vertical blinds or roller blinds. Protect walls with paint designed to wipe down.

6. Animal Safety

If you have a property with a balcony in a high-rise building, have grills outside to prevent animal falls, or even better, screens that prevent them from getting onto the balcony in the first place. If you have a garden, fit a full fence around it to keep curious animals in and make sure there are no gaps for puppies or rabbits to squeeze through. Medium-sized dogs are normally secure with six foot fences. Secure swimming pools and ponds by fencing or covering when not in use.

7. Be Pet Friendly

You’re welcoming your property to pet owners, so make sure they know you’re out there: don’t forget to advertise the fact that you’re a pet friendly landlord. You may well find that the number of enquiries you receive increases significantly, giving you a bigger choice of tenants. Mention any requirements you have in your advert – for example the type of animal you’ll allow or any references required for the pet.

By respecting pet owners and asking that they respect you and your property, making sure everyone knows where they stand from the start, and making your home pet-proof and pet-friendly, your bank balance may very well benefit in the long-term.

Do you allow pets in your rentals? What do you do to help tenants keep the place clean and pet friendly? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Ferran. via Compfight cc