Pets in a Rental Property: How to Set Up Your Lease Agreement

Pets in a Rental Property: How to Set Up Your Lease Agreement

More than 70% of people looking to rent apartments have pets. 

By allowing pets in a rental property, you could fill vacancies faster and appeal to a wider audience. But it's essential to understand what to put in your lease to let tenants know what your pet policy is and how to follow it. 

Keep reading for tips on how to create a lease that's pet-friendly and professional. 

Decide Which Pets (If Any!) Are Allowed

The first thing to decide is whether you want to allow pets in your rental unit or not. Either way, this should be clarified in the lease so the potential tenant knows your stance on pets. 

If you do decide to allow animals, state which pets are allowed (dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc.) and give more details about the breed and size, if necessary. For example, you might give a maximum weight limit.

It's important to note that banning specific breeds from rental units is being challenged often, so this isn't the recommended strategy for setting pet restrictions. 

Make Tenant Responsibilities Clear

Outline your expectations for the tenant's care and keeping of the pet in the lease. 

Can the animal get left outside unsupervised, or do they need to use a leash? Does the tenant need to clean up pet waste immediately? Is the tenant financially responsible for any damage the pet causes?

Let the potential tenant know all of your expectations upfront, being as detailed as possible. This way, if one of the requirements in the lease isn't followed, you can clearly show the tenant how they violated the lease. 

Give Details on Pet Costs

There are three common options for pet costs when it comes to a lease agreement: a pet fee, a pet deposit, or pet rent. 

A pet fee is a one-time, non-refundable fee that a tenant pays when they move in to have their pet live with them. Alternatively, a pet deposit is paid at move-in but can be given back when a tenant moves out if the pet didn't cause any damage. Both of these tend to be between $100 and $300. 

Lastly, pet rent is exactly what it sounds like: rent the tenant pays each month specifically for their pet. The cost of pet rent typically ranges from $10-$30 a month. 

It's important to check your local laws to find out which (if any) of these options are allowed.

Schedule a Screening, If Desired

It's always a good idea to go beyond the basic breed and size questions and ask for more details about the pet. You might ask the owner if the pet is house trained, if they bark frequently, if they've ever bitten anyone, and so on. 

If you want to get a real sense of how the pet interacts with its owner, as well as other people, you can schedule an in-person meeting before deciding to lease the unit to the tenant.

Pets in a Rental Property: A Guide

As a pet-friendly landlord, you're accommodating a larger percentage of people who are looking for a home to rent. If you're going to allow pets in a rental property, this guide will help you create a lease that works for both you and your tenants. 

If you're looking for more property management tips and tricks, check out the rest of our blog or reach out to us today. 

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