What You Should Include In Your Pet Policy
An important aspect of being a landlord or property manager involves implementing a uniform pet policy for your properties. This means knowing what to include in your pet policy and protecting yourself from potential problems by planning ahead. Here is a guide to implementing the right strategy in your rental properties to ensure your pet policy doesn’t come back to “bite” you.
Including a Pet Policy
If you include a pet policy, you’ll want to incorporate it into your lease and have all tenants sign it. That way, if a tenant decides they want a pet later on, they’re bound to follow the pet policy. If a tenant breaks this policy during their lease, you then have grounds to take action to remedy the situation or even ask the tenant to leave, especially after repeated or serious violations. On top of a pet policy, you may also want to require a tenant to leave a pet deposit to cover any potential damage their pet may cause.
What Types of Pets are Allowed
You should first determine what types of animals you want to include in your policy. Many landlords allow common animals like dogs and cats, but a tenant may also request birds, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, and/or lizards. It’s important to determine which animals you’re willing to have in your properties.
Once you determine what animals you want to permit in your property, you should also specify how many pets are allowed within a single dwelling. For example, you may only want two cats per apartment, but are fine with an unlimited number of fish.
Making Sure the Pet is in Full Compliance
You’ll also want to require tenants to have proof that their pet has all required vaccinations, such as a veterinarian bill or letter. You should also require that tenants ensure their cat or dog has up to date identification tags and collars.
Setting a Maximum Weight
You can also specify the maximum weight of a pet on your property. For example, you can indicate that no dog over 30 pounds is allowed to reside in a dwelling.
Including a “Dangerous Breeds” Stipulation
As a landlord, you have a legal right to ban certain dog breeds from your property. These breeds may include Rottweilers, Pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds. There is a fear that these breeds have a propensity towards violence or could be especially dangerous. It’s also important to learn if your liability insurance will refuse to cover you if you allow certain breeds categorized as dangerous on your property. If you want to ban certain breeds from you property, be sure to include these in your pet policy.
Laying Down the Rules
It’s a good idea to ensure your pet policy requires tenants to receive prior approval before they keep a pet in their dwelling. That means if they decide they want a pet, they first have to show you the pet and submit to questions regarding the type of pet they would like to have.
It’s also important that tenants understand how they should conduct themselves while they have a pet inside your property. That means a tenant is required to clean up after their pet, ensure their pet isn’t disturbing other tenants, and ensure responsibility for any damage their pet causes to your property. Here are some other rules you should include in your pet policy:
- Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times when moving through common areas of your property.
- You have the right to change your pet policy at any time while offering a reasonable notice period.
- Animals like hamsters, lizards, or gerbils must be properly caged.
- You are able to request that a tenant removes a pet from your property if a tenant repeatedly violates the rules or incurs a serious violation
Ultimately, by including a thorough pet policy, you can help avoid headaches involving pets down the road. Use this information as a general guideline when drawing up your own pet policy for your rental properties.
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