There were certain trends that emerged in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. Remote work, for example, used to be an uncommon privilege, but these days, many companies still have the bulk of their staff doing their jobs from home. Similarly, many consumers shifted to online shopping over the past 18 months, opting to stay out of stores and make purchases from their laptops and phones instead.
For better or worse, another trend that picked up steam during the pandemic is pet adoption. And while some rescue organizations worry about pets being returned once society gets back to normal, the reality is that an estimated 70% of American households now have at least one pet.
But owning a pet can be a challenge for renters and travelers alike. Not every landlord allows pets on the premises, and many vacation rentals do not allow guests to bring their furry friends along for a stay.
If you own a residential building or a short-term rental and have thus far banned pets, you may want to change your tune. Doing so could result in a lot more revenue.
Catering to tenants' needs
It's not uncommon for landlords to put a ban on pets into effect. But if you've been struggling to find tenants to sign leases in your building, or you've had a hard time securing a steady stream of guests for your vacation rental, then you may want to consider changing your pet policy.
In a recent survey by Homes.com, 68% of respondents who weren't living in a pet-friendly home went out and moved for the sole purpose of being able to accommodate a pet. Not only that, but the majority actually stopped renting and bought homes so they'd have the freedom to welcome a pet without restriction.
Of course, tenants with pets may be viewed as a bigger liability than those who don't have animals. But there are ways that landlords can work around that.
For one thing, you have the right to collect a security deposit that you're entitled to keep if property damage occurs. Now it's fair to assume that a pet may scratch up your floors a bit or leave some marks on the wall. But most pets aren't destructive beasts that cause major damage, and so you may find that a standard security deposit covers you nicely.
Furthermore, it's not unheard of for landlords to charge a premium for pet-friendly rentals. So not only can you demand an up-front security deposit, but you can also impose higher rent for your units in exchange for making them pet-friendly.
Meanwhile, if you're a real estate investor with short-term rentals in your portfolio, you have even more opportunities to protect yourself. Many vacation-home owners charge a specific pet fee that guests must pay in exchange for being able to bring their furry friends along. You may also get away with charging a higher cleaning fee in exchange for allowing pets.
Plus, pet owners are often desperate to find short-term rentals that will accommodate their animals. As such, you may also be in a position to charge a higher nightly rate from the start on top of your pet and cleaning fees.
Who let the dogs in?
It's easy to see why many landlords would prefer to keep pets out of the mix. Not only might landlords have concerns about property damage, but there's the comfort of other tenants to think about in the case of multi-unit buildings. Dogs in particular can make a lot of noise, thereby disturbing other tenants and causing landlords to have to intervene.
But at the end of the day, allowing pets could open up your tenant pool and pave the way to more rental revenue. And that's reason enough to consider going this route.