Today at DeGuire Paperless Property Management, we are talking about pets and why it’s important to allow pets and have a strong pet policy or agreement in place. Over 75 percent of the people looking to lease property have pets, and most of them consider these pets part of the family. The American Pet Product Association estimates that there are now 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats in the U.S. So if you choose not to allow pets in your rental property, you’re limiting your exposure with a whole pool of tenants. You may need to accept a lower rent and you may need to prepare for a longer vacancy. If you do decide you just don’t want pets, make sure you never decline a service animal. These are not considered pets because they help a person with a disability. They are therefore not required to pay pet deposits.
Have a strong pet agreement in place. Make sure you charge a pet fee or a pet deposit and limit the number of animals allowed on the property. The tenant needs to know the rules, regulations and all the requirements that you have for pets. It might be a good idea to accept only dogs and cats. Stay away from birds, exotic animals and reptiles. Have proper pet identification and make sure all the vaccinations are up to date. You want to have copies on file in case there is an accident and you can prove you required current vaccinations.
It’s also a good idea to include a disclosure form with your lease. Have the tenant check off “yes” or “no” to questions about whether the animal shows signs of aggression or ever bit or injured someone. This disclosure will demonstrate you did your due diligence while checking out the pet.
You can pick which animals you want to allow in your property. Choose acceptable dog breeds and stay away from aggressive breeds. There is no law requiring you to accept all kinds of dogs. Fair housing is for humans, not pets. Communicate the rules and regulations to your tenant and follow up with routine inspections so you know the property is being protected.
When you have a good, qualified tenant in the home, that tenant will usually be a responsible pet owner. If you have any questions about pets and pet agreements, please contact us at DeGuire Paperless Property Management.