Many landlords ask if they should allow pets in their rental properties. When you consider the increased pool of applicants from which you can choose, it’s a good idea to allow them as long as you have a plan in place to mitigate the increased risk of damages that comes with allowing pets. The number of homes with pets has increased from 56 percent in 2011, to 65 percent in 2015. That number continues to grow.
Putting Together a Pet Policy
A good example of a strong pet policy can be found from the SPCA or the Humane Society. Your policy should include a restriction on the number of pets that you’ll allow in your rental. You should also require that all pets be spayed and neutered. You don’t want to allow any breeding or puppy mills within your residence. You should also have a plan in place for pet waste and pet management like fleas and ticks. The animals and the tenants who own them must comply with all state and local laws, so be sure to run it by an attorney.
Screening the Pet
Be prepared to screen the pet similar to the way you’ll screen your applicant. Have your potential tenant fill out a pet application. Ask for vet records and references from prior landlords. Make sure you follow up on those references because the previous and former landlords will be able to tell you if that pet left any damage behind. Make it a policy to meet the dog. Ascertain its personality, temperament and grooming. Note the interaction between the pet and the pet owner: which one is in charge?
An increase in the security deposit you collect from a pet owner and the opportunity for a refund will ensure that your tenant complies with your pet policy. Remember that service animals are not pets; they are tools for their humans. You cannot charge a pet deposit for service animals, and they are not covered by your pet policy.
By allowing pets, you create a win-win for the landlord and the tenant. We would welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact us at Morgan Property Management if you have any questions about pets or pet policies.