As a property investor in San Antonio, it can be challenging to decide whether or not to let pets into your rental: At best, you open up your pool of applicants—at worst, you’re looking at extensive damage from untrained pets. On top of that, your preference for allowing pets may not matter if the renter has a service animal, but determining if it’s a service animal or a therapy animal is tricky. Knowing the pros and cons of allowing pets can help you make the most informed decision, but if you’re still uncertain, working with a property management team could be your best solution.
The Downsides to Allowing Pets
When you allow pets into your property, you are opening yourself up to potential losses. Deep scratches in hardwood floors, torn carpeting, holes in window screens, and a stench of urine that seems nearly impossible to get out are possible future expenses when you open your rental to pet owners.
It’s common for people to be allergic to pet dander, so when the tenant pet-owner vacates the property, you need to make sure the home is free of all traces of said pet. Cat urine can be just as smelly and awful as having a pack-a-day smoker living in the unit and just as damaging! You may be looking at replacing the carpeting, any drapes, and hiring additional cleaning services to get your rental back to neutral.
Annoying Other Residents
Even if your San Antonio property is a single unit, you still have to think of the neighborhood in which the property resides. Allowing pets on a property that you don’t live in means you have little control over what happens day to day, but you’ll still be the one liable for any behavior. A dog who barks incessantly or shows any aggressive tendencies could lead to complaints, loss of reputation, and possibly even legal action.
The Paws-itive Side to Pets
The negatives explored above could lead any sane rental property owner to conclude that allowing for pets isn’t worth it, but there are many advantages to allowing pets and their owners into your property!
Expanding Your Applicant Pool
Allowing pets into your San Antonio rental property can open up your pool of prospective tenants. Many people who choose to have pets aren’t quick to give them up. There are also many tenants who would like to have a pet and are discouraged knowing they can’t—by allowing pets, you now get to dip into this pool of applicants.
You Can Charge More
Pets, as mentioned previously, can cause severe damages to your property, which is why most renters understand that extra fees for their animals will be worked into their monthly fees. Depending on the market in your area, you could potentially charge an upfront fee for the pet as well as monthly fees. These fees can help soften the blow of any repair or replacement costs—or simply go into your pocket! Be sure to clearly lay out the terms of any fees in the lease with a professional pet addendum.
Tenants Stay Longer
The ideal renter for any property investor is someone who plans on staying for years at a time and pays their rent consistently throughout their lease. When you allow for pets in your property, you’re inviting not just pet owners, but tenants who may consider your unit home for the foreseeable future. Applicants who own pets want to keep them, and applicants who don’t have pets yet may want them! By allowing pets, you’ve not only widened your range of prospective tenants; you've allowed for those long-term renters to consider your property above others.
About Service and Support Animals
Deciding not to allow pets or having strict policies on the kind of pets you’ll allow doesn’t mean you can disallow service animals. Service animals are those trained to help people with different disabilities, and they are protected by the FHA (Fair Housing Act.) The rise of support animals can muddy this procedure though. Support animals are a trending therapeutic device in which an animal can help someone with different mental diagnoses such as anxiety and depression. These animals, however, aren’t protected by the FHA and aren’t “prescribed” like a service animal. Some renters may claim their pet is a support animal to get around your policies—knowing which is difficult and asking too many questions could violate anti-discrimination laws.
Assess and Ask Questions
Pet owners who care for their pets well tend to be more responsible! When showing your property to a candidate with a pet, you can feel free to screen them in regard to their animal; their behavior, their schedule, and who will help with the pet when the owner goes away. If the candidate has a well thought out plan for keeping the animal happy and safe, they're less likely to become a negative statistic.
A Property Manager Can Help You Decide!
Allowing pets has many advantages, including being able to charge more for your rental, but animals can also leave lasting damages. Service and support animal requests can also be challenging to navigate when avoiding discrimination against your tenants! A property manager can be your secret to success: with Real Property Management Campanas, your San Antonio property will be in safe hands, and any "pet problems" handled efficiently. Deciding whether to allow pets isn't the only problem property owners face: how do you know if you're finding the best tenants? Download our Foolproof Tenant Screening Checklist to get started!