Should I Accept Pets in my Grand Rapids Rental Property?

As a rental property owner, you may be concerned about pets causing damage to your property.  Learn why allowing pets gets you a larger pool of potential tenants, leads to tenants staying longer, and how we help ease your fears with our new Pet Damage Guarantee.

Why would you want to allow pets in your home?

The trend seems to be showing that more and more renters have pets, so properties that allow pets are in demand. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind when deciding whether you want to allow pets in your rental property.

  • 72% of renters have pets (2014)  (compared to 43% in 2012)
  • 60% of renters said they had issues finding a rental property that was pet friendly


allowing pets in your Grand Rapids rental property

FIREPAW (Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare) did a study and found that pet friendly apartments rent out 30% quicker.  We can confirm that from what we have seen in our Grand Rapids property management company.

Tenants with pets stay longer

Accepting pets increases your renewals.  With fewer properties to choose from that accept pets, renters most likely will opt to stay rather than trying to find another pet friendly property.

Tenants with pets stay on average 23 months (FIREPAW) compared to 15 months for renters without pets.

Allowing pets increases your potential tenant pool

If three fourths of potential tenants have pets, you are limiting the number of applicants that will be interested in your rental home if you don’t allow them. Now you have less applicants in the selection pool and it could take longer to fill your property with a qualified tenant.

Allowing pets decreases the changes of having an unauthorized pet in the home

If you don’t accept pets, you do run the risk of a tenant sneaking in an unauthorized animal. This leaves you with no rules, pet agreement, etc to protect your property.  As an investor, you might decide it is better to know what pet is in the home and have the tenant go through the correct process.

Pet deposits and fees

You can collect pet deposits and fees to help pay for any damages or wear caused by a pet in the property. The exception to this is when it is an emotional support or service animal. Make sure you have a signed pet agreement to reduce your liability.

What are the downsides of allowing pets?

Now that we have examined the positives of allowing pets, what are some of the negatives? Are they really negatives?

Pet odors

A good carpet cleaner can get the pet odors out of the property.  In the world of property management, there are numerous kinds of odors. Most have nothing to do with pets, so you are doing this regardless if you let pets in the home or not.

Pet damage to the property

The issue with allowing pets that worries most owners is the possibility of pet damage. FIREPAW found that 85% of owners that allowed pets had some pet damage. That figure could scare you away from allowing pets, but in most cases the damage was minimal. The difference in damages from a pet property vs a non-pet property was only $40.  On average they found that damages totaled $323 for non-pet properties vs $362 for properties that allowed pets.

We understand your concerns about allowing pets, so we offer a Pet Damage Guarantee for our Grand Rapids property owners.

Our Pet Damage Guarantee

With 75% of renters owning pets, your choice to not allow them significantly lowers your potential tenant pool by at least 50%. Of that 50% we typically deny 60% of applications, so you can see how narrow your list of potential tenants is when it comes to filling your vacant property.

Lower turnover lowers your costs

In our experience, tenants with pets often stay longer and take better care of the property. We don’t find that damage to property is significantly different from non-pet tenants.

During the extended stay-at-home everyone is experiencing during COVID-19, it is easy to see a scenario where tenants decide they might like to get a pet since they are home all day with their kids.  When they ask if they can get a dog, and you say no you run the risk of them taking a few options.  They could sneak the dog in or decide to move. Neither of these options work out well for you as the landlord.

We offer a Pet Damage Guarantee

Starting October 1, 2020 we will offer our Pet Damage Guarantee.  We guarantee covering pet damage up to $1000 beyond the security deposit. Pet damage could be torn up flooring, chewed up trim, chewed up carpet, carpet stains, or pet smell. If we are covering the damage, we do require that our vendors do the work.

We will retain pet fees so that we can pool that money together so we can pay out any pet damage up to $1000.

We hope that this pet damage guarantee helps to reassure you enough to consider allowing pets in your Grand Rapids rental property.

What is not covered in the Pet Damage Guarantee?

Emotional support and service animals are not covered by this guarantee because we cannot accept a pet fee on those animals. These animals are very rarely an issue when it comes to damage on a property.

Unapproved pets are not covered until the tenant pays the pet fee to us. If we find there is an unauthorized pet and the tenant pays the pet fees they owe, then we will cover that pet under our Pet Damage Guarantee.

Can you still say no pets?

Of course you can. It is your property, and you can still decide not to allow pets in the property. We do hope this guarantee encourages you to reconsider allowing pets in the home.  Maybe you have a smaller apartment, so you just want to accept cats. That is fine.

If you have any questions about the Pet Damage Guarantee or are looking for property management in Grand Rapids, please reach out to John at Simple Property Management at (616) 329-6318