This is something I get a lot of questions about so I figured I would address it for the whole world to see! Many landlords view pets as a negative thing and will not rent to people with pets. I can say this is not necessarily the way to look at things! Many responsible people own pets and you do not want to eliminate a large portion of your “tenant pool”. Over 50% of people own pets of some sort and many more are planning on getting pets in the near future.
There are a few things you will want to take into consideration when dealing with pets in your rental property. Is the property located in an area where pet size or number are restricted? For example, some homeowner’s associations have varying restrictions on pets. You will need to refer to your governing documents if you are located in an HOA and verify you are inline with their restrictions. You will also want to check with your insurance company and see if they have any restrictions on what breeds, size, type of pet, or number of pets. Some insurance companies will not allow certain dog breeds for example.
Once you have established what pets are you are allowed to have at your rental home you will want to decide what expectations you as the landlord have for pets. I suggest requesting references for the pet from current or past landlords if you are looking at renting to a person with pets. If a tenant is already in your home and they are looking to replace a pet (deceased, lost, etc) you will want to make sure you have as much information as possible before agreeing to do so.
I suggest collecting an increased security deposit and also having the tenants sign a pet addendum form. This addendum should include the type of pet, size of pets, quantity of pets, your expectations in regards to damages caused by pets, etc. Many quality and qualified tenants are responsible pet owners as well and you wouldn’t want to miss the chance to rent to an excellent tenant!
I will address how tenants should approach landlords about pets in another installment on this blog!