Sometimes people don’t really understand why you have certain policies or procedures. I recently received this message from a prospective tenant. It was in response to an ad I had placed online for one of my rental houses which stated NO Pets.
"Did you have a pet growing up? If so, think about how it enriched your childhood. I think it's sad when landlords don't allow people with kids to have pets. If you require a sizable deposit, any pet damage shouldn't be a problem. Have a heart!"
Here was my response to her message:
Thank you for your interest in our property. I appreciate your viewpoint on owning pets and I agree pets can very much enrich your life. You have obviously given this subject a lot of thought are passionate about the issue. We are not against children having pets. In fact, my business partner and I both have children and pets.
I wanted to take a moment to explain why we, and other landlords, do not allow pets. There are many reasons, here are a few:
1. Insurance & Liability – If your pet (usually a dog) bites or injures someone while on our property, we can be held liable. Our insurance company actually bans 7 aggressive dog breeds like Pit Bulls, Chows, Dobermans, etc. They can cancel our insurance if they find one of these dogs on any of our properties. With so many mixed breed dogs it is often hard to tell what type of breed it is. So better to be safe than sorry here.
2. Pest – Pets can bring in fleas, ticks, bed bugs, and other pests into the home. Flea infestations are the most common problem and it can cost hundreds of dollars and take weeks to eradicate.
3. Noise – Barking or making other noises that can disturb neighbors. This one is mainly for dogs, but I have had complaints of cats meowing incessantly outside someone's door.
4. Cleanliness – Not all tenants clean up after their pets. This happens VERY often. Sanitation and odor problems can arise. Cat urine can permanently damage flooring and sub-floor with its strong smell. We have seen some cases where the filth becomes a major health risk!
5. Allergies – Even after a tenant moves out, the pet’s odor, hair, and dander can get into the carpet and the HVAC system causing a problem for others who may be allergic.
6. Damage – Pets can do a lot of damage to flooring, blinds, doors, walls, yards, etc. in a very short period of time.
7. Accessibility – If you have a dog or cat and we have to send someone over to do maintenance or repairs. Before we can enter your home, we have to make sure the animal is secured so our employee doesn’t get bitten or doesn’t accidentally let the pet escape. This is just another unnecessary burden for our staff.
8. Tenants Lie and Don’t Follow Rules – All tenants will tell you their pet is loving, housebroken, doesn’t have fleas and would never hurt anyone or damage anything. Almost without fail, you quickly find out their pet is not housebroken, causes a flea infestation, bites someone or destroys something. I can give you countless examples of this. In the past we have allowed tenants to have “outside pets” they always end up inside pets. If you allow them to have only one pet, they automatically think you can have all the pets they want! One pet becomes 3 dogs, 4 cats, and a snake! (and I’m not kidding about the snake)
While you may think that a pet deposit of a few hundred dollars will cover the damages. You would most likely be wrong. Having carpet replaced or scratched hardwood floors sanded and refinished is very expensive (usually $1000’s of dollars). Door replacements can be costly too.
We didn’t just arbitrarily decide to not allow pets. If pet deposits worked well and people with pets never caused any problems or damage we would gladly rent to them. We actually greatly reduce our potential rental pool by having a no pet policy. But we feel the trade-off of fewer headaches is worth it. We allowed pets in the beginning and after countless times having to deal with the damages and problems that involved allowing pets, we changed our minds and our pet policy. Now hundreds of tenants later, we have found it is much easier having a no pet policy. Occasionally we still have to deal with pets when we find a tenant who sneaks a pet in or lies to us about having pets. Our policy on pets is based on two decades of experience in renting properties. We believe it is a smart business decision.