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Should You Allow Pets In Your Rental Property?

One of the most important decisions you can make regarding your rental property is whether or not to allow your tenants to have pets in the property.  These days pets are even more popular than ever.  In particular there has been an explosion in the popularity of small “lap dogs”.  Whether this popularity is a result of Paris Hilton’s dog or not is highly debatable, but it is a fact and if you own a rental property you will almost certainly have prospective tenants who have pets.  The American Veterinary Medcial Association claims that almost 40% of American households have pets.  So if you choose to have a No Pet Policy you could be cutting out almost half of the possible tenants for your property.

But pets can also cause damage to your property, they scratch, chew, pee and poop on everything.  So is it worth the destruction of your property to attract a tenant?

The answer is Yes***, and there should probably be even more asteriks.

So the point is that it is important to attract as many possible tenants as possible while at the same time protect your investment.

The first thing you need to consider is the characteristics of your property.  Most specifically the types of floors that you have.  If you have carpet floors then allowing pets could be more trouble than it is worth.  The afore-mentioned bodily functions of dogs and cats can ruin carpets and require costly cleanings.  If you have tile floors you are probably in the clear as far as the floors are concerned.  But if you have wood floors you need to be especially careful with large animals because they can scratch the floors which will cost even more than a carpet cleaning because a full sanding and wax will cost much more than a carpet cleaning or even replacement.

In addition to the damage to the floors pets can also cause damage to the doors and walls of your property.  So you can minimize this damage with tile floors but you cannot totally eliminate it.  Scary right?

That’s what security deposts are for.  In addition you can also require a pet deposit.  Typically most owners recommend 3 months of deposit for a rental which is divided as 1st Month’s Rent, Last Month’s Rent and a 1 Month Security Deposit.  But at Real Property Management Miami we recommend asking for 1st Month’s Rent and 2 Month’s Security Deposit.  This will protect you with an extra month of Security Deposit and enable you to allow pets because it is unlikely that a pet will cause more than 2 month’s rent worth of damage.

But if you find a good tenant who does not want to pay 2 month’s security deposit then your best option is a pet deposit.  A pet deposit usually ranges from $200-$500 depending on the type and size of the pet.  Most pet owners are well aware of the possible damages that a pet can cause and will not have a major problem with a pet deposit.  But ideally you should request 2 month’s of security deposit to protect your property.

So in the end it is very important to allow pets in your property as long as you do not have carpet or wood floors.  But you must allow Real Property Management Miami to help protect your property by requesting either a full 2 month security deposit or at least a pet deposit.

Good luck and happy investing!

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