As a property owner, have you ever considered making your rental properties pet-friendly?
Odds are that the thought has crossed your mind, but you likely dismissed it. Perhaps one or more of the following issues crossed your mind:
- Too much overhead
- Potential of damage to property (scratches on doors or floors, urine stains)
- Additional expenses
However, recent studies are showing that property owners that are willing make their properties pet-friendly enjoy a number of notable benefits. With the assistance of a Seattle property management company, property owners can end up increasing their bottom-line profits with just a few simple changes.
Why Go Pet-Friendly?
Many Americans have a deep and affectionate bond with their pets. This is often evidenced in the way that owners treat and care for their pets. In 2014, owners spent over 60 billion dollars in pet-related expenses. Because of this relationship, many Seattle tenants are in search of a suitable rental property that will also accommodate their pets.
The problem many tenants encounter is that a majority of Seattle properties are not pet friendly. Even if the property owner isn’t blatantly against having pets on their premises, they may have set up very restrictive size and breed limitations which disqualifies many, if not most, pet owners.
Because of this situation, tenants are forced to choose between bidding their beloved pets ‘farewell’, or looking for other housing options. They usually they choose the latter.
This need for pet-friendly housing actually opens up opportunities for property owners to provide for Seattle tenants and benefit in the process. This happens in a number of ways:
1. Fill Vacancies
Rental properties that allow pets generally have about twice as many applicants as a unit that does not allow pets. This means that property owners will get a far larger selection of tenants to choose from and will find it far easier to keep properties occupied and profitable.
2. Keep Tenants Longer
When a pet-loving tenant finds a rental property that allows pets, they know they’ve found a gem. Studies have found that pet-friendly rental properties retain their tenants about twenty-three to forty-six months longer than other properties.
3. Increase Bottom Line
As property owners have fewer vacancies and retain more tenants, the revenue they make begins to climb. To make pet-friendly properties affordable, owners can charge additional fees and pet rents to cover related expenses. Some studies indicate that pet-friendly landlords can enjoy at least 10% rental premium.
First Steps to Allowing Pets on Properties
Before you let your doors swing wide to tenants with pets, there are a few necessary steps that must be taken to ensure that you and your properties are ready for the switch.
1. Bring in a Pet-Friendly Property Management Company
The responsibility of handling all the requests, demands, and and questions related to your properties can increase once you allow pets. A property management company like North Pacific can help you to manage your properties and provide for your tenants. These companies can help you to:
- Process and screen suitable tenants.
- Show properties.
- Answer tenant questions.
- Handle maintenance calls.
- Clean and restore property for new tenants.
2. Check State and Local Laws
Some states and regions have specific laws about how pet-friendly properties should be handled. The last thing you want is for your newly remodeled pet-friendly properties to come under fire from legal authorities. A property management company can keep you up-to-date on these laws and help you abide by them. Luckily, Seattle is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the country for renters!
3. Specify in Lease
You will need to add information into the lease with explicit information describing the kinds of pets you will allow, as well as the different breeds and sizes. If you have no limitations, then specify that as well. A Seattle property management company can help you write and release these specifications to your potential (and current) tenants.
Also be clear about the kinds of behaviors that will and will not be tolerated. If incessant barking is not permitted, the tenants will be the ones responsible to either come up with a solution, or face eviction.
4. Prepare Your Property for Pets
Get your properties ready for pets! If you anticipate having lots of cat-owners inquiring about your property, maybe switch to hardwood floors. Dogs can do a number on hardwood though, so have carpeting options for dog-owners. Be sure backyards and patios are well-fenced and pet-secure.
5. Charge “Pet Rent”
Many property owners charge a “pet rent” for larger pets like dogs and cats. These rates will vary between fifty and one hundred dollars a month, depending on the size of the pet. Many tenants recognize that their pet is an additional member of the home and expect to pay this additional fee. Portions of this fee can go toward future pet related property expenses.
6. Charge Pet Inspection Fee
Some property managers will charge a $250 dollar flat fee to inspect the pet before the lease signing. This process often includes registering the pet with the building, getting a photo and veterinary records, and taking a DNA sample. These records provide security for the property owner.
7. Reserve Funds for Maintenance and Cleanup
No matter how well behaved pets normally are, they may still have their moments. The occasional spot on the carpet or scratches on the screen door are not a problem if you have money saved away for just such an occasion. A property management company can help you budget your pet expenses and reserve money for these instances.
Hire a Pet-Friendly Property Management Agency in Seattle
Your first step in turning your properties into pet-friendly real estate is to have a pet-friendly property management agency on your side. At North Pacific Property Management, we help Seattle owners to run and maintain their properties to satisfy their tenants and generate optimal revenue. For more information about our property management services, contact us today by giving us a call at (206)-781-0186 or by filling out our contact form.