Tenant expectations: what landlords should demand?

Americans love their pets. According to a report from Spots.com, a whopping 67% of American households, or some 84.9 million American families, own at least one pet. It almost goes without saying that it would be unwise for landlords to exclude pets altogether.


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When to accept or not to accept pets?

There is no hard and fast rule for this, but in general you should always accept pets in homes. One of the main reasons people choose to rent houses instead of apartments is because they want to take Rex and Felix with them.

Excluding renters with pets would reduce the number of potential renters available to rent your property. As basic economics tells us, when demand falls, so does price (ie rent). (Or worse, the property just remains empty.)

With apartments it is a bit more difficult. A noisy dog ​​can scare off co-tenants or prospective tenants, especially if it’s an older apartment with thin walls. You also don’t want hallways full of dogs and cats (or iguanas and snakes) wandering everywhere and leaving their calling card to boot. Use your judgment based on your ownership and management style.

How many and what types of pets?

Dogs and cats are by far the most common types of pets that humans have. In the United States alone, there are nearly 90 million dogs and 95 million cats.

In general, I’d recommend accepting requests from renters for other small animals like fish, gerbils, or hamsters (which they probably won’t even tell you about). However, I would generally shy away from less common or exotic pets like pigs, rabbits, etc. You can make exceptions if you want.

Legal Considerations

Of course, there are some legal points to keep in mind. First and foremost, if someone has a guide dog, guide dog, or service animal, the Fair Housing Act requires a landlord to accept that pet (and not ask for a deposit). This applies to anyone who “has a disability-related need for a service animal”.

It’s less clear with ’emotional support animals’. According to ADA.gov, “animals that provide comfort just by being with a person” are not considered service animals. Laws vary from state to state regarding a landlord’s obligation to people with emotional support animals, so it’s important to check with your local laws to make sure you’re following them.

Pet References

Your renter application should include a spot about pets so you can make a decision before sitting down to sign the lease. The rental agreement itself must have a rider (a separate form on its own page) that lists each pet, along with its breed and estimated weight, and is signed by all parties. Of course you want everything in writing.

You may want to consider requesting a “pet reference” from previous landlords or a vet if you want to be a little more forgiving or learn more about the animals in question.

As for how many pets, there is no perfect answer. But the principle to work with is that pets cause harm and can cause problems, so there is such a thing as too much. We accept a maximum of three pets in a house, usually two in a duplex side by side, and one cat in apartments.

Pet deposits and pet rental

Pets cause property damage. Dogs are great, but for some reason they love to chew on blinds. So it is important to charge a pet deposit and monthly pet rental.

How much to load?

We charge a $250 non-refundable security deposit for pets and $25 per month per pet. This is of course only our policy. You can choose different numbers, but the key is to charge both a pet deposit and pet rental. Otherwise you just have extra repairs on your hands.

While there is no way to accurately state the damage caused by pets, we believe that we basically even pay the pet rent/deposits. The big advantage is that by allowing pets, we open up our properties to many more potential tenants. But we don’t want to access a larger pool of tenants if it just means incurring additional damages that we have to pay out of pocket.

Hidden pets

Sometimes people want to have their dog and cat and not pay their landlord for it.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have your maintenance technicians write down any unauthorized pets when they perform work orders or routine maintenance inspections. If they find an unauthorized pet, you must notify the renter and require them to sign a pet driver, pay the deposit and begin paying the pet rent, and give them a rental violation and fine if your state laws allow it. to allow.

Dealing with pet complaints

Pet complaints from co-tenants (or neighbours) are persistent and one of the reasons we don’t accept dogs in our apartment complexes. Most complaints come in verbally, for which we require that they put the complaint on paper. Most people don’t care enough to actually do that, but if they do make a written complaint, we discuss it with the resident.

The first time is just a warning. The second is a violation and third, we consider a breach of contract (by the way, put this policy in your rental contract). Fortunately, it will rarely go that far.

Americans love their pets and therefore, in order to offer the best possible product, it generally makes sense to accept pets in your rental. But there is more than that. It is important to establish and adhere to a pet policy. And make sure you are compensated with pet rental and a pet deposit for the damage that is sure to happen.

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