Pets or no Pets in a Rental

May 18, 2017

Every advertisement we do for a property always has a line regarding the pet policy for the unit.

When we take on a property to manage, one of the questions we ask owners is, will you allow pets? They often ask me my opinion on what I would recommend.

Now, mind you, I love cats and dogs, and birds, fish and especially goats. Most people love animals as well, but have different ideas when it comes to renting their property out with those freshly painted walls and newly installed floors. The expense to make a house really nice for now and in the future, can be ruined by one pet left alone in the house all day, or a kitty who continues to miss the litter box.

This reminds me of a lovely couple who had a female kitty who was named the Fluffy Princess. The owners told me that her highness was very clean and not destructive in the least. When I went to do walk-throughs, the house always smelled lovely, like flowers and fancy perfume. When the tenants left, I saw that air fresheners were plugged in through-out the house. When I went to open the upstairs closet, Holy Mackerel!! They must have kept Princess Purr-Purr’s litter box in there. It was apparent that she rarely did her business “in” the box (probably didn’t want her feet to get sooty).  The carpet was ruined through and through, down to the sub flooring which had to be removed. The mess ran into the drywall and base board leaving a very expensive and time consuming repair which came out of the tenant’s deposit as well as added vacancy time for the owner.

On the other hand, I’ve had a couple of kitty’s that were perfect angels as the owners were vigilant about taking care of the mess on a regular basis. When they left, you never knew cats had even lived there.

When I answer an owner’s question on whether or not pets should be allowed, I let them know the potential risks to their property. I also let them know that people and families have pets and feel that they are part of their family.  Having a No Pet Policy could leave the property vacant on the market for a longer period of time.

If the property owners decide to go ahead and rent the property allowing pets, we always ask for an additional deposit to cover the risk of having a pet do damage. We also ask that the tenant sign a Pet Addendum, which covers many subjects and possible damages a pet could do, and requires the tenant to do the repairs at their own expense while they are still in the property, or at the very least, before the end of their tenancy.

As far as dogs go, we ask that the prospective tenant to bring the dog in for us to meet. We learned this after thinking it was okay to rent to this nice lady with a dog who was thoroughly vetted. We called her prior landlord for a reference and was told that the dog was great. Evidentially, he never met “Kujo”. After torn screens, toenail scraped doors and frightened workmen, the tenant was asked to find a new home.

It is also very important, if you decide to rent to those with dogs that you check with your insurance company on what breeds of dogs that may invalidate your coverage should an incident occur. The animal shelter is full of pit bulls right now partly due to the reluctance of owners to rent to people with this particular breed. Now, your pit bull may be the best and the sweetest, but with all the stories on the news of incidents of mauling’s, it is understandable why owners won’t take the risk. Pit bulls are not the only aggressive breed, and it is wise to educate yourself on the risk as both a tenant and an owner when you are looking for a pet.

If you are an owner who feels that a little family dog is acceptable with an additional deposit, and you have thought through the pros and cons, than great!

Many people love their pets like children and would never think of separating from them. There are people who take excellent care of their pets and homes and it’s a shame if everyone who owned a rental property had a No Pets policy. If you are leaning towards renting to those with pets, I would advise you to meet the dog, to make sure it is well mannered.  I am always happy to receive a nice letter of recommendation from a past tenant and a certificate of training for their dog. It shows that they are going the extra mile to let us know that they have a well- mannered pet.  If you decide to rent to a tenant with pets, make sure that an additional pet deposit is taken to insure against damage. Tenants also need to be respectful of the home they are renting and understand that having a pet is a joy and a responsibility which can be costly if damage is done.

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