Should Real Estate Investors Allow Pets In Detroit Investment Properties?

By Own It Detroit

If you're ready to increase the potential for tremendous cash flow, animals could be the answer. When rental property owners allow pets in their Detroit investment properties, they have more opportunities for excellent renters who stay for more than one lease term.

However, offering pet-friendly properties isn't as simple as saying "yes" to dogs, cats, and other animals that renters consider "pets." Much like requiring residents to have renters insurance, allowing pets (successfully) requires rules and policies to make it a profitable aspect of owning rental properties. 

What should Detroit real estate investors consider before offering pet-friendly rentals? Here's what the Own It Detroit team recommends to maximize your investments.

Group of pets,Group of pets - Dog, cat, bird, reptile, rabbit

Pets Bring Excellent Owners With Them

We realize that some pet owners (and pets) aren't ideal for your rental property. However, in most cases, real estate investors who allow pets find that they come with excellent owners as residents!

The good news is that Detroit rental property owners can be selective when screening potential renters with pets. When you open your properties to pet owners, you also broaden your pool of potentially excellent residents. In Michigan, 62% of households include a pet!

Pet owners (more often than not) prove themselves to be the kind of residents you want living in your rentals. Renters with pets:

  • Are responsible
  • Pay the rent on time
  • Take care of your Detroit property (including cleaning up after their pets)
  • Follow the lease rules
  • Make sure their pets are not a nuisance 
  • Renew the lease for more than one term

It can be challenging for pet owners to find rental properties that allow them to bring their dog, cat, or other small pets with them. When they find a pet-friendly Detroit investment property like yours, they'll work hard to be an excellent resident. When their lease term ends, they're more likely to renew for another term rather than try to find another rental home that allows pets.

Excluding pets from your properties reduces your options when it's time for new renters. However, investors don't have to accept any creature that walks in the door as a "pet." With the right policies in place and a professional property manager, pet-friendly properties have protection from bad pets and terrible pet owners. 

Pet Policies Hold Renters Accountable

While investors can be selective when choosing renters and pets, they must be careful not to violate Fair Housing laws during the screening process. The right pet policies help investors follow the rules to qualify pets, screen renters, and create a pet-friendly environment that keeps Detroit residents happy and your properties profitable!

When allowing pets (with renters), investors must:

  • Set predetermined criteria for the pets you'll allow, including breeds and weight limits
  • Request vaccination and vet records
  • Determine if the pet has a history of aggressive behavior
  • Create a pet addendum that documents the rules, applicable fees, and penalties for violations
  • Monitor pet and renter behavior and address concerns professionally and promptly

Even with a thorough screening process and careful selection of the pets allowed in your properties, good pets can mess up sometimes. Pet fees help Detroit investment property owners cover the costs when a pet causes damage to a property. A pet addendum holds renters accountable for picking up after pets or facing the consequences if something goes wrong. 

An expert property manager helps investors document criteria, follow the law when screening pets and their owners, create a pet addendum and enforce the rules.

Happy senior couple using laptop sitting on floor and husband petting dog lying near

Assistance Animals Are the Exceptions to the Rules

Even with excellent pet policies and an addendum in place, assistance animals aren't required to follow these rules. Detroit property owners can't collect pet fees or deny a request when a renter asks to move in with a service or emotional support animal.

The Americans With Disability Act (ADA) requires fair treatment of renters with disabilities. Getting on the wrong side of the ADA can lead to severe consequences for  Detroit investment property owners who deny access to assistance animals in their properties. When a resident requires accommodation for a service animal, investors can't:

  • Deny the request
  • Require pet fees of any kind
  • Refuse to rent their property based on a potential renter's need for an assistance animal

Most assistance animals are well-trained and well-behaved. However, investors can hold animal owners accountable for picking up after the pet, keeping them quiet, and avoiding problems with other residents or pets. 

A Detroit Property Manager Handles Pet-Friendly Properties

Offering pet-friendly properties can boost your income, but it's not for everyone. A professional property manager can help you make smart decisions about pets in your Detroit investment properties and handle every detail of screening pets and owners, creating addendums, and enforcing the rules. We also understand how to navigate the rules for assistance animals in rentals. 

Let Own It Detroit help you manage pet-friendly properties! Contact us to speak with one of our seasoned real estate investment professionals. 

When you're ready for a new renter, use our free Foolproof Screening Checklist!

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