Just like protecting yourself from bad tenants, doing your due diligence when it comes to allowing pets on your property will help protect you from possible damages and extra expenses that are associated with having animals. By defining your pet policy in writing from the very beginning, your tenants will understand what is expected of them as pet owners, as well as the consequences if they do not follow the rules.
It’s the best choice to have a well-crafted pet policy in place so that your tenants know what to expect. But how do you set up one? Let’s continue reading to find out.
What Pets Are Allowed
First and foremost, your pet policy should specify what types of pets are allowed on the premises. This means stating details such as how many, what types, and even the size and weight. Specifying the maximum limit will help you stop your pet-lover tenants from adopting a crazy amount of furry friends and risking the potential damages associated with that.
You can be more specific when it comes to dogs and you also may want to consider looking through the dangerous breeds list. This list will vary, so check with your insurance company. These breeds can include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, etc. On the other hand, there are some breeds that are renter-friendly that you can include such as Poodles and Pomeranians which are small and also hypoallergenic.
If you don’t want to ban specific breeds, you have another option of creating a weight requirement, for example, no more than 35 lbs or taller than 20 inches. This will allow you to exclude many of the dangerous breeds without being precise about it.
What To Ask The Pet Owners
Just like when you are selecting your tenant, you should screen the pets that come onto your property. Some questions you can ask your prospect are:
- if they are trained
- whether their pet is friendly or not
- how old the pet is
- if it ever bit someone
- if the animal has the proper vaccination license
- and whatever else you are interested in finding out
To verify information regarding breed, height, weight, or anything else from the above list, we recommend you ask them to bring their furry friend along. If you have put a size restriction in place and they turn up with a Great Dane then you may need to reconsider the tenant’s application. And secondly, that way, you can easily tell how trained the pet is or if it’s aggressive.
Pet Extra Fees And Deposits
According to these Oahu property managers, one reasonably common method landlords use to protect themselves from pet damage pets is to get their renters to pay a fee for having their pet on the property. Most tenants understand why and are happy enough to pay if they get to keep their pets with them. Usually, these fees consist of the renter paying around 30-50 USD extra.
If your state allows you to charge a separate pet fee in addition to the security deposit, determining the cost may depend on a variety of factors, including the type of pet, size, and value of the property. Many areas have laws that allow landlords to retain this “deposit” whether or not damage occurs. In these cases, the nonrefundable deposit is known as a pet fee. The reasoning for this is that pets increase the normal wear and tear on an apartment, whether or not it’s noticeable.
We’ve established that a pet deposit or pet fee is a one-time payment, but other landlords opt for a recurring monthly charge known as pet rent. This, like a pet fee, is intended to cover extra wear and tear that may occur due to the presence of an animal on your property. It also accounts for damage on the surrounding property, like hallways, common areas, or yard and park maintenance. What a pet owner can pay per month for this pet rent adds up to around 20 dollars.
Respect The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act is a Federal Act that protects people from discrimination in housing due to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Generally, a person is protected by the Fair Housing Act if they have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
An emotional support animal can provide emotional support to a person with a disability to help alleviate the symptoms of their health status, and because of this, an emotional support animal is not considered a pet.
Since emotional support animals are not "pets," the Act will usually require the landlord to make an exception to its "no pet" policy as a reasonable accommodation to enable a person with a disability to keep their emotional support animal so that they can fully use and enjoy the dwelling.
Do not ask for a pet deposit or fee from a tenant who keeps a service or companion animal. Such animals aren’t pets, and they fall under the Fair Housing Act, as they are animals needed to accommodate a disability.
Having a solid pet policy in place is an important first step in protecting your rental from the potential damage that can be caused by animals. What goes into your pet policy really comes down to you, so carefully weigh the pros and cons of allowing pets into your rentals as well as understand best practices for setting a pet policy.
Having a property manager by your side while deciding how to set up this pet policy can be of great help. They are experienced professionals who know the law inside and out and can aid you in crafting a well-written pet policy without feeling like you might be forgetting something.
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