As a landlord in Houston, Texas, renting pet-friendly apartments and homes can be a great way to boost your rental income. However, it isn't without its drawbacks.
Allowing pets in a rental property increases your pool of possible tenants and lets you charge higher rent. But without a proper pet policy and procedures, apartment pets can create a nightmare situation.
If you aren't sure you know how to set up a pet policy that protects your interests, you've come to the right place. Here are five mistakes landlords make when it comes to pet-friendly rentals.
1. Inadequate Tenant Screening
Tenant screening is an integral part of rental property management. But it's even more important when pets are involved.
In addition to the usual background checks and contacting references, you should try to observe your prospective tenant's pet in person. Get a feel for how well the pet is cared for, and how well the prospect manages it.
The good news is that a responsible pet owner is more likely to be a responsible tenant. If you can establish that their pet is healthy and under control, you might have found the perfect tenant.
2. Setting Fees Too Low
With the obvious exception of service animals, pets always warrant higher fees and rental expenses that landlords are allowed to charge.
You need to charge a pet deposit and higher rent payments in case the pet causes damage to the property. Setting your fees too low may prevent you from recouping your expense if things go wrong.
3. Failure to Enforce Policy Terms
As a landlord, you have the right to set the rules for your tenants, but you also have the responsibility to enforce them. If tenants are not abiding by your terms, don't look the other way. Take action to protect your investment.
4. Infrequent Inspections
Apartment dogs and cats can be fun to have as neighbors, but they can also cause severe damage and mess if not cared for properly. And the only way you can find out about it is if your property is routinely inspected.
If pets are living in your rental apartment, you should inspect it more often than you would if no pets were present. Make sure to set up a consistent inspection schedule with tenants up-front so everyone knows what to expect.
5. Failure to Amend Rules When Necessary
Sometimes, rules need to be changed. You should make it clear to all pet-owning tenants that you will alter your pet policy when necessary at your discretion.
Let Terra Residential Manage Your Pet-Friendly Apartment
And there you have it: five common mistakes to watch out for when outlining your landlord pet policies.
While providing pet-friendly apartments to tenants can be great for all parties involved, you must be careful to protect your assets. The good news is that you don't have to do it on your own. A qualified agency can take the complexity out of managing rentals.
Terra Residential Services can watch over your Houston pet-friendly rental so you don't have to worry. Contact us today to find out how.