As a landlord, the decision to allow dogs in your rental property is a complex one that requires careful consideration. While dogs can bring joy and companionship to their owners, they can also create a number of challenges for landlords. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of allowing dogs in your rental property, as well as the steps you can take to minimize potential risks.
Pros of Allowing Dogs in Your Rental Property
- Increased Demand: Allowing dogs in your rental property can increase demand for your units, as many tenants have pets and are looking for pet-friendly housing options. This can be especially beneficial in markets where rental properties are in high demand, as you may be able to charge a premium for pet-friendly units.
- Increased Loyalty: Tenants who are allowed to bring their dogs with them to their rental property are often more likely to stay for longer periods of time. This is because moving a pet can be a complex and stressful process, and many tenants would rather stay put than risk disrupting their pet’s life.
- Increased Income: If you charge a pet deposit or monthly pet rent, allowing dogs in your rental property can increase your overall income. This can help offset any potential costs associated with allowing pets, such as repairs or cleaning.
Cons of Allowing Dogs in Your Rental Property
- Increased Risk of Damage: Dogs can cause damage to rental properties, whether through chewing, scratching, or accidents. This can be a significant concern for landlords, as repairs can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, some dogs may pose a threat to other tenants or neighbors, which could lead to legal or financial consequences.
- Increased Cleaning Costs: Dogs can create additional cleaning costs for landlords, as pet hair, feces, and urine can be difficult to remove from carpets and upholstery. This can be especially problematic if tenants do not properly clean up after their pets.
- Increased Liability: Landlords who allow dogs in their rental properties may be liable for any injuries or damage caused by those dogs. This can include bites to other tenants or neighbors, as well as damage to the rental property itself. Many insurance companies have restrictions on breeds of dogs allowed, so make sure to check with your landlord insurance carrier to make sure you know their restrictions.
Steps You Can Take to Minimize Risks
If you are considering allowing dogs in your rental property, there are steps you can take to minimize potential risks. These include:
- Screening Tenants and Dogs: Screen tenants carefully to ensure that their dogs are well-behaved and not likely to cause problems. This can include checking references, conducting interviews, and requiring tenants to provide proof of insurance. For tenants, we recommend RentPrep and for screening dogs, there’s a service PetScreening.com that is great.
Make sure that you know the rules for service dogs & emotional support animals in your area. These each have different rules than regular pets.
- Establishing Rules: Establish clear rules and regulations for tenants with dogs, such as requiring them to clean up after their pets, keep them on a leash, and prevent excessive barking. This can help ensure that tenants take responsibility for their pets and minimize potential problems.
- Charging Pet Deposits and/or Additional Rent: Require tenants to pay a pet deposit to cover any potential damage caused by their pets. This can help ensure that you have funds available to make repairs if necessary. Again, make sure this is in line with your local regulations.
- Dog Liability Insurance or Canine Liability Insurance – Many landlords that allow dogs require their tenants to have liability coverage. A renter’s policy may cover this, but in Florida, it is common for a lot of these policies to have exclusions or significant limitations for animal liability. We have a special policy specifically for dog liability, and you can learn more at the link above.
If you require your tenants to have Florida renter’s insurance, our team can help your tenants with the coverage they need for both the renter’s policy and a canine liability policy if needed. Have them give us a call or visit the Renter’s Insurance link above.
Allowing dogs in your rental property can bring a number of benefits, but also presents a number of potential challenges. By taking steps to minimize risks, such as screening tenants carefully, establishing rules, and charging pet deposits and additional rent as allowed, you can help the decision to allow dogs in your rental property be an overall positive for your investment property.
If you have other landlord insurance questions, make sure to contact our team at Think Safe Insurance. We are always happy to help answer any questions and get any insurance quotes that you may need. You can call us at 813-425-1626 or request a quote online.