While there are some exceptions (such as service animals for tenants with disabilities), landlords are free to decide whether or not they will allow pets in their rental properties. Some welcome tenants with dogs, cats, birds, snakes and spiders. Others allow just dogs and cats. Still others refuse to allow any animals at all (even goldfish!).
4 Reasons Landlords Deny Pets
- Additional wear and tear: From scratches on wood floors, to torn screens and blinds, to holes in the walls, animals can stretch the definition of “reasonable wear and tear.” This term generally applies to wear and tear by people, not animals.
- Fur, dander and insects: Many people are allergic to pets. In multi-unit dwellings, pets may cause additional duct cleaning. And they could infest a rental unit with fleas.
- Damage: Dog and cat urine and droppings can ruin carpets, walls, floors and window coverings. Woodwork, doors and baseboards are often chewed or scratched up. And outside, animals can tear up plants, dig holes or trample grass.
- Potential liability: Landlords are often found liable in the courts for tenants’ dog bites. Even when they’re not found guilty, court costs can be significant when defending against such a claim.
4 Reasons Landlords Allow Pets
- To attract good tenants. Pet-owning tenants are often very responsible and willing to pay extra pet deposits. They typically are happy to find a place to rent where their pets are welcome. They can be ideal tenants.
- They love animals. Many landlords love animals and know how much enjoyment and companionship they bring. They don’t want to deny that pleasure to their tenants.
- They see a market that needs to be serviced. More Americans own pets than ever before. They’re spending more money on them, as well. In fact, approximately 60% of all households own at least one pet, compared to about 35% of U.S. households that have children.
- They realize that many tenants will have pets regardless of policies. Even if pets are not allowed in your rental property, some tenants will have pets anyway. So many landlords have changed their policies in order to have some control over the situation, set pet deposit rates, and establish some rules.