Pet owners can be desirable tenants and owners

If you're one of the half of all American households who own a dog or cat, you know firsthand that pets can have a positive impression on our lives by providing companionship, cheering us up and even helping us to meet new people. Research shows that pet owners have significantly lower blood pressure, fewer problems with stress and are more responsible individuals. So naturally, pet owners can be desirable tenants and owners.

Pets are having more of an influence in home buying and selling as well as renovation, a 2017 study by the National Association of REALTORS® shows. Eighty-one percent of Americans say that animal-related considerations play a role when deciding on their next living situation, according to the 2017 Animal House: Remodeling Impact report.

According to ECAR President Greg Hanner, "Realtors® understand that homebuyers take into consideration the needs of their whole family in mind; including pet owners, who will wholeheartedly agree that their animals are part of their family."  Indeed, 99 percent of pet owners say they consider the animal part of the family. Eighty-nine percent of respondents say they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations.

Pets could cost you real estate deals. Realtors® surveyed say that about one-third of their pet-owning clients often or very often will refuse to make an offer on a home because it is not a good match for their pet. Sixty-one percent of buyers, Realtors® say, find it difficult or very difficult to locate a rental property or a homeowners association that accommodates pets.

Sixty-seven percent of Realtors® say animals have a moderate to major effect on selling a home. About two-thirds of Realtors® say that they advise pet-owning sellers to always replace things in the home damaged by an animal, have the home professionally cleaned to remove any animal scents, and to take animals out of the home during a showing or open house.

Pets are serving as guides to renovations too. Fifty-two percent of respondents say they had completed a home renovation project specifically to accommodate their pet. Twenty-three percent of those remodelers had built a fence around their yard; 12 percent added a dog door; and 10 percent installed laminate flooring.

But for the apartment dweller or condominium owner, pets can pose special problems.

Many landlords and management companies bar pets or have unclear policies in which some rules are not enforced as strictly for long-term tenants. Some living arrangements allow for fish or birds but bar cats or dogs.

It's important to check on any size restrictions, particularly on dogs. You may be allowed to have a small dog or puppy, but not a large dog.  If your puppy is going to grow up to be a large dog, you may want to get permission to keep the pet when it's full-grown.

If you're planning to move to a building and you would like to have a pet or bring one along with you, make sure you check the lease or condo association rules to find out if they are allowed. Some buildings may have regulations regarding fish, ferrets, birds, small reptiles or other types of house pets.

Considering that three-fourths of our population live in metropolitan areas, it's clear that a large percentage of prospective tenants are pet owners, and why is that? The presence of a dog reduces the risk of break-ins. The bark of any dog frequently frightens away an intruder.

You can check with your local Humane Society or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for tips on owning a pet. Pet owners, landlords or condo associations should be prepared to discuss these matters objectively.  After all, a good tenant who happens to have a pet is better than a negligent tenant who doesn't. 

And of course, contact the Eastern Connecticut Association of REALTORS® or visit to speak with a Realtor® for information and advice about buying or renting a home to suit your entire family in 2020.



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