Well-kept pet-friendly rentals are coveted by many renters and harder to come by than most would like. And while you may already know the vast benefits to having a pet-friendly rental policy, there are more nuanced decisions landlords and managers must make beyond simply allowing or disallowing pets in your rental units.
Breed restrictions are common–even among the most pet-centric rental properties. The reasons behind the implementation of a breed-restriction policy can vary, but as a landlord or manager, it is important to look at all sides of the coin to ensure that you are making the best choice for your tenants’ safety, and your property’s profitability and upkeep.
With this in mind, what does a landlord need to know about pet breeds?
The Argument Surrounding Pet Breed Restriction
While there is certainly an argument in favor of allowing your tenants the opportunity to house a pet, some pet-friendly housing will offer certain criteria about allowed breeds or pet sizes. It should be noted that animal advocacy groups argue that a pets’ overall upbringing and environment is a much more significant indicator of aggression or property damage than the breed. However, landlords may still wish to implement breed limitations. There are various reasons why a landlord may want to restrict certain breeds.
Here are a few:
- Your local area has a breed ban. Before you allow a pet, be certain that you are familiar with your city’s pet restrictions.
- Your insurance policy will be affected. Some insurance policies charge more for what they consider higher-risk breeds; they may even refuse to cover certain breeds altogether. Contact your insurance provider to find out what their pet policy may entail.
- You are wary of liability or damage. If your concerns with pets are related to fears of them causing damage or injuring someone, a breed and size restriction may offer you a little extra peace of mind. Additionally, it may be helpful to require your renters to have a renters insurance policy that will cover costs associated with injury on the property should their dog cause an issue.
You Already Tenants, Don’t Forget to Screen Their Pets
While you can’t run a background check on a pet, there are some things you can do to ensure that you are protecting yourself from liability when allowing a pet to stay at your rental. Ask questions regarding the pet’s history, and think about requesting a pet resume.
A pet’s past may be an indicator of the pet’s proclivity to damage property or act out. Knowing how long your prospective tenant has had the pet is also beneficial. A dog that has been lovingly trained in the same home since its young puppy stages may be a great addition to your property. On the other hand, a dog that was recently adapted could have more unpredictable behavior.
Ask your tenants if the pet has ever caused damage to property, or if the pet has ever bitten someone. If the owner hesitates when responding, this could be a red flag. After all, if the pet has a history of aggressive behavior, you could run into some liability issues. It can also be beneficial to know if the pet has had proper licenses and vaccinations.
For these reasons, it can be beneficial to ask for any supporting documentation regarding the pet. Requesting records of immunizations, a certificate of completion from obedience school, and a pet character reference can assist landlords in vetting out any potential liability.
Service Animals And Emotional Support Animals:
A note about service animals and emotional support animals; the information above is specific to pet breed restrictions, emotional support and service animals follow different regulations and guidelines. Check your local laws to find out how (or if) any restrictions apply to these animals.