Even the words “pets”, “dog” and “cat” can send cold chills down the spine of any landlord who has had a bad experience with tenants who thought that cleaning the litter box once a month was enough or let their dog tear up the living room carpet for amusement. However, accepting pets can mean better tenants who stay longer. Finding responsible pet owners to rent from you might take more time than a simple ad in the paper, but they can be worth it.
Any pet owner looking for a rental can tell you that “no pets” or “n/p” is one of the most common sights in the Rentals section of the newspaper. This is for good reason; any landlord can tell you horror stories about pet owners who don’t clean up after their pets, prevent and/or repair damage caused by said pets, or keep their pets under control. People like these ruin it for the rest of pet owners, as many landlords feel that they can’t take the risk of accepting pets into their rentals.
First, what are you planning to accept? Caged animals generally don’t leave their cage for any length of time and their mess is confined to the cage and immediate area. Birds can be an exception; a medium to large bird can cause a lot of mess if not cleaned up after regularly. Many more landlords accept cats into rentals than dogs, since cats can be happy living in small quarters and are often petsblog. Small dogs are more likely to be accepted than big dogs for the same reasons.
No matter what kinds of animals you decide to accept, recognize that there is no such thing as a completely clean pet. Even fish need to be cared for regularly or their aquarium and area becomes a breeding ground for smell, mold and mildew. It’s not so much the mess that the pet produces; it’s the commitment of the owner to keep their pet and its surroundings clean and livable.
Some landlords charge pet deposits for pets, which is certainly an option for you. Most responsible pet owners realize that deposits are a part of real life and will be willing to pay one in exchange for being able to rent a decent home. If the pet owner complains that they ‘can’t afford’ a pet deposit, reconsider renting to them – what is going to happen if there is some kind of pet-caused accident or damage to your property? Will they refuse to fix it, citing that they can’t afford to?
When interviewing a pet owner, it is a good idea to see the pet(s) if at all possible. If you can interview the person in their present lodgings, you can see how clean they keep the place (of course, you may allow for packing/moving disarray), whether it smells of pet and how clean and well-trained their pets are.
Well-groomed pets usually indicate people who have a care for cleanliness and the quality of their environment. A pet should have no strong odors about it and should have a healthy, glossy coat. Watch for scratching or chewing that may indicate parasites. Inquire as to the type of pest prevention used for the pet. An indoor cat may legitimately be left prevention-free, but pets that access the outdoors should have some kind of preventative program in place.
Inquire into the training of their pets. If you are lucky enough to have a prospective renter whose dog goes to obedience classes and has won titles, seriously consider them. Dogs with temperament testing and obedience titles are more likely to be well-trained pets in the home. Other titles of achievement in the canine world are indications that the person is involved with their dogs and has a care for their welfare and living area.
Cats can be harder to ascertain whether they are being regularly interacted with. You can look for signs of scratching on the furniture and carpet. A cat tree and cat toys are a good sign that the owner is committed to providing their cat(s) with items to exercise their inclination to scratch and rub on instead of walls and floors. Cats that are 100% indoor, or only indoor-outdoor under control & supervision are less likely to pick up dirt, parasites and disease.
Ask for references, such as vets, groomers, trainers and other pet professionals the person claims to have interacted with. References from previous landlords can be a good indication of their treatment of rental property. References from the local SPCA or humane society can also be a sign of a good tenant, since most animal rescues have an interview process of their own for pet adoption.