Landlord Tips: What You Need to Know About Pets

Are you on the fence about allowing pets in your Concord rental properties? It can be a tough decision, depending on your personal preference as a landlord. 

Pets can cause damage to properties and create a noise a problem for other tenants or nearby neighbors. On the other hand, when you allow pets into your properties, you widen your pool of available tenants. You might find that the perfect tenant has an adorable, faithful dog—or cat.

Accepting pets has its benefits for landlords, but it's also not without some challenges. Let's look at the pros and cons of allowing pets in your rental properties. 

The Benefit of Pets

The truth is, most landlords would gladly take a quality tenant with a pet versus a bad tenant without a pet.

A child petting a cat with a woman

As we already mentioned, when you aren't open to allowing any pets in your properties, you also restrict your options when it comes to potential tenants. Many Millennial renters have pets. Retired renters also often have pets to keep them company. When you have a no-pet policy, you exclude many tenants from these two life stages.

According to surveys, about 70-75% of renters own pets. Many pet owners struggle to find apartments or rental homes that allow pets. When they find one, they want to stay as long as they can.

You're likely to see an increase in renewals when you allow pet-owning tenants. This is good news since pet owners typically make good tenants. 

Pet owners take good care of their pets. They are likely to also take good care of your property. When you have fewer tenant options, you risk having to select from the best of the worst available tenants—and that can be an expensive choice.

However, if you still struggle with the idea of potential damage from a tenant's pet, remember your pet deposit. This should be required from all pet owners. The pet deposit helps cover the cost of deep cleaning and repairs caused by pets.  

When you work with pet owners, you'll find they appreciate your help making a home for them and their pets.

When You Can Be Choosy

Allowing pets in your properties doesn't mean you have to allow "all" pets. 

Set limits and criteria for the pets you'll allow. Develop a pet policy that applies to all tenants. 

Several different animal species standing near each other

  • Choose a size limit for pets (for instance, no pets that weigh more than 25 pounds)
  • Note which pet breeds you'll allow (if snakes are a problem for you, don't allow them)
  • Require a Pet Screening application as part of your tenant application process. 
  • Require vet records, current vaccinations, and ask about the behavior history of the pet. If the animal has a history of aggression, it might not be safe for you or other tenants.

Make sure pet owners understand the rules. 

  • Pick up after their pets. 
  • Pay the pet deposit. 
  • If maintenance is required in the rental, they must lock their pets away for safety. 
  • Honor any requirements outlined in the pet addendum to their lease agreement. 

Make sure your pet criteria is the same for all pet owners. Be sure you don't discriminate against a tenant or potential renter based on the pet they own. 

When You Can't Be Choosy

Service animals and emotional support animals are exceptions to any pet policy. 

If a tenant requires a service animal, landlords must allow these animals in the property. It's a violation of the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) to refuse to let a service animal into your property if requested. 

However, a tenant can't falsely claim that their dog is a service animal. A tenant also can't claim that their pet duck is a service duck. 

The certification of Service Dog is reserved for dogs that are specifically trained to perform tasks that an individual cannot do for themselves. 

"Service" could be anything from guiding the person, retrieving dropped items, and alerting someone to an oncoming seizure.

Tread lightly when it comes to service animals. Avoid privacy violations or the appearance of discriminatory practices. 

However, you can ask for verification when you receive a request to accommodate a service animal. Proof can include a copy of a doctor’s letter stating that this service or support animal is necessary for the tenant. 

When to Ask For Help With Pets

If you're considering allowing pets in your Concord area properties, help is available. Use a property management company to help you decide if allowing pets in your properties will benefit your rental property business. 

A professional property manager will also know how to put together a pet policy, outline criteria for your properties, and work through pet screenings. All County Property Management knows how to handle pets, pet owners, and pet policies!

Don't leave Fido and his owner out in the elements. Contact us to get started on your pet policy!  

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