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Is your property pet friendly?

Many landlords know that having a pet friendly rental is important to attracting a wider range of good tenants.  But what is a pet friendly property?  What are pet friendly policies?  Is it pet friendly to have restrictions on types of animals, breeds, and sizes?

Many landlords will accept dogs and cats, and many have limits on the number of animals, and also weights and breeds of dogs.  According to the Humane Society, many restrictions on breeds are due to misinformation, and large dogs are no more destructive or noisy than small dogs.  If you must restrict certain breeds or sizes, be sure that this restriction is made clear before the lease begins.

If you have a pet friendly rental property, that doesn’t mean you don’t have rules, but it does mean that you have a rental property where pets are welcome, and where there is room for them and their human companions to enjoy their lives together.

Some pet friendly features for a rental property include the following:

  1. A designated dog run.  If you have room for a playground at your apartment complex, you may have room for a fenced in area where dogs can run loose and play with each other.  Some dog runs have separate entrances for large and small dogs.  
  2. You expect pet owners to clean up after their dogs.  Provide stations on the property where they can grab plastic bags, and discard waste.  
  3. If you have community newsletters, a building facebook page, or any other ways that you build community among tenants, consider a pet of the month feature.  This can be a dog, cat, turtle, rabbit, or reptile.
  4. Keep some pet treats and toys in your building’s front office or reception area.  Just like small children, pets are more likely to behave well when they accompany their human companions if they feel welcome and know that they may be rewarded with a treat or a toy.
  5. Social events with pets can be fun for some communities.  This could mean a pet party, or pet costumes.  Not all pets will appreciate costumes, or want to socialize with humans and other animals.  Others will love it.

Some landlords will charge an additional pet deposit, or an additional amount of rent per pet.  It’s important to keep track of pet deposits, and any damage a pet might do to the unit or the common areas.  

It’s also important to maintain rules. Many apartment communities have rules about pets being kept on a leash in common areas or outdoors, and cats remaining indoors for their safety. For everyone’s comfort, it’s important to insist that dog walkers clean up after their pets, and that animals are well maintained, healthy, and kept under control.  Even the most pet friendly communities do not appreciate a pet who is a nuisance, with loud barking, or “escaping” to harass others.

The Humane Society reported that in a survey of renters, many people prefer pet friendly communities whether or not they have a pet. Animals add enjoyment to our lives, companionship, and friendship.

By Mary Hill

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