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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

Dave Ramsey says: Pets and rental properties aren't a great mix

By Dave Ramsey

Published: Tue, Sept. 2 12:00 a.m. MDT

 The problem is I really do have a heart for animals. I love them. But as a landlord who’s running a business, it just doesn’t make sense.

The problem is I really do have a heart for animals. I love them. But as a landlord who’s running a business, it just doesn’t make sense.

(Janie Airey, Getty Images)

Dear Dave,

I have several rental properties, and lately I’ve been spending a ton of money remodeling them because I allow pets. Do you think I should begin refusing tenants with pets?

— Jim

Dear Jim,

This is a tough one for me because I have three dogs of my own. I’ve got a pug that’s older than dirt, a Shih Tzu with an attitude and the best golden retriever on the planet. I love animals, and like you, I’ve got a lot of rental properties. But I don’t allow animals in my properties.

Some people have accused me of hating all animals except my own. I can tell you that’s not true. But the fact is a lot of people don’t take good care of their animals and keep an eye on them. It’s hard enough to find trustworthy, responsible renters these days, and if you add a dog or cat on top of that, you’re just asking for trouble. I’ve had situations in the past where I had to spend $10,000 to clean up a house after a tenant had a dog or cat in there. They’ll chew things up, stain and stink things up and tear things up. Sometimes you even have to replace the floorboards.

I had a lady offer me a $10,000 deposit the other day on one of my properties, just so she could move in with her dog. I said no. It’s in all my leases now — no animals. I don’t allow them in at the beginning, and if one of my tenants gets one after they move in, they either have to find a new home for the animal or move out themselves. At that point, they’re in violation of the lease.

The problem is I really do have a heart for animals. I love them. But as a landlord who’s running a business, it just doesn’t make sense.

— Dave

Dear Dave,

I’m driving a 10-year-old car with 195,000 miles on it. The car needs $1,500 in repairs, and it’s worth $5,000. I have $40,000 in cash saved, $40,000 in investments and I make $80,000 a year. I also have $15,000 in student loan debt, but the only other thing I owe on is my house. Should I pay to repair the car or buy something else for $15,000?

— Dave

Dear Dave,

Nice name! If you wrote a $15,000 check for a newer car and wrote a $15,000 check for the student loans, it would leave you with $10,000. I wouldn’t buy a $15,000 car in your situation. I’d buy a $10,000 car. You could sell your current car for around $3,500 if it needs repairs, combine that with your money and get a $13,500 car. Then, you could write a check and pay off the student loan debt.

With no car payment, no student loan payment and a good car, you can really lean into your budget. Think about it. You’d have no debt except for your home, and you could rebuild your savings in a hurry and be in really great shape in about six months. Plus, you’d have $15,000 sitting there in the meantime.

— Dave

Follow Dave on Twitter at DaveRamsey and on the Web at daveramsey.com.

Recommended
1. trekker
Salt Lake, UT,
Sept. 2, 2014

Good luck with the no animals in rentals, My wife and I moved into a apartments that do not allow pets, but thanks to some companion animal law our landlord is forced to allow them now. The sad thing is they are supposed to be for people with health issues but some of our neighbors have admitted they lied and got their doctor to sign a note saying they need an animal for depression just to get a pet. I wonder What about my rights to rent somewhere animal free as well as the landlords rights?

2. sally
Kearns, UT,
Sept. 2, 2014

This happened to our family when we were temporarily renting. The dog (illegal companion) upstairs howled day and night. The manager refused to do anything about it. Then, there was the dog crap all over the lawn and sidewalks. The dogs ran free outside. It was a challenge to even get to our car. Yes, we called the police. We were so glad to leave that place.