Pet lover? So are we!
There are some great reasons to allow pets in your rental units… and some risks. What are the pros and cons of allowing pets? Are cats better to allow than dogs? What are the risks of each?
Most importantly, how can you mitigate those risks as a landlord, if you do allow dogs or cats?
Glad you asked! We put together a handy-dandy infographic to explore these questions, and because, well, who doesn’t love a fun infographic?
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FAQ About Allowing Dogs and Cats in Rental Properties
Q: Can I collect a separate deposit to cover pet damage?
A: It depends on the state. Most states regulate security deposits, some more strongly than others. In California, anything you accept as an advance payment to secure something is considered a security deposit. So, this would include a pet deposit. Furthermore, California does not permit non-refundable deposits (which technically should not be referred to as a deposit). Where Alabama has limits on only collecting one month security deposit, and an extra security deposit is permitted for pets. In South Carolina, there are no statutes at all on how much you can collect or whether it is refundable or not. Check your state statutes, contact an attorney, read our state rental law guides, or use our Ask an Attorney feature!
Q: Can I increase the rental amount for people with pets?
A: Most often you can. But be careful and be sure there are no laws prohibiting it in your state and city. And never charge those with service animals extra rent. That can get you into some hot water in court – the boiling kind, not the jacuzzi kind.
Q: My lease does not permit pets; my tenant has one. What can I do?
A: Start eviction proceedings immediately! They broke the lease agreement. Follow your state’s procedure for notice and get to it as fast as possible. If your tenant is otherwise responsible, feel free to try and negotiate, after you’ve filed for eviction. But think twice about a tenant who is sneaky, they’ve already proven untrustworthy.
Q: Can you really be liable for your renter’s pet if they hurt someone?
A: YES! First of all, attorneys always look for “deep pockets.” And a good injury lawyer is very good at finding those with the most assets. Furthermore, if you have an insurance company that specifically does not cover a specific breed and your tenant has one of those uncovered breeds; you may be without insurance back-up as well.
Q: My rental is a condominium. Can I allow pets?
A: Buyer beware! With condos and properties located in organized neighborhoods with homeowners associations, not only must you adhere to state law but you must also adhere to your condo association’s rules. Many associations have rule books with hundreds of pages of what to do and not to do. Before you lease to a renter with pets, make sure pets are permitted and always add a clause in your lease agreement, stating that your tenant must follow all rules of the condo or homeowner association!♦
Do you allow pets in your rental properties? If so, what kinds of pets? Do you place a weight limit or breed restrictions on dogs? Share your stories with pet-owning tenants, positive or negative!