Everyone loves their pets. If you have a dog or a cat of your own, you know how important they are to your well-being and your happiness. They’re basically part of the family.
Tenants feel the same way about their furry friends, and that’s why we typically recommend that you allow pets into your Golden rental property. We understand that there are risks involved in this, as well, and we do our best to help owners make educated decisions on what they will and will not allow.
If you’ve had a bad experience with pets in your rental home before, you might hesitate to allow them again. We get it. Eliminating odors and repairing scratched floors can be a problem. So today, we’re taking the time to explore all the reasons that you might want to allow pets and all the reasons that you might want to think twice before allowing that liability into your property.
We’re also talking about pet policies and how to market your home as one that allows or prohibits pets.
Hopefully, what we’re sharing in this blog will help you decide whether it’s in your best interest to allow pets.
The Case for Allowing Pets in Golden Rental Homes
We like letting pets move in because it allows you to make more money on your rental property. Three good reasons you should think about:
- For starters, you won’t have a long vacancy period when you welcome pets. More than 75 percent of the tenants in Golden who are looking for a new rental home have pets. If you’re going to disallow pets, you’re canceling out more than 75 percent of your tenant pool. That means it will likely take you longer to find a pet-free tenant willing to move into your home. There are simply fewer people who are going to consider it.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never rent your property. But you do have to consider the expense of leaving your home unoccupied for even an extra week or two. That’s income you’re not earning.
- You earn more when you allow pets because you have higher tenant retention. When good tenants find a place to live that’s welcoming to their animals, they’re likely to stay longer. They won’t want to find a new home after a year.
The Risks of Allowing Pets in Golden Rental Homes
Those are the reasons we recommend allowing pets.
There are also risks. Pets can be dangerous, for one thing. If a tenant’s dog bites someone on your property, you might find yourself dealing with a lawsuit or a claim.
Pets can also be messy. Dogs are famous for digging up yards and cats might miss the litter box enough times to leave behind a foul smell that’s difficult to remove.
Another risk is that you might struggle to rent your property to new tenants after a tenant with pets has vacated. This is especially true when tenants looking for homes have allergies. They’ll know immediately that there were animals in the home previously and they may not be able to live there. You would have to invest heavily in cleaning your property during the turnover period before it’s ready to rent again.
Setting Up a Pet Policy
One excellent way to mitigate any risks when you allow pets into your property is by implementing a strong and consistent pet policy.
It starts with screening. You’ll want to screen pets as carefully as you screen your tenants. Make sure they’re in good health and free of any disease or fleas. You can ask for vaccination records and vet records. When you’re talking to former landlords, ask about the pets that lived in the home with the tenants. Find out if they were clean and well-behaved. Ask if there were any complaints.
In your pet policy, you can place limits on the types and numbers of pets that you’ll allow. For example, puppies and kittens are often not house-trained. So, you can say that you’ll only allow adult dogs and cats. You can say that two cats are allowed or only one pet per tenant. Include limits that make you comfortable but still open your property up to more potential tenants.
Charge a 200 dollar refundable deposit per pet to increase the security deposit incase of damage.
Marketing Your Home as Pet-Friendly
Always include pets in your marketing materials, especially if you’re planning to allow them. When your listing includes information about your pet policy, you’re more likely to hear from prospective tenants who want a showing or plan to apply.
You’re likely not willing to accept all pets, and because you’re going to be selective, don’t make a blanket statements that all pets are welcome. Instead, say something like “pets considered.” This will signal to pet-owning tenants that you’re willing to welcome them as long as they fit the requirements of your pet policy.
If you are absolutely not going to allow pets of any kind, it’s a good idea to be upfront about that in your marketing materials. Otherwise, you’ll waste your own time fielding calls and messages from people who want to know if they can move in with their animals.
Fair Housing and Service or Companion Animals
There are no federal, state, or local laws in Colorado that say landlords must allow pets into their rental properties. However, service and companion animals are governed by two specific federal laws: the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Both of these laws protect people with physical, emotional, and intellectual disabilities against discrimination. According to these laws, you cannot deny a tenant the use of a service animal or a companion animal, which is most frequently an emotional support animal or a therapy animal.
You have to allow those animals because they are accommodations, not pets. Think about it the same way you’d think about a wheelchair. You cannot say “No wheelchairs” when you’re renting out a home. This is the same reason you cannot say “No service animals.”
You are not allowed to charge a deposit on these types of pets.
When a tenant comes to you with a service animal or a companion animal, you’ll need to know the difference.
- Service animals are trained to help a person do a specific task. When your Golden tenant needs a service animal for a physical or intellectual disability, it’s usually obvious what that animal is needed for, and therefore you can’t ask for details or specifics. You wouldn’t ask a person with a vision impairment why they need a Seeing Eye Dog, for example.
- Companion animals are not trained or certified in any way, but they do support and comfort the person who owns them, and they’re acquired at the direction of a healthcare professional. You can ask for documentation if the disability is not immediately apparent and your tenant is requesting an emotional support animal or a companion animal.
Even if you are vehemently opposed to letting pets into your Golden, CO rental property, you don’t have much choice when it comes to service and companion animals. Otherwise qualified tenants have to be approved, and you must be willing to welcome their accommodations.
We screen all of our tenants through pet screenings, whether they have a pet or not. This way we do not violate any federal laws, and people without pets know the rules and know they cannot pet sit for someone.
If you’d like to talk more about pets, get some good advice from a Golden property management company. We are always happy to provide additional resources and information. Please contact us at Laurel Property Services, Inc. In addition to providing property management in Golden, we also serve Wheatridge, Morrison, Lakewood, Arvada, and Genesee, CO.