The popularity of pet ownership has only increased during the pandemic. Pets are often seen as extended family. This leads to a rise in the demand for pet-friendly rentals. Opening your unit to tenants with pets attracts more renters and can also be a great opportunity to earn more income.
Although the potential to raise your earnings is a definite advantage that comes with welcoming pets, a lot of landlords still worry about the possible property damage caused by pets. Pets can also be a cause for noise and odor complaints from the neighbors. These issues can all be mitigated with a proper pet screening procedure.
This article will provide tips to help you create a useful pet screening program and outlines steps you can take to market your property to pet owners.
What Are the Benefits of Allowing Pets?
Long-term residents: Tenants with pets are more likely to stay long-term since they want to avoid moving in order to keep their pets in a comfortable and familiar spot. If the current rental is a place where the pet is valued, then renewing the lease is a logical move for the pet owners.
Increased property interest: Pet-welcoming rentals have an advantage over a similar unit that doesn’t accept pets. By being a pet friendly rental, you open up your potential renter field. Further, your unit carries more value for tenants with pets so you can set a higher rental price.
Responsible tenants: Pet owners are likely to be responsible for the numerous tasks they need to fulfill in taking care of their pets. Therefore, it is logical to assume that they’ll also be responsible occupants.
What is Pet Screening?
In the same way that you evaluate tenants using a tenant screening procedure, you also assess pets through a detailed pet screening. You can ask to schedule a meeting in person, request an application with a questionnaire to be completed, and ask for health screening documents.
A pet screening ensures that your unit meets safety standards in order to keep all tenants happy.
What Does Pet Screening Include?
When performing a pet screening, several options are available to you. You can opt to screen the pet on your own or engage the services of a third-party service provider.
For those who prefer to do it by themselves, here are the steps you can take in vetting a tenant’s pet:
Request a Questionnaire
To begin your pet screening application, you can request information through a questionnaire in order to find out more about the pet. Having the following data helps you gain a pet overview:
- Length of ownership
- Proof of vaccinations
- List of pet incidents
- Behavior issues
There is different information to know based on the type of pet. While some people have more unique animals, we have outlined the basics for dogs and cats.
- Any plans to spay or neuter the dog?
- Any dog training class attended?
- Can the dog be kept on a leash during walks?
- Can the dog spend time alone?
- Any plans to spay or neuter the cat?
- Is the cat kept indoors?
- Does the cat use a litter box?
- Is the cat registered and does it possess identification?
Schedule a Meeting With the Pet
Even if the questionnaire provides a lot of pet information, it’s still essential to meet the pet face to face. However, note that some pets can get anxious around new people so deciding based on the initial meeting can backfire.
It’s also highly advisable to hire a licensed professional to interact with the pet in person if you lack experience in this department.
How Frequently Should You Screen Pets?
Your pet screening shouldn’t be limited to only huge dogs. You must be consistent with your procedure to reduce any future risks and eliminate discrimination.
New situations also come up over a year’s time so records need to be updated each time a lease is due for renewal. The screening may not be as lengthy as the first time, but you need to ask for a health update to limit potential risks.
What Are the Fees and Deposits for Pets?
Screening pets can be costly, especially if you’re hiring an external service provider to do it for you. As a landlord, how much to charge pet owners is your choice.
However, the Fair Housing Act prohibits charging fees for service animals. Before assigning pet fees, research your local state laws first.
Types of Fees
One-time fee: This type of non-refundable fee is given by the tenant at the start of the tenancy to cover the pet for the entire rental term. But some states like California, Hawaii, and Montana deem this as illegal. That’s why you need to refer to your local state laws.
Monthly rent: These are additional charges you collect every month
Deposit: This is an additional fee on top of the security deposit you collect at the beginning of the tenancy. This amount is refundable if your rental property remains in an excellent state when the rental term ends.
Welcoming pets in your rental home can be a great way to increase your rental income but you need to set up a proper pet screening program. At Limestone County Properties we are here to help you with all your property management needs. Contact us today!