Owning rental homes in Northeast Florida may be a profitable venture, but sometimes the image of a landlord could use a little public relations boost. For instance, the cartoon version of a landlord is the opposite of pet-friendly. Lassie or Puff? Fuhgeddaboudit!
That parody landlord attitude might once have been pretty much on target—even in rental homes in Northeast Florida—because many landlords have traditionally been automatically against pet ownership in their Northeast Florida rental homes.
The legit reasons to exercise caution are real enough. Possible stains on carpets, scratched hardwood floors or doors, improperly disposed kitty litter clogging plumbing, dogs barking all day while the tenant is at work—all that can happen. Despite the bad press, though, today’s landlord is much more likely to recognize the benefits that argue for opening their rental homes to pet-doting tenants:
1. Reduced Vacancy Rates
The numbers are undeniable. There is the group of potential tenants with pets, and those without. When a rental is open to pets, the applicant pool includes…well, everyone! More prospective interested tenants decreases the likely downtime for the investment—and the difference hits the bottom line.
2. Higher Quality Applicants
If a rental home’s applicant pool is greater, the landlord’s selection of tenants expands, increasing the likelihood of landing a higher quality tenant. A topnotch tenant (with Fifi) who pays her rent on time is by most counts a better selection than a so-so tenant (without Fifi) who costs time and money to track down for the rent check.
3. Respectful Tenants
It was a surprise to many when a FIREPAW.org survey on pet-friendly housing showed that, on average, damage done to rental properties is about equal between pet-owning and non-pet-owning tenants. It seems that grateful pet-loving renters try harder to keep their rental homes in good condition (or perhaps they have a greater security deposit at risk).
4. Increased Stability
For my clients who decide to accept pets in their Northeast Florida rental homes, I recommend taking a few extra preparatory steps. In addition the usual reference verifications, asking for a maximum security deposit and the boiler-plate Pet Addendum are in order—and usually readily accepted. Of course, it’s also necessary to check with the insurance company for breed restrictions, and a good idea to fully document the condition of the property at move-in with photos. If you use a smartphone, email yourself copies of the pictures (and preserve them in a safe format). If you hire a property management company, they will also help you set guidelines and terms surrounding pets.
Looking to buy or sell a Northeast Florida investment property in this fall? Then now’s the time to give me a call!