Renting with pets has gotten a little easier over the past several years as the market has become more competitive and the pet population has increased. There are more rental units that will consider pets today than in previous years, however, pets can still present problems when trying to find your ultimate rental property. Many properties will consider pets with restrictions on type, numbers and size. Properties that are listed as “No Pets” rarely are open to negotiation.
Many of the rentals in the local area are owned by military or people who intend to move back into their home upon retirement. If they don’t have pets or are allergic to them, they will not want pets in their home. Rental property owners are concerned about the cost of damage pets can cause to their investment. Urine and pet odors are very difficult to remove from carpet and padding which can be expensive to replace. Pet hair and dander cause allergies and can add to cleaning costs. Scratches from toenails on floors, doors and glass are also expensive repairs. Dogs can destroy lawns by digging and urinating on the grass.
Apartment complexes, town-homes and rental units that are in close proximity to each other also present a problem for pet owners. Many of these units don’t have a common area available for pet waste. Waste disposal is a serious problem with any pet and in multi-family units, improper disposal exposes other residents to their waste. Noise from barking dogs is also a problem in apartment complexes as it can disturb other residents and affect their legal right to quite enjoyment of a leased property.
Another serious pet problem is fleas. The warm climate and moderate winters we have in our area are very conductive to the flea population. When a pet moves out of a home, fleas will often lay dormant in carpeting until the next tenant moves in creating a problem for the owner.
Most insurance companies have restrictions on rental home owner’s policies for what they classify as a dangerous breed of dog. They publish a list of these dogs and can cancel a policy if a tenant is found to have a pet on the list. The dogs on this list have cost insurance companies in liability lawsuits over bites or attacks and have resulted in some owners losing their insurance coverage.
With all of the concerns about allowing pets in rental units, those that do allow pets often have restrictions and almost always require additional deposits or pet fees. Pet deposits and fees are usually non-refundable and increase with the number or type of pet. Tenants with pets can be required to sign special addenda to their leases covering pet damages and liability for their pets.
Having a pet does not mean you will not be able to find a rental, but it might mean you will be limited in your selection. Pet owners are attached to their animals and it is hard for them to understand why someone would want to exclude a member of their family. Owners have a considerable investment in their rental units and not allowing pets takes some of the risk out of the rental process.