When shopping for a rental, accepting pets is one of the most important items considered by tenants. According to The Insurance Information Institute 67% of U.S. households have a pet. With so many families having pets, landlords should want to permit them, right? Yes, and no. Landlords need tenants, and many of them are receptive to pets, but they are not always an option for a couple reasons.
Landlord’s Insurance is a major reason pets may be excluded. A landlord’s insurance policy is similar to a traditional homeowner’s policy, but it is usually more expensive, and is designed to cover exposure related to renting a property. Landlord insurance policies often exclude coverage related to certain breeds of dogs. The breeds commonly excluded include:
American Staffordshire Terrier
These dogs are excluded on the policies because they have been identified as “aggressive breeds”. Owners of these dogs often take offense to their dog be labelled as aggressive. While an individual dog may be a great pet, or be thought of as “a big baby”, the breed characterizations have been developed by statistical data. Let’s face it. Not all pet owners are responsible pet owners. Some of these breeds have a bad rap because they are bred for dog fighting. Mistreatment of animals can cause them to become aggressive too. The friendly demeanor of your own dog cannot easily be distinguished, so unfortunately, they get categorized by breed.
Potential for damage is another reason landlords exclude pets. Even the most well-behaved dog will leave brown dead spots on the lawn from urinating, and track dirt into the house. The potential for damage goes well beyond that. Cat urine can be particularly terrible. Eliminating smell from cat urine can include removal of carpeting and floor boards. Chewing, scratching, urination, extra dirt traffic, etc. all lead to more wear and tear, and often expensive damages. The Key to Rentals currently has one owner that absolutely refuses pets due to a bad experience with a previous tenant. That experience led to engaging a property manager. The tenant abandoned four cats in the rental. Before it was recognized that cats were left behind, one of the cats died and created an expensive repair. The other cats were in extremely poor health. The story is sad. Those people should have never had pets. The owner felt the same. The emotional and financial impact of that left the owner adamant about never having another pet in the rental. Unfortunately, stories like these are common.
The Key to Rentals encourages landlords to consider at least dogs and cats. To support that, a process is available to register the pet so that vaccinations and characteristics can be identified. There is a small fee that the registration service provider charges for that, but to help make more rental units available with pets, most tenants are supportive.
In this country we definitely love our pets! Please be a responsible pet owner.