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Pet-Friendly Rental Properties: Is It A Good Idea?

Hello, property and potential property owners! Welcome to the RPM Distinguished Care blog, where we provide practical advice about property management! If you’re a return visitor, welcome back. We sincerely appreciate your support! RPM Distinguished Care specializes in managing successful rental properties in and around the Charleston area. We’re here to make your lives easier by giving you the resources you need to maximize profitability and have a successful rental property. We provide comprehensive property management services at every conceivable level. From advertising and marketing to responding to applications, to inspecting and maintaining properties–there’s nothing we do not do. Further, we ensure tenant compliance, handle necessary evictions, and report directly back to you about revenue and profit potentials. We aim to make owning rental property as easy for you as possible, for as little money as possible. Check out the rest of our site to meet our team and discover what makes RPM Distinguished Care the best property management company in Charleston!


Our last article discussed landlord vs homeowners insurance. Choosing the right insurance policy will keep you protected in various situations. There are many different policies out there, and it’s important to have one in place that is protecting your rental property. If you are interested in learning about landlord and homeowners insurance and the differences between them, we encourage you to check out our last post!


Today, we’ll be discussing pet-friendly rental properties. One of the major decisions you’ll need to make as a landlord or property owner is whether or not to allow pets in your rental property. More and more people are owning pets these days. In fact, it is estimated that 72% of renters are pet owners. This is something you may want to factor into your decision. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the pros and cons of pet-friendly rentals. If you’re interested in learning more, you’re in the right place! Let’s get started.


Pros Of Pet-Friendly Rentals


First, let’s take a look at the positive side of pet-friendly rentals. 


Opportunities To Make More Money


As a landlord, you are inevitably trying to make a profit. Allowing pets in your rental property or properties provides opportunities to make more money because you can potentially increase the price of your rental. This is especially true if there aren’t many pet-friendly rental properties in your area. However, the amount you can charge for rent will be determined by the market value– And you do not have to raise the rent for everyone to reflect the fact that you have a pet-friendly rental. Instead, you may opt to charge pet fees or deposits. There are generally three types of fees that landlords charge: Pet deposits, pet fees, and pet rent. But what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.


  • Pet deposits: A pet deposit is a refundable deposit to cover any damages to the property caused by a pet, similar to a security deposit. When the lease ends, the landlord must return the deposit if the tenant is not renewing the lease. If pet-related damages are found on the premises, the landlord may keep a partial or complete amount of the deposit. The cost of a pet deposit can vary based on the type of pet and the size of the pet. 
  • Pet fees: Pet fees are generally a one-time, non-refundable payment. You can think of this as a sort of “admission fee” for allowing the pet to stay in the rental property. Unlike a pet deposit, pet fees do not cover damages.
  • Pet rent: Pet rent is charged once per month as an add-on to a tenant’s monthly rent. This is also non-refundable and covers the costs of allowing pets on the premises. The amount charged can be determined by the type of pet and the size of the pet. For example, someone with two large dogs will likely pay more in pet rent than someone with a single cat.


Pet rent and fees generally range anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on the location. The amount you are allowed to charge for pet deposits may vary based on the state you are in. In South Carolina, there is no pet deposit statute and no statute on non-refundable fees. Additionally, South Carolina does not have specific pet laws, meaning that landlords can create their own pet policies and requirements. However, it is important to note that service animals and emotional support animals are exempt from pet deposits and fees. Both South Carolina law and the ADA prohibit charging an admission fee or any other extra cost for service animals. This does not apply to damages, however. It is also important to remember that even if your rental property is not pet-friendly, you still must accept service animals.


Larger Pool of Applicants


As mentioned previously, many renters are pet owners, and more and more people are bringing pets into their families, especially the younger generation. According to the ASPCA, more than 23 million American households adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. So what does this mean for you as a landlord? Well, if your rental properties are not pet-friendly, you’ll have a smaller pool of applicants to choose from, and your property might be on the market for a longer period of time. If you choose to make your rental property pet-friendly, you are likely to see more applicants. The more applicants you have, the easier it will be to find a great tenant! You’ll also want to do some research about other rental properties in your area. If the majority are pet-friendly, renters with pets are more likely to choose your competition over you! If the majority are not pet-friendly, renters with pets are more likely to choose your property!


Longer Tenancy


As a rental property owner, it is highly likely that one of your biggest goals is to attract and retain good tenants. Making your rental property pet-friendly might be the key to a better resident retention rate! Pet owners are more likely to renew their lease with you and stay longer because it is often hard to find pet-friendly rental properties. If there are a lot of other pet-friendly rental properties in your area, you may then want to consider the amount you charge for pet deposits and fees– People are always looking for deals, and they’ll be more likely to sign and renew a lease with you if your pet fees are less than your competitors’. 


Cons of Pet-Friendly Rentals


Now, let’s take a look at some of the downsides to having a pet-friendly rental property.


Property Damage and Odors


This is arguably the biggest reason why many landlords choose not to allow pets in their rental properties. If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know that they’re not always the best at respecting property. Pets can scratch, rip, or otherwise destroy walls, furniture, and other property. They can chew cables and wires and possibly destroy the lawn or landscape on the outside of the property. If accidents occur on the carpet or if litter boxes aren’t cleaned regularly, this can produce an odor. This can not only be a problem for the unit with pets residing in it, but the odor can potentially spread to other units as well. (Damage and odors could be taken care of with a pet deposit, though, as mentioned above.) Additionally, since dogs inevitably must go outside to use the bathroom, this can cause trouble for your lawn as well as other residents that might step in something unpleasant, provided that the dog owner does not clean up after their dog properly! 




Again, if you’ve ever owned a pet, you know that not every moment is a quiet and peaceful one! Some pets are chattier than others, and it’s not always easy to control that. Because of this, noise from pets can be an issue, particularly if your rental property consists of apartments or units. This is especially true if the property isn’t designed properly– Such as if the walls are a bit too thin. This can cause other tenants to complain, and there’s a possibility that you may lose tenants because of it.


These are just a few of the biggest pros and cons of having a pet-friendly rental property. Ultimately, it is up to you as the landlord to decide whether or not you want to allow pets in your rental property. However, we think the pros just might outweigh the cons! 


We hope you found this article helpful. If you are a rental property owner looking for assistance in managing your property, feel free to reach out to us! RPM Distinguished Care specializes in residential property management and offers a range of services including communication, marketing, and advertising, thorough tenant screening and selection, full-service leasing, timely rent collection, regular evaluations, cost-effective and reliable maintenance, strict and compliant evictions, and comprehensive accounting. We utilize an online portal for owners to keep track of their property, including access to reports and financial statements. With over 30 years of experience, we know how to keep your property at its best. We believe in full-service and comprehensive property management. That’s why we take the time to understand each of our clients and help identify their most closely-held goals. Let us give you peace of mind that your property is in good hands. Use our website to request your free assessment and meet with our expert team! Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we hope to hear from you soon! See you next time!


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