Seattle Rental Homes And The PetNo Pet Question

Dated: 02/22/2017

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Last week’s 141st Westminster Dog Show TV ratings may not have gone through the woof—but for “Rumor,” the winning German Shepard, it was a wag-tastic finale. It brought to mind one of the foremost issues facing today’s Seattle rental homes landlords: Fido or No; Kitty or not. It can be something of a brow-wrinkler.

 For sure, no matter what the ultimate decision, the owners of Seattle’s rental homes will remain on the upside in the tenant-landlord relationship. As landlords, they are in the happy position of receiving rents from their well-behaved tenants—even as they build equity in their rental properties. But one of the decisions that goes into that picture-perfect arrangement is the one about allowing or restricting pets.

A primary rule for Seattle rental home success is keeping the property rented. Vacancies cause divots in Seattle rental homes’ balance sheets—the antithesis of what rental homes ideally produce. And for each turnover, advertising, cleaning, and reconditioning expenses create new expense items. That’s where the pets/no pets decision weighs in.

The American Pet Products Association told us in 2012 that 39% of U.S. households owned at least one dog and that 33% owned at least one cat (there’s ample evidence that it’s the cats who actually own the households, but that’s another issue). But now comes evidence that those percentages may be severely underestimated.

In their “Animal House 2017” study dealing with remodeling, the National Association of Realtors® found that 81% of respondents say that animal-related considerations play a role when “deciding on their next living situation.”

Eighty-one percent!!! That’s 4 out of 5! If Seattle rental homes even come close to fitting that kind of profile, it means that landlords who choose a “no pets” strategy to protect their properties from all clawing digging, scratching and chewing might be severely limiting their potential renter pool—with bottom line repercussions. Since 89% of respondents with pets say they wouldn’t consider giving up their animals due to housing restrictions, that conclusion could be accurate.

Along those lines, the pro-animal sector is ready, willing and able to produce studies and statistics aimed at publicizing the financial benefits for owners of pets-allowed rental homes. Petfinder is one such site: when it tallies rent surcharges and shortened vacancy periods and subtracts average damage and insurance increases, it calculates a net benefit of more than $2,700 per year as a conservative estimate. I don’t know how conservative that figure truly is (most of the net is due to pet surcharges), but it could well be true that tenants in pet-friendly digs did remain in place more than twice as long (Petfinder’s calculation). Interestingly, it’s also noted that extended tenancy did not occur for tenants who kept pets illegally.

If you are thinking about the advantages of acquiring one of Seattle’s rental homes— whether it will be pet-friendly or not—now is a particularly good time to take a look at today’s available properties. Getting a jump on the spring rush makes sense.

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Ron Harmon | Designated Broker

As a dedicated real estate broker I have helped over 500 families purchase or sell their home and I am qualified to guide you through buying or selling a home. Buying or selling a home is one of t....

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