A Smart Pet Policy Guide for Landlords with Rental Properties

Helpful pet policy tips for landlords to create effective lease terms and clear tenant expectations when it comes to pets.

Will your pet policy allow tenants to have pets in your rental properties? How can landlords protect their rental homes from being damaged by tenants’ pets? Use this smart pet policy guide for landlords with rental properties in North Carolina to learn helpful tips to create your lease terms and clarify tenant expectations when it comes to pet policies.

Renting to Tenants with Pets – Advantages and Disadvantages

When deciding on your rental pet policies, it helps to weigh some of the pros and cons of allowing pets in your rental homes. Landlords who allow pets can receive additional income from pet fees, market rental properties to a larger pool of tenants, and possibly see an increase in tenant retention as tenants with pets have fewer rental options available.

If you decide to allow pets in your rental properties, be prepared to deal with some potential problems, such as property damage and allergens in air duct system, increased liability if a pet causes physical harm to someone on your property, and nuisance issues like barking for surrounding tenants and neighbors. However, if you decide that the advantages of allowing pets in your rental properties outweigh the disadvantages, use the following provisions as part of your lease’s pet agreement terms.

Types of Pets Allowed in Rental Units

In the pet agreement, landlords will want to state any restrictions on the type of animal, breed of animal and size of animal allowed on the rental property. Your pet policy should also state the number of pets allowed on the property. Landlords who allow pets often prohibit ‘dangerous’ breeds of dogs as most insurance companies deny coverage for those breeds.

A smart pet policy will also state that landlords must pre-approve any pets that tenants wish to keep on the rental property. Part of this approval process should include that pets have identification and current licenses and vaccines. Lastly, make it clear in your pet agreement that only approved pets owned by the tenant are allowed in your rental property, which will prevent any pet-sitting arrangements.

Set Clear Expectations of Tenant Responsibilities in Pet Agreement

Landlords must put in writing exactly what is expected of tenants who are permitted to have pets on rental properties. Some of those responsibilities should include: cleaning up after pets, keeping pets under control at all times and not leaving pets outside unsupervised.

Require tenants to carry renter’s insurance, which will indemnify the landlord from any liability to third parties which may result from tenant’s keeping of pets. Make it clear in the pet policy that the landlord can remove the pet from your property or terminate the tenancy in the event of serious or repeated violations of the agreement.

Charging a Pet Fee as Part of Rental Policy Pet Agreement

North Carolina rental property owners often include a pet deposit, pet fee or additional rent in pet policies. These “pet fees” are used to pay for any damage caused by a tenant’s pet(s). Make sure to check state laws to determine if an additional pet fee is legal. A smart pet policy guide for landlords with rental properties is to charge a refundable pet deposit along with “pet rent,” which is a percentage of the tenant’s monthly rent and paid monthly when rent is due.

A smart pet policy along with strong pet agreement provisions in your rental lease will help protect your rental properties from damage. If you have any further questions about allowing pets in your rental homes or about our property management services for rental properties in Raleigh, Durham or Chapel Hill, please do not hesitate to contact us at Red Door Company.