Atlanta Renters Love Dogs – Property Owners Not So Much!

Dog's head in clouds against deep blue sky

Some Pet owners are finding it difficult to lease a property in Atlanta and in the Emory area because many property owners are reluctant to accept pets.

We Love Our Dogs

According to a recent survey by Apartments.com, more than 70% of renters own a pet. In fact, 65% of American households own a pet – 42% owned a cat and 54.4% owned a dog.

Some two-thirds of pet owners have experienced difficult in finding rental property that allowed pets.

If you are an investor with a rental property, one of the frequent questions you will hear is “do you take pets”?

There are horror stories about dogs that destroyed the woodwork or chewed the carpet, but most pets are well-behaved or crated when their owner is away. If the investment property is in a townhome or condo community, you should consider your neighbors, where a barking dog could encourage complaints.

You should also be aware thats Service animals or therapy animals are an exception and you cannot refuse to lease to the owner, or charge a Pet Deposit. The pet owner should provide you with appropriate paperwork, showing that they need the pet for a disability.

The decision to allow pets is a personal one, but here are a few items to consider:

    • You will be collecting a Security Deposit from your tenant. How much additional Pet Deposit should you require? Experienced property managers recommend at least a non-refundable $250 per pet deposit
    • What restrictions will you set on the size of the pet and the breed?
    • If your property is a community with HOA policies, you should check any restrictions they may have before you agree to accept a pet in your investment home.

 

What Can a Decatur Property Manager Do For You?

Decatur businessman with pink pig on head

Managing your own Decatur investment property is often difficult, especially if you need time for a demanding full-time job, a busy family life, and want some precious down time.

Investor[1]
Those annoying tenant requests always seem to come at critical times – just when you are leaving for vacation or an important business trip.

You may have inherited a family home or become a new Decatur investor. Your Decatur home may need repairs or updates – someone will need to meet the workmen.

When your property is ready, you will need to advertise for new tenants – someone will need to screen them carefully by requiring credit, background, criminal checks, employment and more.

  • How will you market your home for tenants?
  • Who will prepare the Lease?
  • Who will hold the Security Deposit?
  • How will the rent be collected?
  • Who will answer the midnight calls from tenants?
  • Who will you use for handymen, electricians, plumbers, etc?
  • If your tenant gets locked out, who will provide an extra key?
  • What records and reports will you keep?

All these items can be professionally handled by an experienced Decatur property manager who knows your neighborhood…..plus more:

  • We can schedule period inspections of your property
  • We can make sure tenants are following the terms of the lease – no unauthorized additional tenants, pets, or painting
  • We can schedule regular HVAC inspections
  • We can prepare any changes to the Lease
  • We can prepare Monthly and Year-end Reports for your records
  • We can schedule necessary repairs
  • We can oversee installation of new carpets, or schedule painters
  • We can initiate all advertising and marketing
  • We can provide strict screening of all tenants

Managing Residential Property Near Emory University

Green knitted house with red roof sitting on a log

You may need a little assistance in managing your Emory area investment home or Decatur property – particularly if  you have moved away from the Atlanta area.

Some investors and owners do successfully manage their own properties.  An experienced Decatur property manager, however, can save you many headaches, like those calls in the middle of the night to syfon water out of a flooded basement or an alarm going off that your tenant can’t locate.  Tenants have called me recently for both of these issues and they need to be handled quickly.

Managing property for other people requires special skills:

  • A very thick skin helps -a property manager acts as a Mediator between the Owner and the Tenant
  • Organization is essential – must be able to set priorities and use follow-up systems
  • Good accounting systems and payment systems
  • A Dedicated Trust Account – regularly balanced
  •  The ability to check credit, background and references
  • Preparation of Leases, Amendments, Move In/Move Our Agreements
  • Great Handymen, Painters, Electricians, etc. – know who to call

A good Property Manager can:

  • Make sure the Heating and Air Conditioning are regularly serviced
  • Make regular inspections of your property
  • Arrange to have a leak repaired or a garbage disposal installed
  • Supervise repairs that often need to be done when a tenant moves out and another moves in
  • Keep you informed of conditions that affect your property

If you are managing your own property or  inherited a home you would like to lease in the Decatur or Emory area, consider hiring a professional Property Manager.

Landlord Responsibilities for Decatur Owners

Orange For Rent Sign with White Letters representing Emory property management services

 

According to Georgia and Federal Law, if you own investment property near Emory University or in Decatur, certain responsibilities fall on your shoulders.

As long as you are not involved in a federal government housing program which have additional requirements,  here are some concerns you should consider:

  • You are required to inform your Decatur renters of the presence of lead based paint on your property.  Lead based paint was banned in 1978 so any newer home is unlikely to contain lead paint.
  • Fair Housing laws also require that you  avoid  discrimination of any kind in leasing your property – – race. color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.
  • You should be aware that Military service personnel are allowed to break their lease if they are deployed.

Many townhome and condo communities in Dekalb County control how many units are allowed to be leased, and in some cases restrict all property owners from leasing their property if it is not owner occupied.  Local housing authorities may also have restrictions that could affect your rental property.  For example, they could restrict  how many unrelated adults may occupy a property, etc.

Local laws  require you to maintain your property in so that it is safe and habitable. Keeping yourDecatur property and the grounds in good repair is important to protect your investment.   This is what your tenants expect as well.

Screen your prospective tenants carefully by requiring credit, background and criminal checks.  Checking references and employment is also critical.  Once your tenants have occupied the property, they have the right to use, occupy and enjoy the premises in accordance with the terms of the Lease.  Except in case of emergency, this means you can’t just pop by without giving appropriate notice to your tenant.

Check with your local housing office or zoning office if you have specific questions.