The Benefits of Pet-Friendly Rentals in Philadelphia - Article Banner

People feel pretty strongly about their pets. Maybe you’re an animal lover yourself. That doesn’t mean you want animals taking up residence in your investment property

We have encountered landlords who are eager to welcome pets and those who are extremely hesitant. 

It’s understandable if you’re not completely on board with the pet-friendly trend. Even well-behaved pets can be unpredictable. They bring a lot of extra risk and liability with them. You could find yourself cleaning up pet damage, working hard to eliminate pet odors, or defending yourself in a lawsuit should a tenant’s dog attack a neighbor. 

Still, we believe the benefits to allowing pets easily outweigh the risks. If you have a solid pet policy in place and you collect a pet fee or pet rent, you can protect yourself against the potential for extra costs. And, you can also screen pets to ensure they are healthy and easy to get along with. 

Today, we’re talking about the benefits of pet-friendly rentals in Philadelphia.

Avoiding Expensive Vacancies 

One of the best reasons to welcome pets into your rental home is a matter of simple numbers. 

More than half of the tenants in the Philadelphia rental market have at least one pet. In fact, pet ownership has only grown over the last five years, thanks in part to the loneliness many people were feeling during the pandemic. 

There’s a good chance that the people interested in your rental home will have a dog or a cat. Why chase them away by saying “no” to their furry friends? 

You know how expensive vacancies are. Instead of spending time waiting for a non-pet person to want to rent your home, indicate in your marketing materials and listings that you’re willing to consider pets. This does not mean that you’re required to accept every pet; it simply lets pet owners know that you’re willing to consider their animal once it’s been screened and approved. This opens your property up to a much larger pool of tenants and reduces the risk of an extended vacancy. You’ll earn more money by getting those rental payments started right away. 

There’s Less Turnover with Pets, Too

It’s not just vacancy you avoid with a pet-friendly property. It’s also turnover. 

Retaining tenants is important to what you earn in the short-term and the long-term. Turnovers are best avoided, not only because they create a vacancy of their own, but also because you’re required to pay for things like maintenance, landscaping, cleaning, and marketing for a new tenant. 

When you allow pets, your residents are more likely to renew their lease agreement. Why? Because they’ve paid you a pet fee and they don’t want to pay another pet fee to a new place once again. They also understand how difficult it can be to find a pet-friendly property. If they’re having a good experience renting a home from you, they’re likely to stay in place with their pets and renew the lease agreement for at least another year. 

Earning More Money with Pet-Friendly Rentals

Rental homes that have pets tend to earn more money. 

How is this possible? 

You can create additional revenue streams for your rental home when you have a pet moving in. Some of the ways to do this are: 

  • Charging a pet deposit. This is refundable, but it’s money you can use to pay for any pet-related damage or cleaning. 
  • Charging a pet fee. This is a non-refundable fee for the privilege of moving in with a pet. You can use the money to pay for cleaning and repairs, but if the pet does not do any damage, you still keep the money you collected as a fee. 
  • Charging pet rent. This is pretty common these days, and most pet rents we encounter are between $25 and $50 per pet, per month. That adds up to a lot of extra revenue, especially if you have a tenant moving in with two cats. 

One of the major benefits to allowing pets is that you’ll save and earn more. You save money on vacancy and turnover costs and you earn more by charging pet rent, pet fees, and pet deposits. 

Protecting Your Property When Allowing Pets 

Allowing pets will keep your vacancy and turnover to a minimum and allow you to collect some extra income. But, how can you protect yourself and your investment when you have pets in your rental property? 

We recommend a solid pet policy, which should include:

  • Information on fees, deposits, and pet rent.
  • Restrictions that might make you more comfortable with pets. You can limit the number of animals you’ll allow, their sizes, and even their ages. Maybe you don’t want kittens and puppies. Perhaps you won’t allow dogs that are on the dangerous breeds lists provided by most insurance companies. You can make any decisions you want around the types of pets you’ll allow.
  • Rules and requirements for pet safety and clean-up at your property. You can require that dogs are leashed when outside, for example. You can provide instructions on cleaning up after pets and require that vaccinations and flea treatments are up to date. 
  • Asking tenants to acquire additional insurance when they move in with pets. 
  • Requiring at least one inspection during the lease term to ensure the pets are not causing unnecessary damage to the property

You’ll also want to screen pets thoroughly. You can do this by asking to meet the pet or collecting a photo of the pet so you’ll be able to recognize the animal when you’re inspecting it. You can ask for vet records and proof of vaccinations. When you’re conducting reference checks with former and current landlords during your tenant screening process, always ask about the pets and whether there were any issues. 

We believe that allowing pets is necessary to a successful and profitable investment experience. We can help you establish pet policies and protect your investment. 

Contact Property ManagerContact us at Innovate Realty. We work with investors and their properties in the greater Philadelphia metro area as well as the northeast part of the city and in local areas including Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Burlington, and Camden counties.