Why Pet Screening is Always a Good Idea

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Recent market trends show that there has been a significant increase in tenants searching for pet-friendly rentals. Pet-friendly properties attract more renters so that you can choose from a wider pool of qualified tenants!

However, pets can damage your property and cause noise complaints. You can prevent these issues by implementing a thorough pet-screening process that will help you identify responsible pet owners.

Why You Should Rent to Tenants with Pets

Securing Long-Term Tenants

Renters with pets are likely to renew their leases if they’re satisfied with their experience renting from you. Moving often can be challenging for both tenants and their pets. Responsible pet owners work hard to reduce the stress their animals experience, so they usually search for rentals where they can settle down for the long term.

In addition, allowing pets into your rental can also enable you to set your rent rate slightly above the market average, thereby improving your ROI. However, it’s important not to raise the rent rates too much as this may deter renters from submitting a tenant application.

Responsible Pet Owners Make Responsible Tenants

Pet owners who are responsible when taking care of their pets are also usually reliable when it comes to property maintenance and communicating issues to landlords.

A white pet bird sits on a perch in its cage and cocks its head

Whether they own a goldfish, a bird, a cat, or a dog, a dedicated pet owner will ensure that the space they call home is well taken care of.

What is Pet Screening

Pet screening is similar to tenant screening. In essence, pet screening is performing a background check on a prospective renter’s pet. Screening pets provides landlords with important information about the animal’s personality, behaviour, and well-being.

Meeting with the pet and their owner prior to signing a lease will also give you a sense of whether the prospective tenant is a good fit for your rental property. We also recommend having the applicant complete a questionnaire about their pet before meeting with them.

We suggest including the below questions on your pet screening questionnaire.

  • What kind of animal is the pet?
  • What is your pet’s breed (if known)?
  • What is the animal’s weight?
  • How old is your pet?
  • Has the pet ever hurt someone or someone else?
  • Is the pet house-trained?
  • How long have you owned your pet?

In-Person Meeting

Having an in-person meeting with a potential tenant and their pet will help ensure they filled out their questionnaire accurately. However, it’s important to remember that many pets are shy or anxious when meeting strangers for the first time.

To avoid any issues, be careful when meeting an animal for the first time and never touch a pet without their owner’s permission.

Pet Clauses

Once you decide to allow pets onto your rental property, be sure to add a pet clause to your lease agreement. We recommend including the following information in the lease’s pet clause.

Four dogs of varying breeds including a white poodle and a brown chihuahua pose against a pink background

  • Information regarding pet fees and deposits
  • Policies on how many pets can be kept in the unit
  • A detailed summary of penalties for pet-related property damage

Navigating Fees and Deposits

Many landlords require their tenants to pay pet fees or deposits. Below you can find information on the most common ways landlords protect themselves financially when renting to pet owners. 

One-Time Fee

These fees are non-refundable and paid at the beginning of the lease. 

Monthly Fees

Some landlords charge tenants with pets a monthly payment. Before deciding to charge a monthly fee, consider the amount your tenant will pay over the course of the lease to ensure the cost won’t discourage tenants from renting your property.

Pet Deposit

Pet deposits are collected in addition to a security deposit. Pet deposits are returned at the end of a renter’s tenancy, provided there are no pet-related property damages.

Service Animals

It’s important to remember that service animals aren’t legally considered pets. Many people with disabilities need service animals for health and safety-related reasons.

A blind person with a white cane walks on a tree lined path with their service dog

Be sure to research landlord-tenant laws in your area to ensure your pet policies don’t violate landlord-tenant laws or the federal Fair Housing Act.

In Conclusion

Pet screening is necessary but can take up a lot of time and energy. If you want to increase your ROI while keeping your stress low, consider hiring an experienced property management company!

Industry experts will be able to screen pets effectively, create comprehensive pet policies, set pet fee rates, and handle any issues that may arise when your tenant owns a pet.

If you want to minimize pet-related risks while taking advantage of a larger pool of prospective tenants, Real Canadian Property Management Solutions can help! Our team of property managers will provide you with top-tier services and ensure the needs of your tenants and their pets are met!

For more information, reach out to us today!

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