For many tenants, their furry friends are truly part of the family, and if you manage pet-friendly rental properties, you know this to be the case. And while there are advantages to having a pet policy that welcomes man’s best friend, there are a lot of logistics to navigate when it comes to managing rentals with pets and ensuring that everyone that lives on your property has a safe and calm environment to call home.
The big nail biter that we hear from property managers regarding pets is: “How do I deal with the ever-changing landscape of service animals, real emotional support animals (ESA), fake ESAs, and regular pets without discriminating or getting in trouble for not accommodating the animals I’m required to?”. Each state has its own laws, there are federal laws, and there are even local laws to consider.
As we researched the issue we kept hearing about all these fake pet certifications that look very real and we found the most reliable way to verify and screen pets is to use a third party service. In our research, we found PetScreening™ who will handle all the screening and verification work for you. Best yet, it costs you nothing and it takes the liability off you for pet selection. The tenant pays a small registration fee for any non-registered animal (service animals and legitimate ESAs are free to tenants) and you get a report on the pet along with third-party confirmation of the legitimacy of any registration.
You register for free, and all screenings for you are always free. Click the link below to get started.
How PetScreening Works:
You already know the importance of tenant screening to ensure that you select the best renters possible to live in your rentals. Now you can ensure the same for your future four-legged residents. After all, not all pet owners are responsible. PetScreening is a service available for pet-friendly landlords and managers wanting to screen pets and their respective owners.
Applicants (tenants) enter important information about their specific pet, including their general care and understanding of pet policies into the database. The platform reviews various factors to analyze housing-related risk; these factors include community-specific restrictions, such as breed, weight, and age, as well as vaccination records and behaviors.
The end result is a pet profile with a FIDO Score™ based on pet-specific information. Landlords and property managers can then use this scoring system (in accordance with local and state laws) to establish permittable pet rent, non-refundable fees, or larger pet deposits to cover any additional risk of damage from the pet and its owner. PetScreening’s proprietary screening platform adds an additional layer of liability protection by having a standardized process when dealing with household pets and assistance animals. The best part? This process is FREE for landlords and property managers!
Renters only pay for a screening fee for traditional pets; in exchange for the $20 fee, renters are given access to their digital pet profile for one year. After one year, Renters can renew their pet profile for $10/year. In addition to sharing with multiple property managers, pet profiles can be shared with groomers, doggy daycares, vets, other pet service providers. Service animals and emotional support animals are free to submit for review. Landlords and PMs that have a strict no pet policy are not qualified for this program.
Legally and Easily Verify Assistance Animals
According to a study by PetScreening, 18% of reasonable accommodation requests have insufficient documentation, unresponsive third-party verification or are simply fraudulent. PetScreening helps with assistance animal accommodation request validation through a comprehensive legal and FHAct/HUD guideline review process. Fraudulent accommodation claims occur when unscrupulous tenants seek to possibly avoid pet rent or circumvent specific pet policies (often breed restrictions). This undermines and puts at-risk those individuals with a legitimate need for service or assistance animals. And while property managers and landlords want to mitigate these cases of fraudulent claims to ensure that they apply to only those that need them, managers are often hesitant to ask for third-party verification documentation for fear of violating Fair Housing laws and HUD guidelines. This can make it difficult to uphold the integrity of the accommodation request review process.
PetScreening can help address these concerns by utilizing their digital accommodation request review process and in-house legal review team. They review each reasonable accommodation request, adhering to the FHAct guidelines, then validate that the third-party verification documentation is reliable, credible and meets the test of reasonableness. This submission process (free for property managers and landlords, as well as, the service animal’s owner) standardizes the property manager’s reasonable accommodation request review process. Not only does this save time, but it helps to mitigate liability for a possible discrimination complaint.
Be sure to signup using one of the links above to connect your Rentec Direct account with your PetScreening account. In the future, we have plans to integrate pets into the Rentec Direct system so you can be updated right in the system when a new pet enters one of your properties or a given pet’s risk-score changes.