Having a dog, cat or any other kind of pet is a great experience that is sure to leave you with lots of laughs, wet kisses, and happy memories. But having a pet can also make it hard for otherwise qualified tenants to find a new place to call home, which is why it is important to know how to pet proof your home.
According to the 2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, there were more than 79.7 million homes in the U.S. with at least one pet. For all of our dog or cat lovers out there, regardless of whether you rent or own, that means you aren’t alone when it comes to looking for a place where your furry friend is welcome. And for property owners, landlords and property management companies, it means there is a big opportunity to tap into a massive market of potential renters by offering pet-friendly options. Keep reading for our full list of ideas to pet-proof your rental or home, or jump right to our visual of top tips.
How to pet-proof your rental for future tenants
It’s only natural for property owners to be hesitant when opening up their homes to renters with pets. We’ve all heard the horror stories of property damage, angry neighbors, noise complaints and that lingering pet smell after the tenant has moved out. However, with a little proactive planning and preparing, these concerns can be addressed and even completely avoided. Plus, you’ll come to realize that pet owners tend to stay in one place longer, recommend other pet owners to the property and leave positive feedback.
Here are some updates you can make to your home and the screening process to ensure you find responsible tenants and pet owners who will look after your property:
Renovations and pet-friendly home hacks
- Purchase pet proof flooring and avoid carpet. Some landlords will buy a cheap option they know they can replace. However, foregoing the carpet completely will help you avoid allergens and will help you save a lot of money on carpet cleaning after your tenant has moved out. If you do use carpet, opt for a sealed carpet pad, tape all seams and glue the padding to floor instead of stapling. This will help prevent lingering odors and stop accidents from soaking into the carpet padding.
- Install smooth tile or wood flooring around doors or throughout the home. Opting for something without grooves makes accidents easier to clean up.
- Seal wood floors with polyurethane. If your home already has wood floors, sealing them regularly will lock out pet odors and preserve the look longer.
- Bring tile six inches up the walls in common areas. Most people’s pets spend the most time in a kitchen or living room. Tile helps minimize damage to baseboards and makes post-move out cleaning easy.
- Put in a dog run and gravel. Fence off a section of the yard for your pet and put down smooth gravel. This will prevent damages to the lawn, prevent less mess to be tracked in the home, and make for easier pet clean up.
- Install pet doors on exterior garage doors. If the property doesn’t have an attached garage, avoid putting dog doors that lead from the house to the exterior, as that could cause potential security issues.
- Update the patio or balcony. Make sure small pets can’t squeeze through balustrades by blocking them off with chain link or a solid material like plexiglass or rattan wicker.
- Put lucite door panels on wood doors. For those areas excited pets are more likely to scratch, you can purchase lucite panels and attach them to the bottom portion of your doors using removable adhesive strips.
- Paint the home with velvet paint. The velvet finish makes wipe downs easier and helps hide any blemishes on the walls.
- Put an extra filter on ventilation ducts. It will decrease airflow a little but will do extra duty when it comes to catching pet hair. Otherwise, we recommend changing single filters at least once a month.
- Install register filters on the floor air registers. This will prevent pet hair and debris from getting into the duct system.
- Buy appliances and products with pet warranties. Before buying products for the home ask about warranty terms and make sure you register them!
- Stick plexiglass on the inside of doors and windows with 3M strips. This is a cheap way to keep your windows looking like new and can easily be replaced when they get scratched and dirty.
- Install storm doors in the entry points that pets will use. If damage occurs, these can easily be replaced between tenants.
Tips for finding the right tenants (and pets)
- Write detailed descriptions and take photos of the property before and after move-in. Don’t forget to include details about the yard, door jambs, blinds, and screens. Make sure all parties have the same documentation before you hand over the keys.
- Screen the pet, too. Ask for vaccination records, city or country registration information, and a photo. You can also have your potential tenant bring their pet to the showing so you can see their personality and how they interact with the space, you and their owners.
- Don’t be afraid to set weight and size restrictions. Big dogs and small apartments often don’t mix. Pick your restrictions and make sure they are clearly detailed on applications and leases.
- Call past landlords. This should be a part of your screening process already, but make sure you pay extra attention to the response to, “would you rent to them again?”
- Ask for a pet deposit. The state of Colorado doesn’t allow for non-refundable security deposits, but it does allow for non-refundable pet deposits. Whether you increase the initial security deposit or charge a pet deposit, it will help mitigate risk and cover potential repairs in the future. There is no max deposit amount, but check competitors and be reasonable.
- Charge pet rent. Two benefits of renting pet-friendly properties are the ability to increase profits with higher rent and the ability to reduce vacancies by expanding your pool of potential tenants. When raising prices, it’s important to do this wisely. You do not want to price yourself out the market, so see what comparable properties are charging for monthly pet rent first.
- Keep it all in the lease. Your pet addendum should include which pets are/are not allowed, how many, size and weight restrictions, breed, age, spayed or neutered status, vaccination requirements and whether or not it’s a service animal.
How to pet-proof your apartment or home for your pet
For pet owners, there are three important parts to finding a new home: looking for pet-friendly properties, keeping your pet safe in the home and maintaining the property so that you leave on a positive note and with a rave review from your landlord.
Here are some things you can do to create a safe space for your fur baby and be a top-notch renter:
Tips for finding the right apartment or home
- Create a pet resume. Seriously! Include a photo and all of the items that may be on a future pet addendum, like breed, weight, vaccinations, etc., so that future property managers can get to know the pet you love so much!
- Get a review from your dog walker or vet. Some landlords don’t check these, but providing these contacts will give your future landlord another option while screening your application.
- Bring your pet to the showing (just ask first). Put your best paw forward by making the face-to-face introduction so they see how well-behaved your pet is.
- Take note of the property before you move in. Even if your landlord doesn’t do an initial walkthrough, take the time to snap some pictures that are geo-tagged, time and date stamped. Note any areas that you think may cause problems when it comes to getting your deposit back, like walls, flooring, door jambs and screens.
- Obedience train your pet. Good manners go a long way, and not just when it comes to renting! Create a good relationship with your neighbors by teaching your dog not to bark, jump on the fence, or howl when you are away.
- Identify all plants inside and out. If your new home has landscaping, take some time to identify the flora and fauna to ensure your pet will be safe if he or she decides to nibble. Common plants that are not safe for pets include aloe vera, tomatoes, tulips, and carnations, just to name a few.
- Meet the neighbors (and their pets). If your potential neighbors have pets, you should try to meet them and see their personality. You don’t want to have pets fighting across the fence.
- Consider repainting or touching up the paint before you leave. Many rental agreements will list the paint color of your property. If your pet did some damage that doesn’t require filling holes, it would be worth buying a small can of matching paint and touching up any blemishes before the final walk through.
- Clean the carpets with a pet enzyme. Use professional equipment or hire a professional carpet cleaner to deep clean with a pet enzyme that combats odors and accidents. Allow the carpet to thoroughly dry out for a few days, as damp carpets in a closed up home can dramatically magnify any pet orders!
- Leave a good review. Landlords have entrusted you and your pet with their property, so let them know what a great experience it was. This will help build a relationship with them and will let other pet owners know where to look for their next home!
Decor and safety hacks
- Get them to the groomer. Regular grooming, either by you or a professional, will minimize shedding. Afterward, run a dryer sheet along your pet’s coat to pick up any stray hairs.
- Invest in some baby gates. The number one way to keep your home in order and minimize damage is to section off the areas your pet can and cannot enter. Just avoid using small rooms – like the bathroom or laundry room – as dog pens, as they will be more likely to chew on furnishings and trim.
- Store crates and dog beds away from the walls. If your pet uses a crate during the day, make sure you pull it away from the wall and areas where they might chew or leave dirty spots on the wall.
- Tie up long cords on blinds or consider taking them down. Most rental properties have flimsy blinds that are easy to break. If they are a problem for your pet who wants to peek out the window, you can take them down and store them until you move.
- Buy an outdoor rug for inside carpets and entryways. These are usually a bit more durable than regular rugs and will help you pet proof carpet by keeping the floor underneath looking brand new.
- Decorate with decor in your pet’s hair color. Fabrics like Ultrasuede, leather and the synthetic Crypton are easy to clean and won’t attract hair as much as velvet or chintz.
- Avoid open bookshelves and close all doors. Bookshelves, dressers, nightstands and other furniture pieces should have doors that keep curious noses out.
- Put a baby lock on cabinets. If your pet is especially wiley, temporarily child proofing doors will help keep them out of places they shouldn’t be.
- Buy a toilet lid lock. Aside from turning the toilet bowl into a drinking dish, small dogs and cats may want to jump up and explore, presenting a drowning hazard.
- Stash cords. A teething animal and electrical cords just don’t mix. Keep pets out of areas with cords and wrap cords in electrical tape, inspecting them regularly for bite marks.
- Keep knick-knacks, jewelry, and sharp object up and away. These are potential choking hazards and could hurt your pet.
- Store food in a sealed container and use pet proof trash can lid. Even the most well-behaved fur babies can’t resist the trash while their humans are out. If you can, putting these in a different room or closet will take away the temptation and will help keep your floors and walls clean.
- Manage pet hair regularly. One complaint from landlords is the lingering hair and odors left behind after a tenant moves out. Keep hair at bay by cleaning furniture with rubber gloves and running a squeegee over carpets.
- Maintain the lawn and garden. If your landlord doesn’t do lawn maintenance, make sure you keep it tidy to prevent your pet from bringing a mess into your home.
- Purchase a temporary fence. If you don’t have a pet run, you can use a temporary fence in the yard to prevent your pup from wearing down the same areas in the lawn. It’s also easy to move around so that they are always in the shade on warm days!
- Get a regular pet sitter. For long days or weekend trips, having someone that your pet is comfortable around will help reduce anxiety and accidents while you are gone.
With these tips, you can ensure that homes and pets are kept safe. Overall, making a few smart home updates and taking good care of your pet with regular baths, hair cuts, vet visits and frequent exercise will help your pet stay comfortable, happy and healthy.
If you are a property owner who wants to find renters, taking a little extra care to set your home up for pets and screen responsible owners can lead to making more money, having your property filled for longer periods of time and good reviews from happy pet owners. Meanwhile, tenants who take a little extra care to keep their home clean and their pets happy should have no problem renting a place now or in the future.