Over 70 percent of people own at least one pet, which means you should absolutely allow pets in your rental property. If you’re a first time landlord, you may be worried about the potential damage an animal can cause. However, you can mitigate that risk by putting a sound pet policy into place.
Allowing Pets and Avoiding Vacancy
When you don’t allow pets, you will probably have a longer vacancy period than landlords who do allow pets. You’ll limit your tenant pool dramatically, and there will be fewer qualified applicants from which to choose. That vacancy time will cost you money. Renters aren’t going to leave their pets behind for the perfect home. They’ll simply go somewhere else. Or, they’ll lie and tell you they don’t have pets. Then, they’ll sneak their furry friends into the property after the lease is signed. You won’t have a deposit for that pet, and when you find out, you’ll need to enforce your lease and potentially evict your tenants.
Collect a Pet Deposit
To protect your property, you need to screen pets and collect appropriate pet deposits. At Liberty Management, our plan covers owners for up to $1,000 in potential pet damage. This means we’re careful about the pets we approve. We screen for dangerous breeds, a history of aggression, and we maintain shot records. A pet deposit will give your tenants the incentive to take care of your property and prevent their pet from damaging it. You cannot charge a tenant for the wear and tear left behind by children, but you can charge for pet damage.
Service and Emotional Support Animals
Service animals and emotional support animals are not legally considered pets, and you cannot collect pet deposits or deny qualified tenants who have service and support animals. It’s important that you understand emotional support animal laws, and it’s even more important that you follow them. This is a fair housing issue, and you can find yourself in a lot of trouble if you make a mistake with service animals.
It’s always a good idea to approve a well-screened pet for your property. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at Liberty Management, Inc.