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Paw Prints and Property Preservation: Strategies for Pet-Proofing Your Rentals

pets at home

Did you know that renting your investment property to tenants with pets can increase your occupancy rates and rental income?

According to the American Pet Products Association, 66% of U.S. households own a pet. This large number of pet owners needs a place to live, and they make up a substantial percentage of the rental market.

Although as a rental property owner there are challenges when allowing pets including repairs and replacement of areas that were used by the pets. Additionally though usually unintentional, pets can cause significant damage, resulting in expensive repairs.

This article has tips to pet-proof your rentals to ensure they remain in great condition, no matter who lives in them.

Practical Pet-Proofing Strategies

Implementing pet-proofing strategies is a smart way to mitigate wear and tear and to ensure that you can safeguard your investment while maintaining tenant satisfaction.

Invest In Durable Flooring Options

Investing in durable flooring is a crucial step in pet-proofing your rental property. Pets, particularly dogs and cats, can cause significant wear and tear on floors, especially if they are wood or carpet. Scratches, scuff marks, rips, and tears all show up quickly when pets are running around.

To avoid these issues, you can consider installing materials such as Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP), which is scratch-resistant, waterproof, and relatively easy to replace in sections if damaged. You can lay this type of flooring over Alternatively, you can opt for tile that is durable and easy to clean or stained concrete that is highly durable and resistant to scratches.

Use Adequate Wall Protection

Even if animals don’t scratch walls, they will rub against them, leaving undesirable marks. Fortunately, there are many ways to limit the damage and pet-proof your walls to ensure they are easy to clean and always look fresh.

  • Use semi-gloss or satin paint: These finishes are easier to clean than matte paint. Many of these paints are also 100% washable, making it easier to wipe them down without leaving any lasting marks.
  • Install wainscoting or chair rails: These protective features can safeguard walls from damage at pet height as they help to keep them from rubbing against the wall itself.
  • Consider washable wallpaper: This can provide an extra layer of protection and is easy to clean. It’s also applied in strips, so you can replace a strip without having to redo a whole wall.

Focus on Pet-Friendly Landscaping

Outdoor spaces can also suffer from pet-related damage and can make a property look unkempt or undesirable. You can prevent this by implementing pet-friendly landscaping techniques such as planting pet-resistant plants that are non-toxic and more resilient to being walked or climbed over.

Plus you can also set up designated areas for pets to do their business. For example, you can use materials like pea gravel or artificial turf to create sections of the garden that are easier to clean and maintain.

Lastly, ensure fences are secure and high enough to prevent pets from escaping, as this will provide peace of mind for your tenants and their neighbors.

Request Regular Inspections and Maintenance

To ensure that your property stays in tip-top condition, you our your property manager should carry out regular inspections that will help you identify and address pet-related damage early. This proactive approach can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems and can keep your tenants happy, too.

Encourage tenants to report any damage immediately so that you can provide the necessary maintenance as it’s needed. If they feel comfortable telling you about an issue, you can act quickly and limit any negative long-term effects.


Create Clear Pet Policies

In the US, the Fair Housing Act covers assistance animals and service dogs. Assistance animals are those that provide assistance, perform tasks for someone with a disability, or offer emotional support. The Act ensures that landlords cannot discriminate against these pet owners. However, you can create policies in line with these laws that also protect your property.

Establishing clear pet policies is essential for managing expectations and responsibilities and ensuring your tenants understand what’s required of them.

Your pet policies should outline:

  • Pet types and sizes allowed: Specify any breed restrictions or weight limits.
  • Number of pets: Limit the number of pets per household to prevent overcrowding and excessive wear and tear.
  • Pet deposits and fees: Charge a refundable pet deposit and/or a non-refundable pet fee to cover potential damages and additional cleaning costs.

Summing Up

With the real estate rental market set to grow from $2601 billion in 2023 to $2806 billion in 2024, offering pet-friendly accommodation can offer significant benefits. Not only will you have a greater pool of tenants to choose from, but you can also increase tenant retention. However, you need to take proactive steps to protect your rentals or tapping into this market will cost you more than you earn.

Property owners can effectively manage pet-related challenges by implementing durable flooring, protecting walls, adopting pet-friendly landscaping, and establishing clear pet policies. Regular inspections and maintenance will also ensure that the property remains in good condition, safeguarding your investment and keeping your tenants happy.