According to an MSN article, investors and owners of single family homes and apartments who ignore potential tenants with pets are making a mistake (see our previous post on the subject for reasons why).
If you decide to make this profitable move and allow pets, here are some key suggestions to keep from getting burned:
1. Don't ban a type – screen a tenant
Its not the pet so much as the irresponsible owner of the pet that causes the headaches. If you screen the tenant properly, you solve most of your issues.
2. Ask to meet the pet
Nothing like seeing the pet in person to help you evaluate the situation.
3. Ask for extra security deposit rather than extra fees
"People just resent it," says Janet Portman, a housing lawyer and co-author of "Every Landlord's Legal Guide." "They see these fees as a profit center. It's a way to pull out more money upfront, and tenants see that and they resent it."
(As a side note, if it's not refundable, don't call it a deposit. "There's no such thing as a nonrefundable deposit," says Jay Young, owner of Seattle area Real Property Associates Property Management.)
5. Use fines instead of 'pet rents'
If Fido is yipping while the owner is at work, and you have already charged $50 per month extra for ‘pet rent’, what incentive do they have to fix the problem? Instead of pet rent, fine the tenant until the problem stops to motivate them to do what you want...stop Fido from yipping.
6. Take an extra security deposit only
Besides annoying pet owners, non refundable pet fees and ‘pet rent’ policies don’t motivate an owner to take care of the home.
Better idea? Take an extra refundable pet security deposit. If they take care of your home, they get their money back. The owner is now motivated to care for the property, something that every owner and property managers wants.
For more suggestions, here is the MSN article http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=19186150&page=2