How to make sure your furry tenants are held accountable

Pets are a part of life with 65% of homes owning dogs and 43% having cats. You can count on many of your tenants having their furry friends join them when leasing units. Unfortunately, pets can also cause damage to the unit, exterior spaces of the property and even liability issues depending on the temperament of the animal. Here are a few tips when setting your pet policies and the best way to handle the financial aspect of pet fees and/or rent.

  • To Allow Pets or Not: Not allowing pets can seriously affect the marketability of your unit. As stated above, 67% of households have pets, reducing your audience by over half! If you do have a high-end property where you have the ability to set the pet policy, it is in your best interest to have certain restrictions that ensure the preservation of your unit, the safety of your community, and accessibility to your tenants.
  • Pet Restrictions: The best way to curb a building full of pets is to implement restrictions. You can limit the amount of animals per unit, have breed restrictions that prohibit certain breeds that are known to be especially hostile or protective, and weight limits help protect noise complaints and damage done to your carpet or hardwood floors. It is also paramount to collect vaccination records in case of an incident on your property.
  • Pet Fees: One way to cover the cost of potential damages is to charge residents an initial pet fee or monthly pet rent. Pet fees are usually more beneficial for long-term tenants, as they pay approximately $150-$300 per pet at the beginning of their initial term and nothing more during the renewal process. For better gains and financial assurance of damage coverage, you can charge a monthly pet fee (usually around $15/month). This fee never expires and can also add additional revenues if your unit comes out unscathed.
  • The ESA Animal: According ADA laws, landlords cannot turn down Emotional Support Animals, not can you charge a fee. If you do have a tenant that needs an ESA animal, make sure to collect the vet records, a letter from their medical provider stating their need for a service animal, and documentation from a valid certifier of ESA pets.

To allow pets or not is ultimately an owner’s decision and no one else’s;. However, it is possible to let tenants have pets while making sure your building stays in tip-top shape. If you set specific restrictions, charge pet fees or rent accordingly, and keep excellent records, allowing pets on your property should be no issue.