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Pet-Friendly Policies: Boosting San Mateo Rental Appeal - Article Banner

Pets might look like dogs or cats but really, they’re family members. 

You know this if you own a pampered pooch or a cared-for kitty, yourself. People are attached to their pets. They’re our best friends and our constant companions. Maybe you don’t own pets yourself and therefore cannot understand this connection. Or, maybe you do have a pet or two of your own, and sure, you love them, but you aren’t thrilled with allowing people with pets into your rental home. 

There’s a risk involved, we get it. 

But, we also know that your San Mateo rental property will benefit from pet-friendly policies. Pet owners invest a lot of time, love, and money into the care of their animals, and when it’s time to look for a new rental home, they won’t consider any properties that don’t allow pets. 

Allowing pets will boost the appeal of your San Mateo rental property. 

It’s just that simple. If you’re nervous about pets on your property, we can talk about some solutions. With a strong pet policy and some proactive pet screening, you can welcome pets into your property without a lot of risk. In our experience as San Mateo property managers, we’ve found that the benefits of renting out a pet-friendly property almost always outweigh the risks. 

Here are some of the main benefits of being a pet-friendly property owner.

Occupancy Rates are Higher: Less Vacancy and Lower Turnover in Pet-Friendly Properties

Have you seen some of the statistics around the number of people who own pets? It’s pretty clear that the majority of San Mateo tenants looking for their next home have at least one pet. Across the entire county, more than half the number of renters are pet owners. 

Allowing pets leads to a faster rental process. Not allowing pets in your property will lead to longer vacancies. It may take you extra time to find a tenant who isn’t moving in with a pet. 

We cannot see any good reasons to restrict your tenant pool. You’re not committing to allowing any and all pets in your property. Instead, let your marketing reflect that you’re willing to consider pets. Then, you’ll have everyone looking at your listing and scheduling showings. You’ll have the opportunity to talk with prospective tenants about their pets and decide if they are a risk you can manage. 

Pets invite shorter vacancy periods. You’ll find a tenant faster, and you’ll also retain your tenants who are living with their pets. 

Why? Because pet owners don’t move quite as frequently as tenants who don’t have pets. That’s because they know there’s going to be another pet fee or pet deposit in the new place. They don’t want to pay that again. When your tenants are pet owners and they’re having a good rental experience, those residents are likely to stay in place. This reduces your vacancy and turnover costs. It eliminates the stress of having to find a new tenant

All benefits to you. Making your property more attractive to renters requires you to consider those cats and dogs. 

Earn More Income by Allowing Pets into Your San Mateo Rental Property

It’s pretty easy to understand the math: you make more money when you have tenants with pets. 

In fact, if you don’t allow pets, you’re leaving money on the table. 

When you’re renting to tenants and their pets, you can charge pet fees and pet rent. Or, you can charge a pet deposit if you’re willing to give that money back at the end of the lease term the same way you refund a security deposit. Just remember that California security deposit laws are changing. Beginning in July, there are new limits to what you can collect as a total deposit. Pet fees may be a better idea. 

Here’s how you’ll be earning more money thanks to the pets who are on your property.

1. You can charge a pet fee.

Pet fees are non-refundable and the amount is up to you. Most pet fees we see range from $150 to $500 per pet. You can collect the pet fee before your tenants move in. Most pet fees are collected one time and they are often charged per-pet. That means if your pet fee is $200, and your tenant moves in with two cats, you’ll want to collect a $400 pet fee before the tenant moves in. 

With a pet fee, the money is yours, even if you don’t have to use it to pay for pet damage. If you do find pet damage after a tenant moves out, you can pay for pet repairs out of this fee. It reduces your risk and gives you an extra financial cushion in case there are additional costs associated with cleaning up or repairing damage after a pet has been on your property. 

2. Pet rent comes in with regular rent.

You can also charge your tenants a monthly pet rent. This is paid every month that the tenant is living in the property with their pet. We’ve seen amounts that range from $25 per pet to $60 per pet. You’ll add this amount to the rental amount every month, giving you more income and a bit of a reserve in case you need to do cleaning or make repairs that are due to the pets. This has become pretty normalized; most tenants with pets will expect a pet rent.

Attracting Better Tenants to Your Property 

Here’s the thing – a few unfortunate incidents aside, we have noticed that pet owners are generally responsible people who contribute to a positive rental experience. Some of our best tenants have been tenants with pets.

This doesn’t mean they’re all perfect, but if you find a tenant who takes good care of their pet, you can be pretty sure that they’ll take good care of your property. 

We understand the concern that owners have about the damage that animals can potentially do to a property, but you’ll find that pets actually cause much less damage than people do. Good pet owners are good tenants. They take care of their animals, they keep up with vet visits, and they provide a similar level of care to your property. You’ll find they want a safe, clean, and happy home for their animals.

Policies and Protections for Your Pet-Friendly San Mateo Investment Property 

If we have adequately convinced you that allowing pets has merits that outweigh the risks, we’re glad. Now, let’s talk about how you can protect yourself from any potential liabilities. We recommend that you start with a strong pet policy that’s clear and consistent. Decide whether you’ll allow pets on a case-by-case basis. You don’t have to approve the tenant who has six Pit Bulls or a litter of kittens. Screen your tenants and your tenants’ pets. 

  • Implement a Detailed Pet Policy

Here’s how to put together a good pet policy:

  1. Gather specific pet information during the tenant screening process. On your application, ask if the tenant is moving in with any pets. You’ll need to know how many pets the tenant has, what breeds they are, how big they are, and how old they are. Ask for names and photos. You can ask for veterinarian information, too. You can require records of vaccinations as well as flea and tick treatments. 
  2. Place restrictions on the number of pets you’ll allow, and/or the size. For example, you can say that you’ll only allow one pet per property or two cats per property. You can require pets to be less than 30 pounds. You can require them to be at least two years old.
  3. Check with your insurance company about restrictions on dangerous dog breeds. Everyone who owns a Pit Bull or a Doberman will assure you that the dog is as sweet and gentle as a puppy. And that may be true, but insurance companies are less trusting. You should prohibit any breeds that your insurance company does not cover, or require your tenants to purchase additional insurance that will hold you harmless if something happens. 
  4. Conduct tenant reference checks with former landlords. When you’re evaluating a tenant’s rental history, ask current and former landlords about the pets. You’ll want to know if they were well-behaved, if there were any complaints, and if the pet was responsible for any damage.
  • Pet Inspections

Conduct routine inspections on your San Mateo properties that are housing pets. You can look for evidence of pet damage. When you drive by the home, you can check to see that dogs are on leashes, and you’ll know that the lawn has not been torn up by the animals. 

Here’s something important to remember: Service animals, companion animals, and emotional support animals are not considered pets. You cannot prohibit those animals, and you cannot do things like charge pet rent or pet fees. The law protects your tenants against any such restrictions because these animals are not seen as pets – they are accommodations. Don’t forget that while you have the choice to allow or not allow pets, you may not prohibit service or companion animals when tenants are moving in with them.

Pet Friendly Rental HomesPet-friendly rental homes in San Mateo are more attractive. They also make you more money. Let’s talk about the best way to welcome pets into your investment property. Contact us at Sharevest Property Management.