Risk versus income, type of flooring, size and bread of pet and imposing restrictions/pet policies.
Whether or not you have decided to allow dogs or cats in your San Diego rental property boils down to two things. Primarily, you have will want to consider your income potential for the property, and Secondly, how much risk related to pet damages are you comfortable with?
RISK VS. REWARD
Essentially this is a strategy of risk versus reward. Traditionally speaking, regardless of the investment vehicle being discussed, the more risk you take the higher the reward or return on investment; less risky investments’ yield a lower, but more stable reward or return on investment. These principles can be applied to renting your property to pet owners as well. San Diego property managers, when they decide to accept a pet it is for 2 reasons. First, it may help rent a property that has had a long vacancy period for whatever reason. Secondly, in some cases, you can demand slightly higher rental rates since dog owners many times face additional challenges qualifying for many rentals when their application indicate a pet will be moving in.
CURRENT AND FUTURE FLOORING CHOICES
The composition of your flooring is a primary consideration with respect to whether you should accept pets or not.
Carpet is often considered not to be appropriate for dog owners. Dog dander, oil from skin, paying patterns, hair, urine, and the fact that dogs don’t wipe their feet before entering a property all contribute to the expedited degradation of the floor covering.
Hardwood flooring, in particular, will inherently lead to damaged flooring from scratches. Engineered imitation hardwood has a durable laminate finish on the top surface, this style of flooring holds up well with pet traffic and behavior. Vinyl engineered imitation hardwood made with vinyl holds is designed not to be damaged by moisture from water spill or urine, where the fiberboard/composite style laminate flooring will buckle and delaminate in the presence of even small amounts of moisture.
Tile and stone flooring surfaces are the most adequate for pets. You should also consider the variety of flooring compositions in the home. For example, it is better to have an imitation hardwood or tile surface near the entryway to the rear yard of the home. Carpeting in the same location would constantly have dirt and mud tracked in by dogs, which would quickly degrade the flooring.
In summary, you may want to move to a different more durable surface if you decide to move in the direction of allowing pets.
DAMAGE AND WRITTEN PET RULES
For a home with pets, a Semi-Annual Maintenance Inspection (SAMI) is the best line of defense. Consider it preventative maintenance, by scheduling a walkthrough twice per year a property manager will observe and document pet damage and notate and odors and have correct the issue immediately. You have the option at this stage to charge the tenant for any related costs to cure. As mentioned, we primarily see pet damage in the flooring. Doors, trim and baseboards can be scratched or chewed on. If you have made the decision to be open your property to pets, be prepared to address odors and getting rid of the dog or pet smell. Like cigarette smokers, unfortunately, the odor can be difficult to eliminate completely, even with professional cleaning services.
Contact your HOA to inquire about written pet rules and restrictions for owners and tenants. Further, refer to your CCR to review the procedures for handling pet related violations. Sometimes they restrict the size and quantity of pets. The community master insurance policy may further restrict the breed of pets to ‘non-aggressive’ breeds. Commercial property management companies in San Diego manage buildings with greater than 5 units and HOA’s typically have written policies in place to deal with pet related concerns.
Most San Diego property managers know that the building style and distance to neighbors’ windows can be a determining factor for considering pets, as well as the style or orientation of outdoor space.
If the property is not fenced in, or the yard area abuts a busy street or highway, additional dangers are present inherently and it is advisable to consider this aspect.
Lastly, it is always recommended that properties with pets should require in the lease that the tenant carry ‘renter insurance’ and if additional coverage is available for pets, then the policy should be written as so.