Image is of the title of the blog post "Should I Allow Pets in My Pittsburgh Rental Property?" Image has the faces of three cats and one dog.

By: Nick Griffith & Nicole Fandel, Director of Conventional Housing and Marketing Specialist


Should I Allow Pets in My Pittsburgh Rental Property?

Many Pittsburgh rental property owners want to know if they should allow pets into their homes or if they should avoid them.

Whether you’re a pet lover or not, there are a lot of pros and cons to discuss when it comes to welcoming pets into your rental property.


Pro-Pets: Resident Pool and Pricing

The main benefit of allowing pets is that you’ll get a larger pool of potential residents interested in your home.

When pet owners have access to your property, you’ll get a larger selection of applicants and a bigger audience of people who want to see your property and lease it.

Today, it seems like almost everyone has a cat or a dog or a hamster that they cherish – pets are part of the family. So, it’s ultimately easier to rent out your home when you decide to allow pets.

Another pro of allowing pets in your rental property is additional revenue.

You’ll have the ability to charge pet rent in addition to the rent your resident pays. People are very attached to their animals, and they’ll be willing to pay a little more to have them in the property.

You can reap those benefits when you allow pets and charge a little more each month to cover potential additional wear and tear.


Can I Charge a Pet Deposit?

Owners will often want to know if they can charge a pet deposit in addition to the security deposit when they allow pets.

In Pennsylvania, the law says that we can only charge a security deposit that’s the equivalent of one month’s rent. So, we don’t typically charge an additional pet deposit because a deposit has to be returned to the residents.

Instead, we charge the pet rent, which generates additional income for our owners every month.


Avoiding Pets: Potential for Damage

The biggest reason that property owners prefer to avoid pets is that there’s a potential for property damage.

We’ve all heard the horror stories: pets might pee on the floors, scratch the carpet, and chew up the baseboards. They can make messes.

Yes, these things can happen; but generally, pets are often well-trained and well-behaved.

If your residents take care of their pets and the property, you won’t have any unnecessary damage.

However, there’s no guarantee. When you’re screening residents and deciding whether or not to accept a pet, you have to consider the animal’s breed, size, and weight.

Consider the applicant as well. You’ll need to determine whether that applicant is a responsible pet owner who can truly care for the animal as well as your property.


Service and Support Animals

image is of an emotional support animal/emotional support dogAnother hot topic is the rise of service animals and emotional support therapy animals.

These are animals that are coming into the property to help the resident perform daily tasks, or help them emotionally through their daily lives.

If a resident has a service or support animal, we cannot discriminate against those animals, even if there’s a strict no-pet policy in place.

To protect your property, we will always ensure the appropriate documentation and supporting medical notes are in place to verify a service animal or an emotional support animal. We don’t want residents to try and skirt the rules, or put our owners in an unfavorable position.


In Conclusion: Pets or No Pets?

Ultimately, the decision to allow pets is up to you, the owner.

Whether you choose to allow pets or not, we have policies, procedures, and documents that ensure that we are compliant with the laws.

We’ll charge your residents an appropriate amount for the added benefit of moving in with their furry friends, and make sure your property is protected.

If you have any questions about pets, or anything at all pertaining to your Pittsburgh rental property, please contact us and we’d be more than happy to help.