Rental Houses and Dogs

Bend oregon rental houses and dogsI don’t know what it is about Bend, Oregon but the people who live here love their dogs.  So much so that Bend was named 2012 Dog Town USA by Dog Fancy Magazine.  That’s all well and good but what does that mean for Bend real estate investors?

It means, if you are thinking about buying a rental house in Bend or anywhere in Central Oregon, you should give serious consideration to the question of how you feel about dogs in your rental.

Many of the owners that we work for are apprehensive about allowing tenants with dogs and they have good reason to be.  Dogs can scratch doors and hardwood floors, chew on trim or cabinets, make a carpet smelly and leave dead spots in a lawn.  So why would anyone willingly put such an expensive investment as a house at risk of incurring that kind of damage?

Easier to rent.  In our experience, there are significantly more tenants in Bend with dogs than there are without.  Not allowing dogs in a rental automatically excludes a large number of prospective tenants before you even know anything about them.  Reducing your pool of prospects by more than half can lead to longer vacancies which means less money in the owner’s pocket.

Higher rents.  It may seem a little counter-intuitive but allowing dogs in rentals can actually allow an owner to charge more rent.  Because there are so many dog owners in Bend there is increased demand for rentals that will allow dogs.  Add to that demand from people without dogs and you start to see some competition for a quality rental in a good location.

That’s what deposits are for.  In an ideal world each time a tenant moved out of a rental house it would be returned to the owner in perfect shape….but that seldom happens.  Regardless of whether or not the last tenants had a dog life happens and some times so do bad tenants.  Deposits exist to protect the owner and they also serve notice to tenants that there is money at stake if they don’t take care of the house.  At Preferred Residential, we always ask for extra deposits if the tenant has a dog.

Property management safeguards.  Preferred Residential takes a few extra steps to protect the homes in our rental program that do allow dogs.  We screen the dogs as well as we can by having them come to our office and asking the tenants for references.  After the first 90 days of tenancy we inspect the home to see how the tenant and dog are treating it.  Based on that inspection we will either move to annual inspections or ask the tenant to make corrections and perform more frequent inspections as the situation warrants.

Dogs aren’t for everyone.  We get that.  We just want our rental owners to be able to make an informed decision instead of an emotional one.

About Dan Seim

Dan Seim is the primary contributor to Preferred Residential's blog. He has been writing about real estate issues that affect home owners in Bend and Central Oregon since 2011.

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