If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know how dogs and cats can quickly become a beloved member of the family.
As a landlord, you’ll need to decide whether to allow pets in your rental property or not.
It can pay to allow pets in rentals in BC, but there are also some good reasons to keep pet owners at bay. Let’s walk through the benefits and risks of renting out a pet-friendly property.
Reasons for Allowing Pet Owners in Your BC Rental Property
As a Kelowna property management company with years of experience renting out homes to qualified tenants, we generally recommend allowing pets, at least on a case-by-case basis.
When you allow pets in your rental property, you have a good chance of renting it out to good tenants much faster.
As pet ownership became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Canadian Animal Health Institute reported that, as of Sept 2022, 60% of households in Canada have at least 1 dog or cat.
With pet owners making up such a large portion of the tenant pool, you’ll have more people vetting to become your next tenant.
Better Tenant Retention
If you rent to pet owners, you’ll often enjoy better tenant retention because it’s not always easy to find pet friendly properties. Your tenants won’t want to go through the hassle and screening process of finding another pet-friendly rental. You can count on pet-owners to renew their lease agreements more consistently and without a fuss.
Greater Rental Income
Since there is a limited supply of pet-friendly rentals, you have the potential to earn more money when you allow pets in rental units. Charging $25, $50, or $100 more in additional “pet rent” is a good way to increase your rental income. Tenants with pets rarely mind paying a bit more.
Risks of Renting to Pet Owners in BC
While there are many benefits to allowing pets, there are also some concerns that many landlords have in BC, Canada.
Pet Related Damage
When you rent to pet owners, you’ll have an increased potential for property damage. You might find scratches on your floors and walls. Particularly energetic dog breeds may dig up your yard, leading to added maintenance and repair costs.
Nasty Pet Odors
Odors from pets tend to linger, especially when it comes to male cats who have not been neutered.
Pet odors and urine can go beyond the carpet, soaking into baseboards and the subflooring of your home. If you have carpet, there may be a need to remove fleas or dog hair.
After renting to a tenant with a pet, there’s a strong chance you’ll have to give your rental a more intense cleaning than usual.
Pet Deposit Rules in BC
In accordance with the Residential Tenancy Act of British Columbia, landlords can request pet deposits as a protective measure against potential damages caused by pets. The maximum allowable pet damage deposit is limited to half of one month’s rent.
If you’re planning to rent your property to a responsible pet owner, we always recommend collecting a pet deposit.
Rules About Service Animals in BC
If you’re used to renting out your property as “no pets allowed,” you should know there are special rules about service animals in Canada, which vary by province.
In British Columbia, certified guide dogs and service animals are not considered pets and are always allowed to live in rental properties. People living with disabilities are allowed to have a service animal – without any restrictions. Property owners are not allowed to say no to a tenant on the basis of their service animal.
Additionally, you’re not allowed to charge extra pet fees for service animals.
Emotional Support Animals in BC
There is a clear distinction between service dogs and emotional support animals in British Columbia’s Guide and Service Dog Act.
A service dog is trained to help a person with a disability perform specific tasks related to their needs.
An emotional support animal (ESA) does not receive special training, and does not hold the same certifications or status as a service animal.
Right now, the provincial laws in BC are still evolving on whether or not you need to allow animals for emotional support as a landlord. In some cases, ESAs are considered to be service animals, which means you’ll have to allow them in your property on a case-by-case basis.
Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?
Overall, we think it’s a good idea to accept pets in rental properties.
Responsible pet owners tend to make great tenants. If they’re used to taking good care of their pets’ wellbeing, they’ll most likely take good care of your property as well. Compared to other tenants, pet owners tend to move less frequently, providing you with a stable long-term tenant.
If you’d like some help protecting your Okanagan rental property while making it a pet-friendly home, contact us at Vantage West Property Management.
BC Property Management Advice: Pet Policies Can Help
A well-defined pet policy can provide you with reassurance when renting to responsible tenants with pets. To minimize your risks, you can set specific restrictions – such as allowing only adult animals, enforcing size limits, and permitting only one pet per tenant.
We think accepting pets is a good idea for your rental home. If you’d like some help protecting your Kelowna rental property while making it a pet-friendly home, contact us at Vantage West Property Management.
If you’re looking for a place for you and your furry friend to call home, check our pet-friendly rental listings in Kelowna, BC.