Could your pet policy keep tenants away?
Updated: May 8
Before finding tenants for your property, you will have to decide on a pet policy. There are negatives to pets, such as the ability to cause damage to your property, but there are also positives to pets and a more liberal pet clause, including responsible pet owners who are great tenants. Everybody wants their business to flourish and have the most profitable income possible, but what if you are keeping tenants away with your strict rules?
Let’s see in this article if the pet policy can keep tenants away.
Risks of having a strict pet policy
All landlords should make sure they have a pet agreement or a pet policy clause listed in a tenancy agreement. Even if a tenant expresses that they have no interest in having pets, you should have your policy included in every lease, as you never know when a renter will change their mind and want to get a pet.
Many landlords allow tenants to keep pets in their rentals. They do so because they love pets or see benefits to their property, like a broader pool of tenants or reduced tenant turnover. That is because pet owners have fewer options when it comes to finding an affordable place to live. And just like allowing pets on your property can come with a risk, so is having an incredibly strict pet policy, as it turns more and more tenants away.
Pros of a pet-friendly property
Between 50% and 70% of renters say they own a pet and they are pet lovers. Therefore, if you make your property pet-friendly, you will have a larger group to choose from.
Pet owners are also known to have a higher income, according to some studies, and if the money goes towards paying more rent, then this can profit your business, too, while keeping both parties happy.
What should you do if your tenant has a pet without permission?
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they aren’t always a landlord’s best friend. One of the worst things you can imagine can actually happen when having a rigid no-pet rule in place. Your tenant got a pet without permission after specifically being told no. According to these San Diego property managers while everybody loves dogs and animals in general, this is not allowed under the current rental contract. This can cause the entire situation to become delicate, and now you aren’t sure what to do next.
Regardless of your feelings about pets in general, you must act decisively to ensure your property and income are not put at risk by your tenant’s pet. Though it might seem dramatic, the effects of having a dog or pet in a rental property without following the proper channels can be problematic.
Some lease agreements include detailed pet clauses that permit either a one-time pet fee or a daily charge for each day the illegal pet stays on the property. If your lease agreement has such a clause, you can send out a bill for these fees and a reminder that they will be applied until the situation is remedied. However, if you are unhappy with the tenant for sneaking a pet in when your lease agreement clearly forbids pets, you may have a case for eviction, which can be an unfortunate situation, especially for your business, in the long run.
How strict does a pet clause have to be?
Are you willing to allow the tenant to keep their pet? If so, you will want to get together with the tenant to sign a lease addendum. This lease addendum should cover the pet fees that will be charged on how many pets will be allowed at the property.
The purpose of this agreement is for the landlord to permit the tenant to keep a pet on the premises. In addition to this, the agreement contains information about the regulations to which the renter agrees regarding their pet. This document can contain the number of pets allowed, the breed, type, weight, color, and age.
The tenant is obligated to register the pet with the landlord and get this form approved by them. Both parties have to be aware of the conditions of the agreement in order to avoid possible issues or disputes. Make sure to communicate in detail with your tenant before having any agreement settled.
What about service animals?
In some cases, a tenant might get a service animal even though you have a no-pets policy. In this circumstance, you might be wondering if tenants are allowed to do this even if you haven’t given permission. Assistance animals must be allowed under the Fair Housing Act, more specifically, emotional support animals, therapy animals, and service animals will likely be allowed regardless of your pet policy because these animals are not considered to be pets.
Even if you have a no-pets policy, you cannot violate the housing rights of people who require assistance or service animal for their well-being. If you find yourself in this situation, you can ask for a note from their physician verifying their need for an assistance animal.
There is a need to understand the benefit of renting to long-term tenants who are pet owners, as long-term tenancy means that you are able to keep more of your income since tenant turnovers can be costly. If you decide to allow pets on your property for the benefit of your business, it can only aid you in having more options when it comes to choosing a potential tenant.
A property manager can help you with deciding what is best for you and your business and guide you through the process of doing what’s best for your line of work.
Get in touch with us today and learn more about our services.