Should Landlords Allow Pets in Rental Properties or Not?

Approximately 67% of all Americans of US households or 85 million families own at least one pet according to the 2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). An estimated 50 — 90% of tenants own a pet and need to live in housing where landlords allow pets to reside.

Should Landlords Allow Pets in Rental Properties or Not?
Should Landlords Allow Pets in Rental Properties or Not?

Virginia law does not require landlords to accept pets on their property. However, emotional support or service animals must be allowed in all rentals within the commonwealth.


Pros & Cons of Allowing Pets in Rentals

There are both pros and cons to allowing pets in your rentals. It's up to you to determine whether you wish to allow pets to reside in your rental units. It's up to you as a landlord to determine which policies are right for you.


The following are some pros and cons of allowing pets in your rental units:


Pros of Allowing Pets in Your Rentals:

The following are pros of allowing pets to reside in your rental properties:

  • You will appeal to more renters by accepting pets. If you do not allow pets, you are severely limiting the people who can rent a unit from you.

  • You can collect more fees or increase rent by allowing pets to live in the rental unit.

  • Many renters who have pets tend to be more responsible renters than non-pet owners because they want to provide a good home for their pets.

  • You can require renter's insurance for renters with pets, which can help cover any property damage that occurs.

  • You can limit the types or sizes of pets allowed in your rental units to keep the animal population in your community under control.

These are some great ways to allow people to have pets in their homes, while still keeping your community a desirable place for people to live.


Cons of Allowing Pets in Your Rentals:

Along with the pros, there are some downsides to allowing pets to live in your rentals as well.

The following might be some cons of allowing animals to live in your rental properties:

  • Pets can do property damage. Some of these damages can be costly.

  • You might need to clean properties even more thoroughly after a tenant with a pet moves out to ensure that the unit is ready for the next tenant.

  • Tenants may decide to move from excessively howling or because of allergies caused by dogs living in the community.

  • Dogs may present some level of a bite risk even with breed restrictions in place, but requiring renters insurance to cover the dogs that people keep in their homes can help mitigate this risk.

These cons might be enough for some landlords to decide that they don't want pets present on their properties.

What Should a Landlord Do About Their Pet Policy?

Landlords often feel that they are in a challenging position when it comes to determining if they should allow pets to live in their rental properties. The most centered approach that you can take is to allow pets while taking precautions to protect your investments in your properties. Accepting pets on a case-by-case basis will allow you to appeal to families with pets, while still protecting your property.


Taking measures like charging a nonrefundable deposit for each pet or adding a monthly fee to the rental price of a unit can be a moneymaker for a landlord. Requiring owners to have pet insurance can help mitigate the risk of a dog bite or other incident that can result in bodily injury to another individual. Limiting the number of pets that each residence has or the size of pets can also help keep the situation under control.


For added peace of mind, At VHS Property Management we use PetScreening because it gives us the ability to screen renters' pets and validate the status of assistance animals.


For more information on allowing pets in your rental properties while still protecting your own investments, please be sure to contact VHS Property Management/The Real Estate Store. We are always here and happy to help!

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