Tips For Deciding Which Types Of Pets To Allow In A Rental Property

More than 60 percent of American households own pets, yet many landlords do not accept pets. As a landlord, accepting some species of pets may help you fill vacant units faster. What’s more, pet owners often stay longer (since it is difficult to find pet-friendly housing) and you can charge more for your properties.

Learn the upkeep and maintenance issues associated with different types of pets to decide what pets to allow at your rental properties.


Fish have a lot going for them from a landlord’s perspective, because there are few risks for property damage or complaints from neighbors over pet noise. Unless the fish tank breaks, there are no negative consequences.

Reptiles and Amphibians

Like fish, reptiles are quiet pets. Turtles, lizards, geckoes and even snakes can all make good pets. They need little care and cleanup and won’t make the apartment smell — unless the tenant neglects to clean the cage.

Some landlords are creeped out by the idea of a snake getting loose in the apartment. Case-by-case evaluation can help you gauge the pet owner’s responsibility and decide whether to allow the pet on site.

Small Animals

Hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, rats and rabbits are all examples of small animals that renters might own. These pets are generally low-maintenance and quiet. If you’re concerned about the damage an escaped rat or rabbit might do — think raid the garbage or bite through electrical cords — require that tenants keep their small animals caged or in an exercise pen at all times.


Property damage and noise can be a concern with cats that scratch walls, urinate in the house or yowl at all hours. Nonetheless, cats can make great pets — it really depends on the animal’s personality. Collect a pet deposit to ward against cat damage. Do not request cat declawing since this removes the cat’s natural defenses and leaves the animal helpless.


While dogs make great companions, they can cause property damage. Pet accidents in the house can damage carpeting or flooring, while dogs can scratch at doors. To mitigate pet damage, you could require tenants to crate their dogs when they are out of the apartment. Provide a trashcan for the backyard so the yard does not become filled with pet waste.

Some landlords like to allow small dogs under the belief they will cause less damage, however, dogs of any size can be well-behaved or poorly behaved. Since many homeowners’ insurance companies refuse to insure when certain dogs are on site because they perceive these dogs are more dangerous than other breeds, you may wish to impose breed restrictions.

Breeds commonly disallowed by insurance companies include:

  • Pit bulls
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Chow chows
  • Great Danes
  • Akitas
  • German shepherds
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Siberian huskies

Consider your comfort level with different types of pets and the damage they may cause to decide what’s right for your rentals. When you use sensible precautions with allowing pets in rental properties, you can feel good about helping pet owners find safe homes and keeping pets out of animal shelters while safeguarding your rentals for the next tenant.

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