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What to Know About a Pet Agreement for Rental Property

System - Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Property Management Blog

Talking about a pet policy with potential tenants is a minefield. People treat their pets as members of the family and are more protective of them than children. 

For a property owner, a clear pet policy is the difference between a happy tenant and a hefty cleaning cost. Without a pet agreement for rental property, a tenant can always claim there were no conditions set. 

A pet agreement is important for sorting out the legality of support and service animals as well. These additional groupings have more leeway but are not blanket clauses.

Read on to learn what goes into a pet agreement and your role in shaping the policy.

Pet Agreement for Rental Property

Pet agreements take two forms in a rental contract. They either list no pets or provide a framework of what pets and how those pets are to be addressed.

No pets policies are enforceable as long as they are unilateral. Allowing one unit to have pets while restricting others doesn't work. Again, service animals bypass this as they do in other pet-restricted areas of society. 

Cleaning Costs and Deposits

People like their pets and find life unfulfilling without them. Many people have pets and allowing them opens up the pool of potential tenants considerably. 

However, roughly 15 percent of people have allergies to dogs and twice that for cats. Any unit or house that has a pet in it needs a thorough cleaning before renting again and that cost isn't yours to bear.

A pet agreement details the cleaning fees and liability for damages caused by pets. You asses these as a one-time fee or a monthly addition to rent.

The agreement spells out charges but needs to conform to local laws. Laws in the Tampa area pet deposits are allowed when attached as part of the pet fee rental agreement.

What Pets?

While a pet agreement spells out what types of pets are allowed it can't charge on an individual basis except in the case of animals listed on a dangerous breeds list. 

Dangerous breeds have an impact on insurance premiums and a direct cost that's easy to assess. 

Otherwise, a pet agreement lists animals by size categories with multiple tiny pets being equal to one medium, several mediums to large, etc. 

It is fair to list pet size restrictions by weight and height. 

Pet Screening

In the same way, you would screen for a tenant you should screen pets. This includes confirming that the tenant knows how to care for their pet, that the pet belongs to them, and that the pet has undergone proper medical care.

Pets need to undergo some form of house training or vaccinations and licensing. It's possible to refuse these pets even when a 'pets allowed' policy exists. 

Pets that violate noise policies or create obnoxious messes that interfere with other tenants are handled the same way as obnoxious tenants.

Be Prepared

The important thing when establishing a pet agreement for a rental property is to apply it evenly. It's difficult, though not impossible, to adjust policies on lease renewals.

For more information about pet agreement addendums and property management services, contact us.