The Pros and Cons of Renters With Pets

a man holding a cat while a dog lays on the couch behind him
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Before finding tenants for your property, you will have to decide on a pet policy. There are negatives to pets, such as the ability to cause damage to your property, but there are also positives to pets, including responsible pet owners being great tenants. Learn the pros and five cons of renting to tenants with pets.

Key Takeaways

  • The benefits to landlords of renting to pet owners include more affluent tenants, longer tenancy, and potentially higher rent.
  • The cons of renting to pet owners include more property damage, potentially unhappy neighbors, and potentially higher liability.
  • Landlords must make reasonable accommodations for service and assistance pets.
  • It's a good idea for landlords to have clear pet policies in their lease agreements and to have a clear understanding of their insurance needs when renting to pet owners.
  • Larger prospective tenant pool

  • Pet owners earn more income

  • Longer tenancy

  • More responsible tenants

  • Landlords can charge higher rent

  • Happier tenants

  • You'll avoid pet "sneaks"

  • Apartment damage

  • Upset neighbors

  • Potentially increased liability

  • Tenant loss

  • Pet odors

The Pros of a Pet-Friendly Property

Since we constantly hear about all of the problems animals cause for landlords, you may not be as familiar with the benefits of allowing your tenants to have pets.

Here are seven good reasons to allow pets on your property:

  • Larger prospective tenant pool: Depending on the survey, between 50% and 70% of renters say they own a pet. Therefore, if you make your property pet-friendly, you will have a larger group to choose from.
  • Pet owners earn more income: According to one marketing data-firm's survey, pet owners are more affluent than the most Americans. You should run a credit check to help determine if this money will go toward paying the rent.
  • Longer tenancy: Pet owners typically stay in a rental longer because it can be harder for them to find other pet-friendly options.
  • More responsible tenants: If someone is mature enough to take good care of an animal, there is a good chance they will treat your property with the same respect.
  • Landlords can charge higher rent: Look around your area. If there are not a lot of pet-friendly properties, tenants will have fewer options, and you may be able to charge slightly higher rents if you allow pets due to the increased demand.
  • Happier tenants: Animals can help reduce stress. Having a pet around can make your property feel more like a home for your tenant.
  • You'll avoid pet "sneaks": If you allow pets, tenants will be less likely to try to sneak in pets that you have not approved.

The Cons of a Pet-Friendly Property

You are probably more familiar with reasons not to allow your tenants to have pets. Five of the most common problems pets cause are:

  • Apartment damage: Animals can scratch the floors, chew up carpets, and have accidents on the carpets or wood floors.
  • Upset neighbors: Dogs barking, birds squawking, and four-legged animals running around the apartment can disturb other tenants in the property, as well as outside neighbors.
  • Potential for increased liability: There is a risk of the animal biting other tenants or neighbors. While landlords are generally not liable, you should discuss with your insurer.
  • Tenant loss: Other tenants may be allergic to dogs or cats. Tenants may move when an animal becomes disruptive.
  • Pet odors: Accidents inside the unit or in the building common areas will cause odor.

Follow the Fair Housing Laws

Yes, there is a Fair Housing Law regarding pets. Even if you have a no pets policy, you cannot violate the housing rights of people who require an assistance or service animal for their well-being. You can ask for a note from their physician verifying their need for an assistance animal.

Check Your Insurance Coverage and Liability for Animals

You will want to check your insurance policy to find out what type of coverage you have if you decide to have a pet-friendly property. Make sure you know the amount of liability coverage your policy includes. Ask your insurance company if there are any limitations or exclusions to this coverage, such as if they have a list of dog breeds they consider to be "dangerous breeds," which will not be covered under the policy.

Include a Pet Policy in Your Lease

You should include a pet addendum in your lease and require every tenant to sign it. This policy should clearly state your pet policy (whether or not you allow animals), and your expectations of the pet owner. Make it clear that by signing the lease, the tenant agrees to these terms and if they violate these terms, it will be considered a breach of contract.


Remember to adhere to the Fair Housing Laws and to adopt the same policies for all tenants so you will not be accused of discrimination.

The decision to make your property pet-friendly is not one that should be taken lightly. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of allowing pets so you can decide what is right for you and your property.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do most landlords charge for pets?

Rules and regulations regarding pet fees and deposits vary with locality, as will practices regarding fees. In general pet deposits can range from $200 to $500, and "pet rent" ranges from $25 to $100 per month.

Can a landlord kick you out for having a pet?

If the terms of the lease clearly prohibit pets, then yes, a landlord can evict you from the property for having a pet. Generally property managers will ask that the tenant remove the pet, per the policy, before moving to evict the tenant. Note that landlords must make reasonable accommodations for service and assistance animals.

Updated by Lars Peterson
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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Inter-West Properties. "A Guide to Renting to Tenants With Pets."

  2. PR Newswire. "Data: Pet Owners Far More Likely to Be Female, Affluent, Older."

  3. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "Assistance Animals."

  4. The Humane Society of the United States. "The Fair Housing Act and Assistance Animals."

  5. XInsurance. "Animal Liability for Landlords."

  6. California Leasing Property Management. "Pet Policy."

  7. Zillow. "Pet Rent vs. Pet Deposits and Fees."

  8. Rentec Direct. "My Tenant Has an Unauthorized Pet. Now What?"

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