Pet owners often consider their pets as part of the family. They are protective of and devoted to their dog or cat as though they were people. As rental property managers, we have to decide whether it is worth the risk to our property to allow tenants to have pets. Damages can be costly. However, allowing pets may help you attract and retain happy long-term tenants. Here are four things you might want to consider before you allow pets into your rental homes.
Pet Owner Interview
Ask questions about the pet’s history and take note of how the owner responds. Some of the questions your rental property management company might ask are:
- How long have you owned your dog or cat?
- Is your dog an inside or outside pet?
- Is your pet house trained?
- Has your pet been neutered? When?
- Who is your veterinarian?
- Has your pet had all their shots?
- Has your pet had any issues with attacking a person or another pet?
- Have there been any problems with previous property owners with your pets?
- Are you planning to get any more pets?
Observing Pet and Owner Behavior
Set up a time to meet with the prospective tenant and their pet, especially if the pet is a dog. Note how they interact together, and whether the owner is in control of his or her pet. If the owner’s dog seems more in charge or seems out of control, there may a greater potential for damage to your property.
A Call to the Vet
If possible, place a call to the pet’s veterinarian. Speaking with the veterinarian can confirm all the information the owner gave you in the interview, alleviating any hesitation you may feel about the pet. The pet’s shot record, behavior and general health can usually be verified by rental property managers who make the effort to take this extra step.
Make sure you create a solid pet policy and ensure the prospective tenant knows up front what to expect. For rental homes in Georgia, you may want to consider including some of the following:
- A pet deposit. Include in the lease that additional deposits may be collected if more pets are brought in after signing the original agreement.
- A cleaning deposit. Walk through with the client before move-in and after.
- A monthly property fee for their pets. You may want to note in the lease that any damages assessed as greater than the amount of the monthly fee would be the responsibility of the pet owner.
- Contact your insurance company. Your insurance company may have restrictions on property damage pets may cause. Find out what is covered and what isn’t.
If you are in the market for a rental property management company in the Atlanta area, contact us. ALH Podland is customer-focused with a high rate of resident satisfaction, standing ready to answer any questions you might have about our services.