Renting to tenants with pets can be a lucrative marketing strategy for landlords. There are plenty of benefits associated with being a pet-friendly rental. You can increase your income by collecting pet deposits, pet fees, or pet rent. You can also appeal to a wider range of prospective tenants.
Realistically, welcoming pets comes with possible risks such as dealing with property damage, more frequent cleanings, and pet odors. This, however, shouldn’t be a deterrent to accepting tenants with pets.
If you want to learn about ways you minimize the risks you’ll encounter as a rental that welcomes pets, keep on reading!
Add Terms and Conditions for Pets in the Lease
Come up with sensible pet policies. Incorporate this into your pet addendum in the leasing contract. Having pet policies limits the risks associated with accommodating pet owners in your rental property. Being specific with pet policies encourages the tenants to adhere to the agreement.
See to it that the tenants sign the pet agreement. Even if currently, the renter doesn’t own a pet, it might change in the future.
List Type of Pets Allowed
As the landlord of an Idaho rental property, you should prepare a specific list of what types of pets are permitted in your rental home. For example, noting whether you allow cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, hamsters, fishes, turtles, and/ or small reptiles? In addition, you must also inform the renter how many pets they can keep in the rental unit.
The following are details to include in the lease agreement:
- Selected Dog Breeds – As the landlord, you may choose to impose breed restrictions. This can be a subject for contention as some argue that the breed doesn’t matter as long as the dog is well-trained. However, some dog breeds are exempted from policy coverage since they’re labeled as dangerous. Therefore, it’s best to also check with the policies of insurance firms.
- Weight Limits – Landlords may also opt to impose weight limits on dogs. They might be more open to smaller breeds only to stay in the property.
- Set Pet Ownership to Tenants Only – In the pet addendum, it’s important to specify whether the renter can foster a pet or not. You also need to be clear on whether or not you’d permit them to have guests with pets who are staying for a short vacation.
Require Pet Approval
You can require that tenants seek your approval of their pets before allowing them into your property. This will help ensure your peace of mind, as you’ll be aware of the temperament of the animal and how responsible the owner is.
Before pet approval, conduct a pet screening and consider the following:
- How long the owner has had the pet
- Whether the pet has a history of causing property damage
- If there is a caretaker of the pet when the tenant is not around
It must be understood by the tenants that pet approval is conditional. As long as the terms and conditions for pet ownership are honored then the pet can stay. When a violation of the policies occurs then the landlord can ask the tenant to find an alternative home for the pet. Otherwise, the lease can be terminated if the offenses pile up.
Require Proper Identification, Licenses, and Vaccinations
Tenants must be able to comply with the requirement of keeping identification labels on their pets. Proof must also be submitted that the pets have undergone vaccinations and have been licensed.
Ensure that Tenants Maintain Responsibility For their Pets
Tenants should be clear on their duties as pet owners. Their pets must be well-disciplined and cause no stress to other tenants. They should practice cleanliness and pick up after their pets. This should not be limited to inside the rental unit but also include the common areas.
Pets should also be supervised constantly and never left outdoors without a caretaker. Landlords can also request tenants to subscribe to liability insurance.
Ensure that the Pet Agreement is Flexible
Pet policies can evolve. You might want to add and remove certain conditions. For instance, you may limit the number of pets you permit in your rental but you might change your mind and want to allow your tenants to own more than one pet.
To allow this flexibility, you can stipulate that the pet terms can be amended by the landlord anytime. Proper notice will need to be given though. A 1 month notice period is standard.
Charge a Pet Fee
Aside from the security deposit, landlords can also collect a pet fee. This can be used to cover pet damages. Be aware that while you can charge this fee, you want to ensure that it’s set reasonably otherwise it could deter tenants from signing the lease.
Note that under the Fair House Act landlords are not allowed to ask for a pet deposit or pet fee from a tenant who owns a service or companion animal. They’re not categorized as pets since their function is to support a person with a disability.
Consider a Grandfather Clause when it Comes to Changing Policies
This means that current tenants are not required to follow a new pet rule for their existing pets. Only if they have new pets are they liable to comply with the policy change. This is known as a ‘grandfather clause.’ Having a grandfather clause can help eliminate the source of disagreement and negative feedback on the new pet policy.
Renting to tenants with pets allows you to make your vacant listings more competitive, draw in a wider pool of prospects, and can help increase your income. While there are some risks associated with it, there are also plenty of options at your disposal to help mitigate them.
If you would like help drafting a lease agreement or managing your rentals reach out to the qualified team at Realty Management Associates today!