April 28, 2012

Michigan Property Management Tips – Weighing the Risks and Rewards of Pets

yes we are pet friendly

No doubt that many families feel a strong connection to their pets – most consider them a member of the family and feel the same love and affection for a pet as they do living person. From a property management and landlord perspective however, pets have the potential to be extremely destructive.

With rental property in Michigan, pets can soil carpets, chew on a lot of surfaces (including doors and trim molding), scratch at walls and door jams, dig into floors and around the property and even damage hardwood floors. While there is that ever-present risk of pets impacting your revenue stream, some sound advice from Michigan property management experts can help you see some of the rewards and trade-offs.

Protecting your Investment with a Pet Fee

You want to protect your rental property as much as possible to preserve it and reduce operating costs – that’s how you make money. You’ve already invested in a Michigan property management company but blocking out pets completely isn’t necessarily the answer.

If you know animals are likely going to cause additional wear and tear on the home, then anticipate the cost of repairing the damage and wear and create a one-time pet fee.

Note that this is a fee, and not a deposit. Tenants should understand that they don’t get the fee returned to them. Fees can vary, and it often depends on the size and type of the animal. A large breed dog for example would likely carry a higher pet fee than a small cat.

Recurring Maintenance Costs with Monthly Pet Rent

In most cases the pet fee can be enough to recoup your costs, but depending on the type of property you have and the services offered, you may want to consider charging a monthly pet fee. This is a common charge in addition to the base rate for allowing a pet in the home. The amount if totally dependent on what you’re willing to charge but common surcharges for pets ranges from $5 to $25. This is an understandable charge if you hire a property management company in Michigan that does lawn care and removes animal waste from the property as part of their upkeep.

No Additional Costs – Managing Risk with the Existing Security Deposit

Since most rental properties handled by a Michigan property management company like JMZ require a security deposit at lease signing (often equal to one month of rent), the security deposit can be used to recoup damages beyond normal wear and tear.

As a property owner, you would be within your right to pull the cost of repairs from the security deposit in order to repair damage from animals and household pets.

Setting Limitations on Animals

As a property management company in Michigan focused solely on residential properties, we see a lot of breeds in client homes and rental units. If you’re comfortable with the added revenue that pets can bring and the risk of damage doesn’t disturb you in anyway, you should still consider some ways to minimize your overall risk.

Breed and size restrictions on animals is a smart way to minimize risk and damage. It’s not uncommon to generate a list of aggressive or high-energy animals breeds that are little more than liability. Setting weight limitations can also help curb damage from naturally large animals.

Allowing pets in a rental unit can indeed generate hundreds of dollars in revenue each month depending on the size and number of properties you own. A little research and careful planning with your property management company can help you reduce the risks and ensure the money you do make is turned to profit instead of repairs. We created a Make-Ready Checklist to help you get your property ready for your next tenant. Click the link below for your free download!

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Topics: michigan property management, pets, property management tips, rental property tips