Anyone who’s rented property has no doubt seen the “no pets allowed,” policies.

But some property owners are looking on pets as manageable opportunities, not liabilities.

According to Kelsi Borland, writing for, in today’s market, allowing and accommodating pets is nearly mandatory in many locales to stay competitive in the rental market.

Developers and owners are seeing the light and it appears to be golden to them.

Many are offering pet-friendly amenities such as private dog parks, pet spas and yes, contracted veterinary care.

Old school thinking was that pets cause damages and rental owners didn’t want to deal with that.

They point to noise complaints, wallboard staining, carpet soiling and stains, clawed drapery, chewed trim work, and probably most common, lingering odors.

From the other side, tenants feel battered by the constant battle over damage deposits and allegations of outright thievery by owners.

Fish, reptiles, amphibians and pocket pets have always flown under the radar.

Over time, a good portion have allowed cats, but dogs were almost always verboten.

Arguably, one night of primate-renter beer pong in an apartment can do more than the aforementioned damages.

For those property developers thinking ahead, they sit down with an attorney and develop a tight contract for tenants and solid policies for administering those contracts.

They carefully screen their tenants, too. That means meeting them and their pets at a neutral site to see how they behave.

If a veterinary practice is contracted to be a service to the tenants, they or a member of their staff might accompany the owner to the first meeting to see if there are any red flags.

Debbie Willis, president and designated broker of property services at PB Bell, told Borland, the key to good outcomes was making expectations for the pet owner clear up front. Her company goes a step further and gives out a move-in pet gift bag that includes toys, treats and an inflatable water bowl.

She and other experts in the market agree pets can be destructive, but they say that issue is manageable with pre-paid pet fees and deposits.

In her Phoenix, market, she says there are now very few rental communities that will not take pets anymore.

An on-site or nearby contracted veterinary service might be a wise thing for veterinarians, too.

On-site practices might negotiate down a commercial rental in return for service guarantees to renters in a large urban complex of apartments and condominiums.

A nearby practice might be able to negotiate a standing contract for pet owners of a complex much like a fitness club membership.

A boarding service sub-contract might benefit people who are renters as well as frequent travelers.

Your pet is fed and cared for daily. Most include daily enrichment play with or without other pets.

And if there is a veterinary need while you are away, they see to it that it happens.

For the renter/traveler, they get a pet back that is bathed, with its nails trimmed, perhaps groomed and otherwise happy to see the owner again.

For the pets, having a don’t-have-to-think-about-it drop off medical care available means two things.

First, pets will be healthier and they may live longer.

Second, regular veterinary care, twice a year, has been shown to significantly lower overall pet health care costs over the pet’s lifetime.

Catching detrimental conditions or diseases early is one of the primary ways of lowering veterinary care costs. Waiting until the pet is ill is a sure way to incur costs that are many times greater and preventable.

Charlie Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you’d like to read about, email

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