Guide to Renting to Tenants with Pets
As a landlord, it may seem anxiety-inducing to rent to pet owners for various reasons. There may be damage and noise by having pets inside the rental unit. However, by being open-minded and seeing the positive side, you’d find that most pet owners are responsible. They’re bound to ensure discipline for their pets and have respect for the property and other inhabitants around the rental premises.
Benefits of Renting to Pet Owners
If your property is pet-friendly, you’re bound to enjoy the advantages of welcoming pets. Here are just a few of them:
- High demand for tenant occupancy
Fewer pet-friendly rentals are available so this means your property will rarely be vacated. Prospective tenants jump at the chance of renting a unit that allows their furry companion.
- More long-term renters
Since it’s challenging to find pet-welcoming rentals, pet owners tend to stay for a long time in a rental unit. This reduces the need for time and money spent on marketing your property.
- Likely to have responsible and high-quality tenants
Given that pet ownership entails more responsibility, pet owners are more likely to respect the rental policies. They also avoid the risk of being evicted from the property since only fewer pet-friendly rentals exist.
Outlining Pet Restrictions
Permitting your tenants to have pets is not something you can decide on a whim. It will help you a great deal to outline certain pet restrictions. These are some of the following factors you can consider:
- What type of pets will you allow to stay in your rental unit?
- What physical boundaries will pets be restricted from crossing? Are there certain common areas where pets are not allowed?
- What type of responsibilities are pet owners expected to follow?
- What are the acceptable breed, size and number of pets that are welcomed at your property?
Tips for Accepting Pets
When you’ve made the decision to allow pets in your rental property, you can apply these tips to make the process smoother:
- Think through the type of pet that’s permitted in your rental unit. Remember, renters can own more than cats and dogs. To avoid conflict, be specific with your tenants on what is or is not allowed.
- Interview prospective tenants about their pet prior to permitting their pets in your property. It’s best to see the pet beforehand. This way, you can evaluate if the pet is disciplined. The more information you can obtain, the better.
- You can request that prospective renters provide a reference letter from a previous landlord or veterinarian. This will help vouch for the behavior of a pet, and it demonstrates the responsibility of the pet owner.
- Request for pet permits or licenses from prospective renters.
- Create and attach a separate pet policy clause to the original tenancy agreement.
- Check local statutes if there are regulations/limitations on the number of pets a renter is allowed to own. You can then set your own restrictions.
- As a safeguard against future property damage, you can request pet owners to pay for a pet damage deposit.
Even if your property is open to pet ownership, you still reserve the right to limit or restrict the pet-owning conditions. All pets are different so it’s best to assess each potential renter and the pet. It’s also advisable to gather information about the pets beforehand. Here are things you can ask prior to welcoming a new tenant and the pet:
- What kind of pets do you own? How many do you have?
- How long have you been a pet owner?
- Can you submit a pet reference from a former landlord or your pet’s veterinarian?
- Have your pets completed vaccinations? Are you consistent with annual vaccines? Is your pet free from ticks, fleas and worms?
- Who is the alternate caregiver of your pet when you’re not around?
- Has your pet been spayed or neutered?
- Is your pet trained in using a litter box?
- Is your pet exercised frequently? How often?
- What’s the length of time that your pet is left on its own? How does it react to being alone?
- Do you have any pet sitter in case you’re away?
- How does your pet act when surrounded by new people?
- Can you show licenses and permits for your pet?
- Has your pet undergone any official pet training (for dogs)?
Requesting a pet reference allows a landlord to gauge a prospective tenant’s sense of responsibility in terms of pet ownership. They can secure a written letter from a former landlord or veterinarian. However, keep in mind that new pet owners may not have a pet reference.
Pet reference letters from a former landlord can provide answers to these key questions:
- What type of pet did the potential renter own while living in your property?
- What kind of behavior did the pet exhibit while living in your rental unit?
- Were there property damages to your property caused by the pet?
- Was there ever a reported nuisance or disturbance incident (caused by the pet)?
- How long did the tenant stay in the property with the pet?
Meanwhile, pet reference letters from a veterinarian can yield answers to these key questions:
- How will the veterinarian rate the pet owner’s skill in taking care of the pet? Is the owner considered responsible?
- Is the tenant consistent with bringing the pet to annual checkups and immunized?
- Does the veterinarian consider the prospective renter’s pet to be well behaved?
It’s helpful to attach a pet clause to the property rental agreement. It will detail the conditions of pet responsibility to the potential tenants. By signing this pet clause, the tenant is legally bound to adhere to the set conditions contained in the lease.
Pet Damage Deposit
As a way to minimize property damage, the landlord can request a pet damage deposit from the potential tenant. This gives the landlord more peace of mind. Note that service animals are not considered to be pets. Thus, they’re exempted from the pet damage deposit collection.