Evaluate Your Space
Start by assessing your property's layout. Open spaces, durable flooring, and secure windows are key features that make a property suitable for pets. Consider the potential for wear and tear and how the space can be adapted to accommodate four-legged residents.
If you work from home, your dog will want to be by your side. I work a lot from home. I know that Biscuit, my basset/beagle likes to lie in her bed by my desk and just fall asleep. She has a cosy corner near a radiator and just loves it!
Choose Durable Materials
Invest in hard-wearing flooring such as tiles or laminate that can withstand claws and is easy to clean. This makes long term sense anyway for a landlord. Sharers are often heavy on wear and tear. People have parties and children do make a ‘mess’.
I am also a landlord. Put aside your own taste. Be practical. Cheap really does not last. Spend that bit more on better flooring. Cheap wood laminate flooring will come up very quickly. If you prefer carpet, then go for hard wearing but again not the cheap options. Stick to the middle.
I have seen some landlords put in expensive light carpets. I recall one in Primrose Hill. They told my client that their dog could not go on the carpet in the main bedroom. Yet, it led to the patio outside. I quickly advised the client against offering despite the fact they liked the property. How impractical and it would only have become an issue during the tenancy.
Opt for paint over wallpaper to avoid potential scratches and tears. Choose a satin or semi-gloss finish for easier maintenance. You can get some paints and fabrics where you can wipe stains off easily. I know. Been there done it.
Secure Outdoor Areas
If your property has a garden or balcony, ensure it is securely fenced to keep pets safe. Adding a pet door can provide dogs and cats with the freedom to roam safely between indoors and outdoors.
Make sure there are no gaps in the fences. This is not an extra expense. Tenants with or without pets would ask for them to be fixed. With a balcony, make sure the railings are a good height. Pet owners always have to be careful, especially with bigger dogs. I have a client with 5 house cats. They have got used to balcony and go out on it to relax and take in the sunshine.
Just like child-proofing, pet-proofing is essential. Secure loose wires and ensure any toxic plants or substances are out of reach. This will keep the property safe for pets. This advice applies to both tenants and landlords. Loose cables should be tidied up anyway, as they are dangerous for families with children.
Set Clear House Rules
Outline what is expected from pet-owning tenants. Include details such as noise control, waste management, and any restrictions on pet sizes or breeds. Clear communication can prevent misunderstandings and ensure the property is maintained. When allowing pets in a rental property, you as the landlord can specify the size and number of pets. Some landlords even specify just cats or only small dogs.
At the end of the day, it is about the tenant profile. You are less likely to agree to a tenant with a large dog in a 1-bedroom flat. You are more likely to say yes to a small dog or a house cat.
A tip to landlords. Look at it on a case by case basis.
Offer Pet Amenities
This is a way of making your property ‘stand out’ for pet owners. One thing that dog owners like, is a downstairs shower area. That is a real luxury. As a dog owner, I get it. Imagine taking your dog for a walk. It has been raining all day and your dog has jumped in the biggest and muddiest puddle. You want to contain that mud and not have to clean up the rest of the place. Walk through the door and the shower is right there. Minimal mess.
A ground floor shower is pawsome! Not a must though.
Adjust Your Property Management
If you are ‘nervous’ about renting to pet owners, then do more frequent inspections. Perhaps for the first 6 months to make sure your new tenants are responsible. After a while you will no doubt see how responsible the tenants are and you can make inspections less frequent.
For landlords it is all about taking that ‘leap’. You hear of irresponsible pet owners. The thing is, tenants are a gamble in general. A reference check does not cover behavioural patterns. It just confirms they can pay the rent.
I have seen neighbours complaining about tenants smoking in a property and regular late night parties.
When I think about it, trying not to be prejudiced, some of my best tenants have had pets. They are so happy you just said yes to their dog or cat. I would pick people with pets over sharers. Far less wear and tear.