Tenant must bring pet to interview.
Seriously. I love pets, armadillos to bunnies to Great Dane Mastif Mutts. All of 'em. But I also respect the neighbors, and their right to quiet and stank-free air.
So, how does one conduct such an interview:
Watch how the owner deals with their pet. If they have no control or seem abusive, then it's a no go.
After the pet has grown accustomed to the place (5-10 minutes), observe their behavior. Any signs of extreme anxiety (for dogs, means they'll bark or whine when owner is gone, or destroy property) or aggressive behavior, is another no go.
And...you have to check pet references. I'll ask similar questions like I ask for the prospective tenant:
How does the pet behave when the owner isn't home?
How does the owner treat their pet? (are they gone for 14 hours a day...)
Has the pet ever been evicted?
Does the pet contribute to the rent?
An extra half month security is normal. And people with pets are generally appreciative of accommodating landlords, and tend to stay longer. Plus pets usually provide either free mouse control or building security.
Paco, dog ownership is not a protected class unless the dog is required as a handicapped assistant. Then you have to make accommodation for the handicapped person or might be seen in violation of HUD rules. Where is legal discussion you think we should not comment as non attorneys? I don't know why you think a landlord cant discriminate against pets. However , that said if you allow one person a pet and deny the next then you might need to have a consistent written policy and a lawyer involved so there is no appearance of discrimination. Back to my original point, let another landlord deal with the pets.
The issue of deposits and rent needs to be based on the effect that pets will have on your property value, cash flow and expenses more than what the market will sustain. If you run the numbers and the market agrees with the rates you deem acceptable, then great! Dog happens. If your costs exceed what the market will pay, then dog should probably not happen for your building.
Looking at the expenses you will incur from allowing this dog into the building. Figure out which of those expenses are in the "definite" camp - like insurance premium increases and increased wear on the common areas - and which are in the "maybe" camp, like dog bites, increased pest control due to fleas, repairing damaged woodwork, floors and doors from puppy scratches, etc. Tally up the numbers, get as close to realistic figures as you can for best case, middle ground, an worst case scenarios.
If you see that most of the expense is happening in the "maybe" side of things, go for the deposit. If you see that most of the expenses are going to be "definite" costs for you, go for the increased pet rent. If it's evenly balanced, do both. Charge no less than you will have to pay out to satisfy your middle ground risk scenario.
I have seen pet deposits up to $600 per animal this year, although most that I have encountered have been substantially lower. I have seen pet rent up to $100 per month and pet fees up to $1000, but again, normally the amounts have been much lower. Whether or not this is market-acceptable depends on the time of year and the desperation level of tenant.
Allowing pets into your investment building is a business decision, much like a shop owner deciding whether they want to stock a new line of merchandise. You need to look at it first from a financial standpoint, set the amounts that would make it worth your while to go down that route, and then see if the market will support those amounts. Unless you can make your needs agree with what the market will bear, the risk involved is not worth the effort.
Dogs won't wipe their paws before coming into the common areas so the stairs will need more cleaning. Dogs owners are not always perfect about picking up after their pets. Yard pick up is a near certainty. Dogs often will pee immediately upon hitting the outdoors so the grass and other vegetation near the doors may need more replacement. Let's not even talk about the dog who "couldn't hold it" until he got outside.
These are just some of the building maintenance issues. Once I heard these listed I no longer thought that an extra $10 or $15 a month for a dog owner was a problem.
RE/MAX NorthCoast Realty
Put in the lease that the tenant is required to do the same (have the carpet steam cleaned and the unit professionally cleaned using the same service you've used), on their exit.
Then, if there is any residual pet damage, it can come out of the deposit.
I understand you want to cover yourself from a pet that may ruin or tarnish your property, but you may bargain for more trouble with an "extra" deposit.
I work with Rent Smart, and we have an attorney in our firm to help landlords be protected from the law.
Be smart now and be protected down the road from bigger headaches than a bit of dog pee.
The answer is yes to an increase in deposit and increase in rent.
Remember, with a small dog, you may have to consider raising your liability insurance or
ask the renter to get insurance to cover.
Generally, a dog bite costs the Owner about $20,000 . If the owner does not
pay they come after the Landlord if the dog bite incident happened on your property.
The other problem is, will a tenant have that kind of money to give up front.
I think a better solution is to charge more for monthly rent. You are likely going to have to replace something with a pet - carpet, etc. So this way you have the money already. You do have to pay increased taxes on that money for income though. You also have to consider whether they will want to pay more money.
If this is a condo are you sure the building is ok with pets?
In most areas of the city it seems that tenants have more options than landlords so if that is true for what you have and where it's located you might not want to increase the rent. It would be nice to keep the tenant more than one year so maybe don't play hardball.