Many landlords are concerned about allowing pets to live in their rental house. But when you understand why Troy landlords ought to have a pet screening process in place you may be certain that you’re making a solid choice.
At Real Property Management Metro Detroit we guarantee that the properties we handle are equal opportunity housing, and accommodate a wide variety of potential clients. However, many landlords don’t understand that just like there are many types of tenants, there are also many different animals that are permitted on the property by law.
Under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, assistance and service animals are permitted on any property if they’re registered as a service animal for a disability, which the FHA defines as “a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities”.
Thus, even in the event that you’ve told tenants that they’re not allowed to own pets on your property, you’re still required to provide “reasonable accommodation” to tenants with support animals. Service animals administered by the ADA are legally allowed anywhere and are defined as a dog or mini horse that has been trained to perform work to perform tasks for the sake of someone with a disability.
This is an important distinction to make as you do not want to find yourself trapped in a legal matter by turning a tenant as well as their support or support animal by confusing it with a pet. However, by having a screening procedure in place you can ascertain if it is an assistance or service animal by asking for documentation from a physician or therapist that acknowledges that the tenant’s animal is indeed an assistance animal, not a pet.
Contact Past Landlords
One of the best screening hints if allowing pets in your rental property would be to contact previous landlords because pets can have references as well. This will provide you with a better understanding of whether the animal ever caused harm to the house, disturbed the peace of neighbors, or caused any other issues.
This is a fast and easy way to help guide you on your decision, without turning a possible tenant off. Do not be scared to rent to a tenant with a medium or large sized dog due to unfounded fears. The big thing in your mind could really be a big teddy bear that does more to make your tenants and neighbors joyful than annoyed.
Include Pet Riders in Lease Agreement
Another important step to your pet screening process is including a pet rider on your lease agreement. This ensures that the animal’s presence on the house is both known and accounted for with regard to property damage. Some landlords will add a pet addendum if their existing tenants want to obtain a pet after they have moved in, but it is ideal to have a pet rider in the original document.
Some basic elements the pet rider ought to include are:
- Pet details—breed, color, gender, age, and weight
- Pet fee—if it is not an assistance animal you are able to charge a fee for a tenant to own a pet on your property
- Damage deposit—this deposit will be returned if the pet does not incur any damages during its stay
- Vaccination list—have tenant include type of vaccination and date
Another significant step in your pet screening procedure is to take photographs of their pet. Imagine the surprise you’d have when arriving at your rental house to do maintenance just to discover the small poodle your tenant signed for is really a giant mastiff.
By taking a photograph, and documenting details like the kind of animal, its overall dimensions and markings, as well as any other important info regarding the pet, can help ensure that one pet does not turn into three, and also a little dog does not wind up being a much bigger problem.
Do More Business
Ultimately, having a pet screening policy helps you do more business. As you may originally shy away from letting non-assistance animals in your property many potential tenants search for single-family homes to rent over apartments based on owning a pet. You can even make extra money if you choose to charge pet rent that the tenant must pay each month.
Furthermore, pet-owners are often more responsible than your normal tenant. If they’ve taken the time to train their pet, then find proper care for their pet when they are gone and are not willing to leave their pet because of rental policies, then this might be the kind of tenant that you would like in your property. While this is not true for many pet owners, it is something to consider when screening both tenants and animals.
When you rely on Real Property Management Metro Detroit for your property management solutions, we do more than simply react to repair calls. We help landlords and investment homeowners alike to get accountable, compatible tenants in your rental house and to ensure that all probable liabilities such as pets are properly screened so the rental experience is a good one for both you and your tenants.