Chicago Landlords Weigh Surprising Pet Study

Renting to a person or family with pets is a risk. No matter how adorable the little critters might be, the truth is, they can damage your rental homes. A Chicago landlord can lose sleep just thinking about clawing, digging, scratching and chewing on floors, walls, fixtures…not to mention the specter of chaos in the yard. Yes; but…

Landlords also know that when you own one or more Chicago rental homes, Job One is to see that it stays occupied. Not only because of the income factor, but because empty homes just seem prone to deterioration. Would it make much sense to shut out 4 out of every 10 of your prospects?According to the American Pet Products Association, 39% of U.S. households own at least one dog; 33% at least one cat. That makes more than 78,000,000 owned dogs and 86,000,000 pet cats. Nothing to shake your tail at.

One legitimate long-term concern has to do with allergens. Even pets that do not cause surface damage (for every destructive pet out there, there are many more that are not!) and you are able to clean rental homes of pet smells, their dander stays behind. Dander is what triggers allergies, and it can stay in air ducts even after cleaning. This can limit the potential renter pool, or cause potential problems if a tenant doesn’t notice the allergy until after moving in. Is it then the landlord’s fault for not disclosing the previous pet? Or the tenant’s fault for not asking? Experienced pet-tolerant landlords avoid the problem by making sure future tenants know a cat or dog previously resided on the property.

The most significant positive (aside from helping to house our furry friends) can show up on the bottom line. According to, pet-friendly rental units have 4% lower vacancy rates. When you consider the decreased advertising expense (even after factoring in insurance and typical damage costs), it all can add up to a measurable revenue boost. Most pet owners are willing to accept a pet deposit, additional pet stipulations, and often, a rent surcharge. A professional property management company can help Chicago landlords set clear and fair guidelines for pets that protect your asset while increasing revenue.

The end goal of a real estate investor is, when all is said and done, to build equity. If you are considering purchasing rental homes in Chicago and can use help finding a great income-producing property, or if you need referral to a responsible property management company, call me anytime. We can go over some of the pros and cons of becoming a landlord — and help you find a property that will help you reach your goals.

By | 2017-03-19T20:42:29+00:00 June 19th, 2015|

About the Author:

Mike McElroy is the Founder and Managing Broker of Center Coast. He and his team of agents run a real estate practice grounded in proven methodology and accelerated by ground-breaking technology and powerful relationships.