Rent Coach

Rent Coach: Advice for a pet-friendly landlord

By Mike Akerly  | November 10, 2011 - 10:17AM

Q. I just bought a small rental building and will be doing some renovations to all of the apartments.  I’m also thinking about changing the rental policy to allow pets on a case-by-case basis.  Are there any adjustments I should make to the renovations now that animals may be living in the building?

A. If properly managed, a pet-friendly policy can increase the demand for and value of your apartments. As part of your renovation, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce the wear and tear in an apartment that a pet lives in and to make sure that what attracts pet-owners to your building doesn't repel others:  

  • Use washable acrylic or oil based paints on the walls
  • Use garbage containers that have a tight seal for animal waste to avoid odors and health issues (for example, the risk to pregnant woman from cat feces)
  • Avoid installing any carpeting in the apartments
  • Install high efficiency filters if you have forced air ventilation
  • To reduce transient noise and odors, make sure there are no gaps around or under the door from each apartment to the hallway

You should also make sure to have a lease provision that requires tenants to place rugs on the floors, especially since you will not be installing carpet. This will help cut down on the noise caused by paws running across the floor.  Also, if you go with hardwood floors, choose a best-in-class polyurethane finish designed for high traffic. 

 Be sure to document the condition of the apartments with photos and video prior to delivering possession to the tenant and make sure they are aware that they will be responsible for any damage caused by their pets.  


Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. He is also the publisher of the Greenwich Village blog VillageConfidential.  



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