Owning a pet has become increasingly popular for the deep comfort and companionship that animals bring. Many tenants are therefore seeking rentals with open-door policies for pets.
For landlords who want to earn greater income, it pays to market a pet-friendly unit to match the strong demand for it.
This is easier said than done. Welcoming tenants with pets can also lead to potential damage brought by them.
It can also increase noise complaints from other tenants or neighbors. You’d also need to deal with odors that pets may bring. To resolve these issues, you should conduct an effective pet screening procedure.
Screening pets is a step-by-step process to avoid feeling overwhelmed and ending up with responsible pet owners occupying your rental space.
Benefits of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Unit
Attract Long-Term Residents
It can be a challenge to find a rental property that’s open to welcoming pets. If pet owners find an ideal rental home where their beloved pets have a nurturing environment, they’re likely to keep renewing their leases. This way, you’ll retain tenants for the long term.
Improve Your Market Value
When you’re a pet-friendly unit, it can be harder for units that don’t allow pets to compete with you. You may offer the same amenities with another rental except for a policy on opening the doors to pets.
This can lead to elevating your market value among tenants with pets, which can increase your opportunity to earn higher.
Attract Responsible Residents
Attracting responsible pet owners can equate to drawing in responsible tenants.
As it requires a sense of discipline and responsibility to take care of pets, it can be safe to say that responsible pet owners are likely to respect your property and treat it well, too.
Defining Pet Screening
In the same manner as tenant screening, you need to perform pet screening to ensure the right fit for your unit.
Pet screening means doing a background check and engaging the services of an external party to learn more about the health, behavior, and personality of a pet.
It may require meeting face to face, filling out an application form, and getting health screening documents.
Pet Screening Procedures
There are different ways to conduct a pet screening. Some landlords choose to do it independently while others seek third-party service providers to get all the details accomplished.
If you opt to do an independent pet screening, you may need the following to assess each potential renter’s pet:
Before performing an extensive pet screening, it’s best to start the application with a simple questionnaire.
Some of the sample information you can request are the following:
Type of animal and pet breed
Weight of the pet
Age of the pet
Length of pet ownership
Proof of vaccinations
Letter from the veterinarian ensuring the pet is healthy and has up-to-date vaccines
Incidents of if/when the pet has injured a person or animal
Indicate if the pet has been house-trained
Information on if the dog is spayed or neutered. If not, ask the prospective tenant if plans are underway.
Completion of dog training class
Find out if the dog can be kept on a leash while on walks
Ask the pet owner if they clean up after the dog
Request for information on if a dog can be left on its own and for how long
Information on if the cat is spayed or neutered. If not, ask if plans are underway.
Find out if the cat is kept indoors
Ask the pet owner if they have a litter box for the cat
Request for information on if a cat is registered or has proper identification
Screening Pets in Person
Even if the pet screening form provides plenty of detailed information, it’s still a good idea to schedule an in-person meeting to observe the pet and see if the description matches.
Note that pets are often anxious in new environments and interacting with new people. So cut them some slack and consider that the first engagement may not go well.
The pet’s behavior can be a little erratic due to nervousness. For those with little experience interacting with animals, it’s best to turn over this task to an expert professional.
Benefits of a Pet Screening Service
Screening pets can be time-consuming. It’s often advisable to hire a third party to conduct the pet screening procedure and prepare a pet policy on your behalf. This means you’d know how much to charge as pet fees and how to reduce any pet-associated risks.
Interested pet owners can submit their requests and the external service provider can go through the application to identify the risks and make sure that compliance with relevant regulations occurs.
Pet Clauses in Lease Agreements
After learning about the advantages of being a pet-friendly rental, you should create a pet policy or pet clause and attach it to your lease contract. You may hire an external party to do it for you or you can craft one on your own.
The clause shouldn’t be overly detailed, but should include the following:
What type of screening you’ll do
What type of pets are permitted
What fees and deposits are collected as part of the pet policy
Types of Pets to Screen and Frequency
When performing a pet screening, you need to consistently apply a fair review on all types of animals. This way, you’ll reduce prospective risks such as pet damages.
Just because a pet has behaved well in the past, it doesn’t mean that changes won’t occur. It’s vital to ask for updated files once a tenancy is up for renewal. An updated record of health can also lower risks.
Pet screening may take time but it’s worth evaluating pets before welcoming them inside your rental home. This way, you’ll attract long-term tenants and prevent risks as much as possible.
Still have questions about pet screening? Pinnacle Property Management is here to help! We’re a full-service property management company with the knowledge and expertise to fulfill all of your property management needs! Contact us today to get started!