Fur Babies Good for Business


Before, when my husband and I managed our property ourselves, we allowed pets. One tenant paid on time for eight years and then when he moved…my little girls, who hung out with daddy while he fixed it back up, coined it the stinky house. Yep, I don’t think the poor dog ever went outside and we had to replace all the carpet and some of the subfloor even. But you know what, after the shock and horror of it, being our very first home with lots of love and memories, I did the math. We were in the green 10 times over. Now, when SOTO staff lets me know of a new tenant, I love to hear they have pets. Let me explain.

During the application process, the applicant fills out a separate pet screening, where a third-party company does a very thorough evaluation of not just the pet but also the pet owner’s habits. There’s a separate application fee the applicant pays for this service, one more layer of commitment. They end up with a pet profile where they can keep track of their pets medical records and even share this profile with their vet, doggy daycare, groomer, etc. And, of course, we still call their past landlord and ask questions about the condition of the place when they left.

In the past, we've just had a weight limit and required a $35 per month fee and a $200 non-refundable pet fee from the tenant. But now with the pet screening the applicant gets a score called a “Fido Score” and we charge $35-$100 extra per month based on their score. We also charge them a non-refundable pet fee of $200-$300 also based on this score.

We've found the cost of having the pet discourages the non-committed pet owners. By allowing pets it helps fill vacancies and opens the market to new potential tenants. It is a safer way to allow pets.

There are two furry four-legged pups in my family and we would absolutely pay extra to be able to keep them.... They don't get locked in a bathroom or downstairs while we’re away either. They make a nice big dent on our couch or our bed. If someone is going to pick up a stray and not know how to take care of it properly, they will not want to pay the extra fees. Nothing against strays, ours began that way 11 and 7 years ago... Now I pay $50 a month for their joint supplements. We’re looking for serious pet owners that responsibly cares for their pet and how the pet behaves at the property. This is just an added layer to the tenant screening process.

We've experimented with allowing pets at many of the apartment buildings, as well as single family homes for years with great success. In most cases, there are only minor risks involved, that could include damage to floors, walls, door, or window frames, and the yard. Yet, the strong benefits to renting to tenants with pets outweigh the risks in our experience. It also widens your pool of potential renters, lowering your vacancy time. It helps differentiate your property from other available rentals. And it can help you retain great tenants who have pets as part of their family.

It’s important to keep in mind all of this just lowers the risk. It's still an added risk. Do the positives outweigh the risks to you? Owning pets is a growing trend so it’s wise to consider. Let us know your thoughts. – Jessica

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