Perfecting Your Tenant Pet Policy
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Perfecting Your Tenant Pet Policy

 
  Perfecting Your Tenant Pet Policy

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Many a landlord shuns tenants with pets due to the increasing likelihood of repairs or maintenance down the road. It’s also more of a burden on the landlord to rewrite the tenant pet agreement, thus accommodating such pets.
However, given the economy it’s wise as a landlord to keep an open mind to renters with pets. Many would-be tenants are more likely to seek out tenant pet agreements that allow them to keep their pets, rather than getting rid of them for a short-term living situation.
Vacancy rates aside, it's nonetheless easy to understand any landlord's reluctance to allow pets. Animals open a unit up to more potential damages and can cause noise and safety issues in a complex, not to mention a host of other problems that are often simply not worth the hassle. However, while there are a number of valid reasons to ban pets, there’s also a few good reasons to allow them; namely, it open up your potential pool of tenants and allows you to increase your rental rates.
Here are some considerations that can be used if you do decide to allow pets.

  • Include a pet deposit in the tenant pet agreement (if allowed by your state’s landlord-tenant laws). This can be anywhere from $100-$300, and depending on your local laws, may need to be held in escrow.
  • Include a special clause in the tenant pet agreement allowing the tenant to keep pets.
  • Be sure to set and communicate clear expectations in terms of upkeep of their animal/s.
  • Establish guidelines for following up on complaints from neighbors if they occur.
  • Set a maximum number of pets allowed per apartment (two is standard).
  • Be sure to define exactly what types of pets are allowed, and which ones are not allowed.

In closing, if you do allow pets you’ll most likely lower your vacancy rates and exploit a new tenant population in need of housing. Also, there are websites such as DogHouseProperties.com or PeopleWithPets.com, in which you can post your pet-friendly rental listing to increase visibility with pet owners. EzLandlordForms.com also has an editable Tenant Pet Agreement, which can be signed between the landlord and tenant.
Brian manages EZ Landlord Forms, an online provider of state landlord-tenant law information, free lease agreements, free lease application forms, a tenant pet agreement, a directory of real estate investment clubs, and a variety of other landlord resources.

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