There are many variables to consider when it comes to owning a pet-friendly apartment. Before you embark on a mission to turn your rental property pet-friendly, it’s a good idea to make sure you and your property are legally protected first.
The best way to ensure you are protected is by including an agreement within each lease contract that explains your policies. Here are some policies you should consider including in your pet-friendly apartment lease contract:
You may want to charge a pet deposit fee upfront. Animals add wear and tear to an apartment, and a fee can help offset the expenses required to repair pet damage. However, you will need to make sure that your state allows pet deposits. Some states have a set limit to how much a landlord can charge for security deposits of any sort. You may want to consider charging a slightly higher rental price instead. This can also help alleviate any expenses incurred due to pets in the property.
Be sure to specify what type of pets you’ll allow renters to have in your property. You may only want to allow small dogs or cats. Or you may be fine with other standard pets such as hamsters, fish, guinea pigs, turtles, rats, and lizards. Some landlords like to set a weight limit for pets. Pet-friendly doesn't necessarily have to mean all pets.
A little research can help you determine which pets you’re okay with your tenants having in their rental. You can also choose to include a pet screening process in the contract. This would allow you to ask your tenant some specific questions about their pets before approving them.
During the screening process, you can ask questions about how their pets behave around other people or how long they’ve had their pets. You can also find out how old they are, whether they have caused problems or damage to other rental properties in the past, where they got their pets and whether they are healthy. When performing a pet screening, keep in mind that some insurance companies will not offer liability policies for what they consider, “dangerous breeds”.
It’s important to specify how many pets your pet, your tenants are allowed to have. Also, how many. More animals in the rental can increase the risk of damage to your property. Plus, too many pets can increase health risks. You’ll also want to make it clear that tenants are not allowed to take care of other people’s animals. Be certain that the language in your pet agreement is clear. By doing so, your tenant knows that if they ever violate the terms, you'll have legal grounds to terminate their lease.
Make sure your renters know that all cats and dogs have to wear identification tags or collars, which include proof of current vaccinations. It’s important to know your local ordinances in regards to pet licenses and vaccinations. Make sure all your tenants comply and can share proof, such as a receipt from the vet. It may be a good idea to require that all your tenants’ pets are microchipped as well. This can make it easier to find animals who escape before they cause any problems for other tenants.
Your contract needs to have clear rules about tenant responsibility in regard to keeping pets under tight control. One of the most important parts of leasing a pet-friendly space is informing renters they should clean up any messes made by their pets. This includes the inside of their apartment, as well as all common areas.
Tenants should not be allowed to leave pets unattended outside. Likewise, pets that are meant to be kept in cages or tanks should stay in them. It’s important that your renters know they cannot let their pets disturb other tenants. It might be a smart idea to require your tenants to carry renters’ liability insurance that covers pet damage if your state allows it.
With more families owning pets these days, making the decision to allow pets in your rental property can be a very smart choice financially. By allowing animals, you can increase your pool of potential renters and increase your yearly income at the same time. Just make sure to have a well-written pet agreement within your rental contract that clearly states all rules involving pets.
If you know that you want to take the steps to make your rental property pet-friendly, but you need extra assistance in managing your property, Blueground can help. We screen tenants and manage your property for you. We maximize the property's annual yield and guarantee a steady cash-flow. Also, we offer flexible contracts that can be released on short notice. Plus, we handle all maintenance issues in a highly professional manner.