For many tenants, pets are a part of the family, and that’s why landlords have a better chance of renting their properties quickly if they allow pets. Some landlords hesitate because they worry about pet damage and potential liability. These are understandable concerns, but vacancy costs can often be a lot more expensive than any damage a pet can do. As long as you have a solid pet policy in place, you can allow good tenants with pets into your rental property.
Collect Pet Fees and Deposits
When you allow a tenant to move in with a pet, make sure you collect a pet fee or a pet deposit on top of the regular security deposit that is paid. Some landlords elect to ask for a non-refundable pet fee that is paid before the lease starts. Other landlords take a refundable pet deposit that is returned to the tenant once you have inspected the property and verified that no pet damage was done. You also have the option to collect pet rent every month in addition to the tenant’s regular rental payment. Whatever your terms are for deposits and fees, make sure you include them in your lease.
Screen the Pets
You can screen the pets that your tenant wants to bring into the property. For example, maybe you’ll decide to accept dogs that are 50 pounds or less. It’s always a good idea to ask for vaccine records and documentation from a vet that the animal is healthy. Make sure you avoid any dangerous breeds that your insurance company will refuse to cover.
Document the Pet in Your Property
Before your tenants and their pets move in, make sure you either meet the pet or get a picture of the pet. This way, you can be sure that the pet you have agreed to is the pet that’s living in your property.
It’s also important that you understand the difference between a pet and a service animal. When a tenant with a disability has a medical or emotional need for an animal, you cannot treat it as a pet.
Renting to tenants with pets is a good idea, as long as you have a good pet policy in place. If you need help adding such a policy to your lease, please contact us at Orlando Realty & Property Management.