You would think with all the foreclosures on the market and in the works, it would be tough to find a vacant duplex anywhere.
And yet, recent media reports cite the highest national vacancy rates in over 20 years. Where did all those people tenants go? Some foreclosure victims are renting. Others have moved in with friends or family to weather the storm. And many prospective tenants, like recent college graduates, simply haven’t left home.
So in the midst of this economic downturn, how can you make sure you don’t go months without rent?
Well, in addition to cosmetic improvements, one of the most effective ways is to allow pets.
Finding a place to live if you’re a dog owner can be nearly impossible. And duplexes with yards are especially appealing to someone with pets.
In my experience, it’s as important to “interview” the dog as it is the prospective tenant. Well trained and behaved dogs, for example, tend to make better tenants than those who jump all over you, as it speaks to the owner’s commitment to the dog.
By en large, pet owners are appreciative of finding a place that welcomes them and go to great lengths to insure they don’t endanger their living situation.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and to protect yourself from the additional damage pets can inflict on a property, you should ask for a pet deposit in addition to the regular security deposit you take when you have them sign the lease.
A word of caution, however. It’s important to check with your insurance company before you decide you’re willing to rent to pet owners. Many have clauses in their policies limiting their responsibility if specific breeds of dogs are on the premises.