Let’s talk about pets in Philadelphia rental properties and the benefits that come with welcoming happy dogs and fancy felines into your investment.
It might seem risky, and sometimes it is. Animals, even the most domesticated and well-behaved creatures, can be unpredictable. They can be messy. They can hyper-focus on scratching the same part of the floor for hours.
With a consistent and well-enforced pet policy, however, you can minimize the risks and enjoy the benefits of allowing pets into your rental property. You can make your rental property even more attractive to pet owning tenants by offering pet-friendly amenities and services.
As Philadelphia property managers, we have a lot of experience welcoming pets and their tenant owners as well as protecting properties from those pets. Here’s our guide for pet services and amenities.
Market Your Property as Pet-Friendly
More than half of the tenants looking for their next rental home in Philadelphia have at least one pet. The exact statistic is always changing, and it’s also always rising. During the worst days of the pandemic, pet ownership increased dramatically. That’s because people were feeling isolated and lonely, and many of them were working from home. That led to dog and cat adoptions in record numbers.
So, when you’re listing a home for rent on the market, you’re putting your property in front of a lot of pet owners. By adopting a No Pets policy, you’re eliminating the majority of your tenant pool. Not a great marketing tool.
What is a great marketing tool is advertising that you’re willing to consider pets.
You’re not going to allow all animals every time. The tenant with six exotic snakes will probably be a no. A litter of Pit Bull puppies – not a great idea. You don’t have to give a blanket all-pets-are-welcomed statement, but you do want to mention in your listing that pets will be considered. That statement signals to pet owners that your property is open to them, and they should take a look.
Screen Pets like You Screen Tenants
Tenant screening is probably a big part of your leasing process. It should be.
You’ll want to screen pets, too. On your application, ask your prospective tenants to list all their pets, as well as ages, breed, and vet information. Don’t be afraid to contact the vet to verify that the animal is in good health and up to date on its shots and vaccines. You want to make sure they are regularly treated for fleas and ticks.
Talk to former and current landlords about the pet while you’re checking references. After you confirm that the tenant paid rent on time every month, took care of the property, and followed the terms of the lease, ask about the pet. Did it leave behind any damage? Were there odors that were difficult to remove? Did any neighbors or vendors complain about the pet’s behavior? These questions can give you an idea of what to expect when that pet is living on your property.
In your pet policy and your lease agreement, make sure your tenants understand their responsibility for keeping their pet healthy and well-behaved. You can require proof of vaccines and flea treatments. You can require that dogs be kept on a leash when outside. You can require renter’s insurance that includes extra coverage for a tenant’s pet.
Amenities for Pet-Owning Tenants in Philadelphia
When you’re renting out an apartment building or units in a multifamily property, there are a number of things you can do to welcome your tenants’ pets and provide a better rental experience.
- Keep some dog treats in the lobby if you have an apartment building or in the clubhouse of your condo community.
- Provide pet waste stations. This will encourage your tenants to clean up after their dogs and dispose of the waste in a proper way, especially if you’re providing plastic bags for easy disposal.
- Consider a pet park or a fenced area where dogs can run around off-leash. Tenants love this amenity, and you’ll find it’s well-used.
- Pet events. You can have a “Dog Days of Summer” celebration in which pets in your community are celebrated. Raffle off a new cat bed or dog bowl. Host a pet parade.
- Doggie pool and pet wash station. Philadelphia summers are hot and humid. Allow your resident pets to cool off in a small pool. Pet washing stations are also popular and can protect your property from muddy paws and dirty fur.
Renting out a single-family home, your fenced yard will be a huge draw for tenants who own pets. You can also provide a welcome gift that focuses on the pet; include a pet bed or some treats or toys.
Putting Together a Pet Policy
Here are some great preventative measures.
- Impose limits on the number of pets a resident can have in the property as well as age and size limits. This will protect you against hoarding and damage. Usually, it’s safer to allow adult animals instead of puppies and kittens. Smaller pets will usually leave less wear and tear than large animals.
- Avoid aggressive breeds, especially since your insurance policy likely won’t cover them.
- Ask for proof that cats and dogs have been spayed or neutered.
- Collect a pet fee. This would be nonrefundable and in addition to your tenant’s security deposit. You could use the money to pay for any pet damage left behind. Pet rent will also give you a little more income and offset the stress and risk of allowing pets.
You can require an annual pet inspection as well, which will allow you to get inside the property and make sure there isn’t any damage caused by the pet.
These are just a few of the things to consider when you decide to allow pets into your Philadelphia rental property.
If you have any questions about pet rent, pet amenities, or how to protect your investment, please contact us.
TCS Management is a full service property management company headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also serving Cherry Hill, NJ, Wilmington, Delaware, Nashville, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. We focus on single-family and multifamily residential property management of homes, condos, townhomes, and apartment buildings.