Pets and rental properties do not always go together, and as the owner of a rental property, I really hate renting my home to tenants with pets. Pets are hard on a property. They tear up the carpet, they scratch your hardwood floors, and they chew up the molding around the door. And then, you have to deal with pet parents. They’ll tell you every time that the animals always stay outdoors or they only chew on their toys or the pet is just wonderful.
Why Allow Pets
The reality is that over 70 percent of families who rent homes own a pet. It would significantly narrow the tenant market if you don’t allow pets. Additionally, rentals that are not pet-friendly stay on the market for months because a family will not get rid of a beloved pet just to rent your home. Today’s property management companies handle pets in one of two ways; with a deposit or a nonrefundable pet fee.
Property Management in Atlanta: Pet Deposits
By law, any deposit you collect belongs to the tenants, so you’ll have to give that money back when they move out unless you can document a reason to keep it. The physical pet damage is easy to identify. What’s not easy to identify is the odor. Pet owners are totally unaware of pet odors, so when you walk into a home and you smell the pet urine but the tenant doesn’t, a disagreement ensues. Tenants will argue that their pet only uses the litter or goes outdoors all the time. So you have a conflict.
With a nonrefundable pet fee, once a tenant realizes that he or she won’t get that money back, there’s no recourse for you as the landlord. Your tenants won’t care about the damage the pet does. We have come up with a unique way to handle pets. In addition to our very strict pet agreement, we limit the size of pets to 25 or 30 pounds or less. Our real magic is we charge a monthly pet rent so that by the time the tenant moves out, our owners have recouped the cost to replace carpet or redo hardwood floors. We would generally always recommend allowing pets. This exposes your rental to a broader tenant market. Just be smart and make sure you have a pet policy in place that benefits you. If you have any questions about your Marietta rental property or your Atlanta rental property, please contact us at Atlanta Area Property and Management.