Last year, Americans spent more than $50 billion on their pets. Nearly 1 in 4 tenants own pets. So wouldn’t it make sense that we should try to take a slice of this market? Because if you’re not, then you are basically alienating 25% of all eager and available tenants!
This demographic of tenants are quite limited in their search for housing because not every multi-family property allows pets, or even has a clear pet policy. That means that out of every 20 properties, only 5 take pets, and it’s going to be those five properties that are going to be getting their business and filling their units (and bank accounts).
When I first started investing, I didn’t take pets because I was afraid that they would end up destroying my units. I didn’t want to pay the extra cost to repair whatever damages that were made once the pet left the property. Maybe the cat left behind its smell. Maybe the dog scratched up the furniture. I didn’t want to have to deal with that this early in my investing career.
That was until I implemented my pet policy that allows one cat and/or one dog that weighs 25 pounds or less. Cats are typically lazy and quiet, and dogs that weigh under 25 pounds don’t seem to be as loud or as high-maintenance as larger dogs, which is one less thing I have to worry about with my dog-owners.
As the property owner, it falls on you to ultimately decide what will add the most value for your residents. Will your other tenants tolerate dogs and cats? What can I do to make this building more pet-friendly? Some properties include dog parks, giving their K9’s a chance to run and play with other dogs in the area. Some places only allow cats because they don’t want to have to deal with all of the noise and smells that dogs come with.
Regardless of how you decide to approach your pet policy, note that pet owners need to pay a pet security deposit (usually $150 – $200) and additional rent ($25 – $30 per month). So there’s money to be made.