According to a recent survey
, over 70% of renters in America own a pet. Without a doubt this means that the likelihood of your applicants being or becoming pet owners is a pretty high bet and it may be in your best interest to look into marketing your rental as pet-friendly. Even so, you don't want to lose money due to damage caused by your renter's furry friend, so it's will also be in your best interest to set up restrictions on what kind of pets you will accept. Some insurance policies will have breed restrictions attached to the policy and you'll need to be aware of this as you go into a business relationship with your new tenant.
Limiting the kind of animals that will be accepted, the number, and the size are all common restrictions designed to protect both the landlord and the property. If you are renting out a large property with land attached, you may not be as worried about your tenant's pair of Great Danes, but if it's a little one bedroom, one bath apartment, that's an entirely different matter. You may wish to put a weight limit on the animals to help keep down the wear and tear.
Pet deposits and pet rent are designed to help take some of the burden off of you once the tenant moves out. Even with the best behaved animals some extra wear and tear is to be expected. Fido may have a trail he's marched along through the backyard until he's left only dirt in his path and Fluffy may have decided to sharpen her claws on the carpet one too many times. These are things that simply happen with animals here and there, but the deposit will help to make sure that you can restore the property to top condition for the next tenant once the current tenant moves out. Check to see what other rentals in the area are charging for pets, but make sure to keep it as reasonable as you believe you can. Some tenants think it's easier to hide the animal than pay the deposit if they feel it's too high and that brings about a whole new level of trouble.
Many cities will have ordinances that require pets out of the home and off the property to be kept on a leash. It's always a good practice to be familiar with local laws that influence you or your tenants living in the property, but if you local laws address this issue or not, you may want to think about clarifying a policy in the lease about pets and how they are handled so that you may protect yourself against liability should the pet cause any harm to a neighbor or property. Make sure the tenant is aware that you require any pets outside of the property to be kept on a leash for everyone's safety and security, including the pet's.
Limiting your personal liability is best done through policies that you require all your tenants to follow. Leash rules, breed restrictions, and pet deposits go a long way to find a healthy balance between keeping your property in great shape and allowing your tenants to bring their pets with them into their new home.