Pets are becoming more popular amongst renters across the country. As an owner, you must determine if you should allow pets in your rental home or not. As yourself, “Is renting with pet policies on your home something that I want or not?”
In this post, you’ll learn what to consider before allowing pets in your rental and what to do if your tenant has a pet. But first, you’ll want first to review some background information about allowing pets in your rental home.
One piece of information that has recently come to light is that over 60% of applicants have pets today. So, not allowing them in your rental home could end up being a challenge for you because you will remove 60% of the demand for your rental home.
There are some dangerous breeds that are not allowed in houses for safety and liability issues, like Rottweilers and pit bulls. Even still, if a renter has a Rottweiler or a pit bull and still wants to live in your house, there are some workarounds from an insurance standpoint.
Typically, though, what happens is that your insurance carriers won’t allow those dangerous breed dogs to live in the homes. So, it’s essential to first have that discussion with your insurance carrier before opening that option to renters.
The following determination is whether or not you will charge a pet fee. Pet fees vary, but you will typically want to charge a pet fee to live in the home and sometimes even charge pet rent.
No homeowner will ever turn down an opportunity for more rent, but keep in mind that this money is to account for any damages to your home when the pet leaves. Ideally, the pet will be well trained, and damages will be minimal if any. Regardless, damages for pets should always be accounted for.
Another important note about pets in your rental is that some renters with service animals or emotional support animals. Both are not considered pets, and you legally can’t charge a pet fee or a pet deposit, or pet rent.
Now, if they damage the home, you can certainly account for it with a security deposit. As a homeowner, it’s essential to take note of these special circumstances.
Not everyone has pets, and not everyone wants pets in their rental home. Many people get horrible thoughts of pet owners that don’t take proper care of their pets. Or, maybe they allow their pets to jump on the furniture and scratch up the hardwood floors.
Ultimately, the decision to allow pets in your home is up to you. There is no right or wrong answer. The short answer is, yes, you can rent your house without allowing pets. But, you’ll want to consider some of the current trends before making your final decision.
As previously mentioned, somewhere around 60% of applicants have pets today. In other words, if it takes ten applicants to rent a house, only four of those will be eligible renters for your property. Ultimately, not allowing pets will cut down on the total number of people that can rent your house.
If your house is already a hard rent house, or maybe it’s a season that it’s a hard time to rent, you will make it increasingly harder by not allowing pets.
If you are willing to have pets, you can always collect a pet fee, which will vary based on the market. This fee is to protect the home and accounts for the damage the pet might do to the house.
Allowing pets in your home is undoubtedly a risk and not one to take lightly. The answer is you can rent your house to somebody that does not have a pet. That decision is up to you. Just keep in mind that you will cut down on the actual demand for your house.
Surprisingly, it happens pretty frequently that tenants have a dog against their lease. Sometimes, applicants will not always disclose that they have a dog because they know the property will not allow it. But before you know it, they’ve got a dog or mid-lease, they decide to get a dog, and now you found out about it.
You have a huge decision to make when you find a dog in your home against a lease.
When addressing this situation, first ask yourself, do you want to make a big deal out of it? If they’re great tenants and take great care of the property, you may not want to make a big deal out of it. You may want to allow them to keep their beloved dog. It could also be an honest mistake. It could be as simple as a phone call to them in which you say, “Hey, you’re not supposed to have a dog, you know, what are we going to do about this?”
The obvious answers are pet rent, maybe some dog deposit, dog fee, whatever, but, again, that’s your decision to make.
Alternatively, if you’re very frustrated, you should still call them up and have a discussion with them about it. You can say something like, “Hey, you know this is against the lease. This wasn’t disclosed in the lease document, or this has happened since you signed the lease. And you said you weren’t going to have pets, and now you have a pet.”
The goal is to speak with them as amicably as possible and solve the situation without any serious mess. But, if they aren’t accepting of your efforts, you may have to terminate the lease.
There are two circumstances of lease termination, which include rent and material breaches.
A rent breach, or the non-material breach, is the less minor of the two and typically regards a minor detail of the contract, such as paying rent.
Alternatively, material breaches are more serious forms of breaking the lease agreement. In this situation, with your renter having a dog on your property that does not allow pets, this would be considered a material breach.
You will typically go through the same process in most states to evict the tenant for a material breach. So, the next step would be to go through the process of eviction if that’s what you decide to do.
Whether you choose to allow a tenant to rent with pet policies or not is your decision.
If you have made it clear from the beginning that you do not allow pets and your tenant has one anyway, now you know what to do.
Lucas is a Content Strategist for Evernest. When he isn’t doing research or creating content, you can find Lucas drinking coffee or eating tacos. He is a native of western North Dakota now living in Austin, TX.