The Benefits of Renting to Tenants with Pets

With the spike in pet ownership that's happened in the past few decades, making the decision to allow pets in your rental property can make a big difference in your income and as increase your applicant list.

Despite the popularity of owning pets in Canada, a lot of rental homes still don’t allow pets in their property.

Property investors in Winnipeg can take advantage of this by accepting tenants with pets in their rental unit. There’s plenty of advantages that property owners gain when offering a pet-friendly accommodation.

Advantages of Allowing Pets

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Here are some of the benefits you gain from allowing pets:

1. Generate more interest from prospects

As the number of pet owners increases, so does the number of renters looking for rental units that accommodate pets. You'll be casting a wider net, so to speak, by allowing pets to prospective renters.

2. Protect your property with a pet deposit

Given that landlords have to keep their property damage-free to maintain its value, you can charge a pet deposit to tenants. This means you're shielded from any monetary damage caused by an unruly pet.

You can use this deposit for any extra cleaning needed after the tenant moves, or to cover damage to walls, floors, furniture, et cetera. Note that according to landlord-tenant laws in Manitoba, pet deposits can only equal a maximum of one month's rent.

Of course, you can't charge a pet damage deposit to tenants who have service animals, such as guide dogs.

3. Attract more responsible renters

As any dog owner will tell you, having pets takes responsibility. Pet owners generally need a good sense of responsibility, and this applies to the way they'll treat your rental, also.

4. Pet owners tend to stay long-term

Few rentals welcome pets, so pet owners have more limited choices. This makes them likely to stay put in one rental place long-term. Pets also need to be in familiar environments, as moving frequently can stress them out.

Disadvantages of Accepting Tenants with Pets

On the other side, permitting pets in your rental unit will also expose you to risks such as:

1. Conflict with the home or building association

As much as you may want to accomodate pet owners, if you own a unit in a condo that restricts pets, then this will leave you no option but to comply with the existing home association rules.

2. Possibility of property damage

Animals like cats and dogs are particularly prone to causing damage, especially playful puppies and kittens. Hyper dogs tend to chew anything in sight, from shoes to carpets.

Some property damages you may have to deal with include scratch marks, damaged wires, pet odours, and damaged furniture or flooring.

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3. Harming other people

Pets shed, which can be an issue for those with allergies. This can affect other tenants. Another risk is a dog or cat biting people in the vicinity.
It's best to make sure that the animals are well-trained and the owners are responsible.

4. Causing noise

Barking, screeching and meowing are expected when housing pets. However, this can lead to conflict with other tenants and neighbours. It’s best to make sure if the pet is prone to making a lot of noise.

Screening Tenants with Pets

Consider if you need to limit the number of pets, sizes, and breeds.

This depends on how comfortable you are, since large dogs can take up more space. Some city ordinances also restrict the number of pets in a property.

As for breeds, some dogs have a reputation for being aggressive, such as pit bulls and dobermans. But well-trained dogs behave well regardless of the breed, so you can make exceptions as needed.

Important Information to Get from Pet Owners:

  1. Number of pets they own;
  2. Size and breed of the pet;
  3. Length of pet ownership;
  4. How well-trained the pet is;
  5. If their pets have any aggressive tendencies;
  6. Vaccination status of their pets;
  7. How good the pet is at interacting with other people, animals, and kids;
  8. If the pet is housebroken;
  9. If their pet is neutered/fixed.

The more you learn about the pet, the better you can assess whether you should welcome it in your rental space.

Signs of a Responsible Pet Owner

  • The owner brought their pets to training
  • They provide vital care for their pet
  • They have the right pet paraphernalia (leashes and toys)
  • They obey pet policies
  • Their pet seems well-groomed and well-behaved

Besides evaluating the pets from your screening and observation, you can also reach out to previous landlords. Find out if the pet or owner has caused any trouble in the past.
winnipeg pet deposit law

Pet Policies in Your Rental Agreement

Your lease should include specific terms on your pet policy stance. It must state clearly whether pets are welcome.

If you decide to allow pets, you need to add more details, such as the amount of the pet deposit and what constitutes damage caused by the pet. You could also specify the owner's responsibilities in terms of pet management.

Defining Pet Deposits

A pet deposit acts like a security deposit, and landlords refund it to their tenant upon move-out. This depends, of course, on whether or not the pet caused damage.

If so, the landlord can keep the deposit and use it to repair any damages.

If no damage occurred during the tenancy period, then the entire deposit needs to be returned to the tenant.

Pet Policy Violations

Handling a tenant who ignores your pet policy can happen.

Some tenants may not have pets when they apply as a tenant, but while staying in your unit, will attempt to sneak one in.

To protect yourself from this situation, you must craft a solid leasing agreement that specifically states that pets are not permitted. This can help you make a strong case and evict a tenant for pet policy violation.

On the other hand, if the pet is staying only temporarily, you can decide whether to permit the short stay or not.

Service Animals

Some animals are categorized as service animals since they provide support to people with disabilities.

This includes guide dogs to support the hearing-impaired and the visually-impaired. As part of the Service Animal Act of Canada, you can't deny a service animal in your rental property, and you can't charge a pet deposit since they aren't classified as 'pets'.

If you need help finding tenants (with or without pets), contact Pillar Property Management today.

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