Pets In Your Rental Properties
Whether or not to allow pets in your rental is a very touch subject. When you have a property for rent, pets are something you need to bring up early in the conversation. Most everyone that I know loves pets and most of my friends have at least one pet. You will find that a large number of prospects will have pets as well.
Do You Allow Pets?
Landlords have mixed reactions when it comes to renting to someone that has pets which is very understandable. Some landlords allow pets and some do not. I know that pets can cause a lot of damage when they are destructive. Even pets that are well behaved can still cause unintentional damage.
Assume The Prospects Have Pets
Again, a large percentage of the people that we pre-screen seem to have pets and you severely limit your pool of potential tenants if you do not allow pets in your rental properties. One thing I do know is that tenants that have pets are usually very attached to them and they will just sneak them in if we said no to pets.
Your lease will need to address the pet owner and the person that says they don’t have a pet. This agreement needs to explain exactly what will happen should you find out about an illegal pet. This can include anything from the pet has to go to actually evicting the tenant for having the illegal pet.
Your Pet Agreement
Assuming you decide to allow pets in your rental homes, you need to have a separate pet agreement that spells out everything. Do you accept dogs but not cats? Do you allow ferrets, chinchillas, etc.? You need to cover all of these pets in your lease and pet agreement.
- Number of pets allowed
- Types of pets
- Breeds allowed
- Breeds not allowed
- Non-refundable pet fee (not deposit!!!)
- Monthly pet fee
- What happens if they have more pets than allowed, a breed not allowed, damage to the house, etc.
A good pet agreement will include a picture and description of the pet(s). I have had tenants that lived in a rental for years and the original pet either died or they added another pet or two (or three). Maintenance usually ends up calling me and telling me that there are new animals or too many animals.
You should go over this pet agreement with every single tenant. Look the tenant in the eyes as you explain it. Impress upon them that this is a legally binding agreement and you will enforce it!
Pets In Your Rental That You didn’t Approve
When you find an illegal pet, pull your lease and your pet agreement and include it with your Cease and Desist letter or lease violation letter. Be sure and enforce your rules at all times. Be prepared to evict the tenant.
Pets are loved by a lot of people. Many tenants are great pet owners and take care of the pet and the property. Some damage is inevitable but as I said before, if you do not allow pets, the tenant will usually just sneak them in. Have rules and policies, enforce them and then quit worrying about it.
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