Should My Rental Lease Include a Pet Policy?
Today we’re talking about pet policies and how you should protect your property from the damage and liability that can come with pets. Many landlords ask us if they should allow pets and our answer is always: Yes. A lot of people have animals and a large percentage of renters looking for homes want to be able to move into a property that allows pets. If you say you won’t allow dogs and cats, you’re eliminating a large portion of your potential tenant pool.
Allowing pets will give you more tenants to choose from, but you must manage that pet relationship. Use a pet lease that sets out all the requirements of the tenant and the pet. State clearly what is allowed and what is not allowed. This is your opportunity to list the size of the pet and the breed.
It’s always necessary to collect a pet deposit in addition to the regular security deposit. A lot of people grumble about this requirement, but it’s necessary. It protects your property and guarantees that your tenant and the tenant’s pet will behave. At ASPM, we usually make the deposit half refundable. At the end of the lease, we keep half of that deposit to use for a deep cleaning. Even if the place is left spotless, we want to really clean the carpets and the surfaces to eliminate all the pet odors. The other half of the pet deposit is given back to the tenant if there is no damage left behind from the pet.
Another thing we recommend is to take a picture of the pet during your walk through with the tenant. This provides you with proof that the animal is the size and breed that the tenant told you it was. A lot of times, landlords will be surprised to see a 200-pound dog in an apartment. Having documentation that demonstrates what the pet looks like, you can guard against tenants changing pets.
Pets are a good way to increase the tenant population as well as rental income. You can charge tenants an extra $50 for pet rent, and that provides an additional source of income.
If you have any questions about pets and how to develop a pet policy, please contact us at Advanced Solutions Property Management.
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