Dogs - Cats and Birds Oh My!

This is a question to the landlords and property managers out there…

How many of you rent to people with Dogs, Cats, Birds etc?

How you handle it if you do?

What experiences have you had overall?

I don’t rent to people with dangerous animals. If they have a dog or a cat I make them sign a pet agreement and they have to bring the dog or cat when they fill out that agreement. I have to see the animal. I have seen dozens of pit bulls that they say is just a mixed breed and not a pit bull. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a pit bull. I don’t let them have fish. By the way my lease says that if I find that they have an animal after 24 hour notice I can have the authorities remove it from the premises. It also says that I will not be liable for any harm injury, death or sickness to any pet. That means that if I kill your pet while I am putting him out then that is just too bad (dang that is harsh)

We have had good experience renting to people with dogs, cats, lizards, crabs, snakes, etc, etc, etc. I charge extra (rent & deposit) for pets and I like the extra money. I find that pets are not responsible for damage, it is always the idiot tenant!


You can have a weight limit. Every pound over 8 is an extra $35 or $50 pet deposit. Or you can restrict to number of pets (no more than 2). Or restrict the weight of the pets. No animals over 30 punds, etc.

The worst damage ever to one of our rentals was a tiny cocker spaniel that was less than 20 pounds. It scratched and chewed EVERYTHING it could reach. LUckily, the tennant paid for full repairs before vacating. We were lucky to have such a responsible tennant.

I have rented to tenants with pets for 10 years, which is why I have such low vacancy rates. Your ad sticks out when you advertise that you allow pets. I start all my ads with “PETS WELCOME!” I charge $100 non-refundable deposit per pet and $25 per pet more each month in rent. Rarely have I had issues with any damage above normal wear and tear. I do have a limit of two dogs and 2 cats.

I just charged by weight mostly small dogs 150, cat 100 per, med dogs 200, don’t do large dogs or vicious breeds.

Dogs with an interview for temperament, no size limit. The bigger the breed, generaly the better they are as tenants. I’d rather rent to a 220 pound mastiff than a 2 pound Chihuahua.

I really dislike cats. But I will usually take them if the tenants screen really well, rather than live with a vacancy.

I don’t have any problem with fish and non-poisonous reptiles.

I will accept very small caged birds, but no parrots or any birds that are going to be allowed to fly around loose in the house.

I have an age limit for pets. No puppies and no kittens allowed. They have to be old enough to be past the destructive stage.

Charge a 300.00 pet deposit (non refundable) - might as well charge them because they will bring there animals anyways

Thanks for all the great feedback so far

I just pulled some of my rental records and in reverse order I found

I have a new townhouse in Charlotte NC that I allowed a Single professional woman to rent the place that has a cat that ihas been “neutered and declawed.” (have to see how this goes)

One in Atlantic Beach about 10 houses off the ocean with 2 Labs, and 2 birds. Been there 2 years and have not have “any bad” reports from the PM yet, but they have not moved out and may stay awhile since NO ONE at the beach would take pets, and the house is on 1/4 with a nice wooded back yard.

One in Newport that the tenant (who used to be my old PM) who has a Lab, it is a nice 3/2/2 on 1/2 acre lot (yes its HUGE) but I allowed the Dog because I know here. So far it seems to be going OK, but then again she has not moved out and may stay awhile because of the dog.

It seems on a lot of my properties perspective tenants always ask “Do you allow Pets”

The rental management company charges around a $150 to $250 Non-Refundable Pet deposit cleaning fee.

I just wanted to know if I was doing the right thing by taking in Pets.

Does anyone else have feedback on this?

Our cats are both neutered and declawed. They are cleaner than most people…(especially renters!).


Realistically, nearly everyone has a pet now-a-days. This is probably one of the biggest deciding factors when tenants are looking for rentals. If you get a nice pet deposit and perform periodic inspections then things shouldn’t get too out of hand. I understand that if thing’s can go wrong, they will, but as property manager mentioned, it’s usually the tenants fault and not the animal. If you walk through the place and it smells like piss, then they should not have said animal and void their lease if they are not willing to get rid of said animal. Decent pet owners should not be judged by those who cannot handle the responsibilities of owning a pet. But, to each their own.

Unofficial phone survey says at least 95% of tenants have pets. So the difference isn’t really whether or not you will have pets in your units.

The difference is whether or not you will get to screen the pets that are going to live in your units and whether or not you get to screen the quality of the pet owners who live in your units.

My preference is for the type of tenants who don’t lie about their pets and who take the responsibility to seek out a rental that allows pets.

I also have a very strong preference for getting a pet deposit, which you are not going to get for the pets that the lying cheating type of tenants sneaks in.

Tenants who tells you that their dog is a part of their family and they won’t move if they can’t take the dog with them are going to have a better trained and better cared for dog than the type of tenant who tells you that the puppy in the car doesn’t belong to him and besides they keep it chained in the yard and they will get rid of it if you don’t allow dogs.

I’m involved in student housing. Allowing dogs, dogs only, allows me to compete in the marketplace. So many landlords in my area have a strong no pet policy and this helps put me a leg up. I have never had a prospective tenant say they minded paying a little more rent or a pet deposit. It’s all about the owner, not the animal.

As a way to hedge any damage an animal can do I put laminate in all my units. Dog’s nails can’t scratch the stuff and if they do happen to piss on the floor it can simply be wiped up instead of being soaked into the carpet. Also, I can install a good Pergo myself for less than it is to have a cheap carpet installed professionally, and it looks better.