pet policy for renters

Creating a Pet Policy for Renters

April 12, 2022

Many landlords can be pretty skeptical when it comes to allowing pets in their rental. This is because they have the potential to cause damage or harm someone else. Therefore, as a landlord, you must have a comprehensive pet policy for renters. This way you can avoid any lawsuits from dog bites or property damage due to a destructive pet.

So, how about setting some ground rules for your tenants involving pets? If you don’t know where to start, here’s a guide on how to establish a thorough pet policy for your renters. Let’s begin.

How to Create a Pet Policy for Renters

Specify Which Pets Are Allowed

So, the first thing you need to do is clarify which pets are allowed! You need to specify everything from size, how many, and which kinds. Some common household pets include a cat, dog, fish, bird, rabbit, gerbil, hamster, and reptile.

It’s critical to specify the maximum number of pets allowed, such as one cat or dog or only two gerbils. You need to make it clear that your tenants must run it by you before purchasing another pet. You can avoid any unauthorized pets by performing regularly scheduled inspections.

If your tenants are dog owners, you’ll need to be very specific on the type of breed that’s allowed.

Here’s a list of what’s considered a dangerous breed:

  • Rottweilers
  • Pit Bulls
  • Chows
  • Dobermanns 
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Akitas
  • German Shepherds
  • And more 

Talk with your insurance company first to establish which dog breeds aren’t covered under your rental property insurance.

Make Sure Your Tenants Are Responsible for Their Pets

As a pet owner, you’re responsible for your furry friend. Such as you need to make sure they’re taken care of, cleaned up after, don’t cause damage to someone else’s property, etc.

So, as a landlord, you need to hold your tenants accountable when it comes to their pets. It’s your property after all!

You’ll need to check the laws set by your state to determine the requirements regarding pet vaccination.

Some of the various tenant responsibilities should include:

  • Putting your pet on a leash outside
  • Clean up after them both inside and outside
  • Tenant will have to pay for any pet-related damages
  • Animals such as hamsters, gerbils, reptiles, rabbits, and birds must be caged

Include a Pet Screening as Part of Your Pet Policy

Screening pets that enter your property should be a crucial step in your pet policy. Of course, you can’t run a background check on a pet like you can their owner, but you can ask the potential tenant some questions.

For example, some important questions to ask are:

  • Has the dog ever bitten anyone?
  • Is the dog house trained?
  • Have they ever caused property damage?
  • Who takes care of the pet when you aren’t home?
  • How does your dog do with other animals? 
  • Is the pet up-to-date on their shots? 
  • Does your dog shed? 
  • Is the dog aggressive?

Include a Pet Fee in Your Pet Policy

A common way to protect yourself in case someone’s pet causes property damage is by requiring a pet fee. Oftentimes these fees range from $100 to $300. Typically, this is a one-time fee charged upon signing a lease and is non-refundable.

Over time, pets do cause wear and tear on a property, so most tenants are understanding and willing to pay the fee.

Summing Up

So, if you’re a landlord you need to create an in-depth pet policy. This way your protected and so is your property.

The given tips can help minimize the chances of a pet biting someone or causing damage to your property, which benefits both parties in the long run!