Rental Property Pet Policy Tips

Philadelphia Property Management Company Owner, Joe White Talks About Pet Policies

Read the full transcript on Rental Property Pet Policies here:

As an experienced Philadelphia property manager, I receive endless inquiries from property owners regarding whether or not they should allow pets on their rental properties as well as pet questions from our own potential tenants on a daily basis. Since we receive so many questions on this topic, I thought I would explain our policies and rationale in one convenient place.

In my previous professional life, I wrote a book on dog behavior, so I’m quite familiar with behavioral problems that can arise with pets. With one pet, we don't tend to see too much trouble in the way of behavioral problems, though there can be some difficulty with dogs that experience separation anxiety and problems of that nature. Now with cats, where we run into a problem is multi-pet households, particularly multi-cat households, where the pets start competing between each other to establish who's really in charge. This is where we start to see damaging behaviors happen, such as marking, scratching, and more.

With all of this considered, we advise our property owners that they should allow pets despite the risks. In our experience, they will get significantly more rent if pets are permitted, and the damage is typically going to be well within the range of what a security deposit will cover. As a property management company, however, we still give our owners the choice. We don't force them to enact certain policies, including allowing pets.

When we complete our owner onboarding, we send out a questionnaire asking what the owners are interested in and we make our recommendations accordingly. Some owners opt not to allow pets while most do, but as a company, we restrict tenants from having multiple pets.

We allow households to have either one dog or one cat. Tenants could even have two pets if one was a dog and one was a cat! But we do not allow for two cats or two dogs to live on the same property. As mentioned before, this introduces the element of competition that can result in chaos in a household.

We have this restriction in place to avoid a situation where we have to evict a tenant from a property or a condo unit if, for example, their dog starts barking and becoming disruptive. In these situations, things become complicated. The tenant can claim the dog is not barking, while the HOA can claim that it is. Ultimately, the HOA doesn’t care about the tenant or the tenant’s rights; all they care about is that the owner of the unit needs to take care of the problem, and this can create a lot of unnecessary friction.

With these in factors in mind, we advise property owners to allow pets, but we have also created our own two-pet policy to avoid the potential pitfalls. We hope this gives you some food for thought for your own property!


Joe White

Joe White is a Philadelphia Property Manager and Real Estate Broker. He is the owner of Grow Property Management and has been involved in the management, sales and purchases of Philadelphia area rental investment properties since 2008. He is an author and works as a real estate investment consultant and construction manager.

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