Should the Landlord Allow Pets?

Some landlords are pet-lovers themselves and warmly welcome a tenant with pets into the rental property. Other landlords don’t fancy pets and prefer not to rent to tenants with pets. In general, it is up to the landlord whether or not to allow a tenant to have pets in a rental property. After all, it’s still the landlord’s property. However, if you are on the fence about the issue, here are some things to consider before making your decision.

Pets can create unexpected wear and tear at the rental property. For example, if the property is carpeted, pets may destroy or damage the carpets, leading to additional costs to repair or replace carpets more frequently. Pets may also cause damage to screens on sliding doors or cause odors to permeate the rental property which can be difficult to remove. As a tradeoff to the potential damage that pets may cause to the rental property, landlords should take a non-refundable pet deposit from the tenant to cover the additional costs.  The amount of the pet deposit requested should realistically be enough to cover any anticipated repairs.

The landlord should also get the tenant to sign a pet addendum, or a detailed clause within the lease, which clearly lays out what type of pet is allowed. This addendum should address the type of pet, the number of pets, breed, color, name and weight. By being as specific as possible in the pet addendum, the landlord limits the tenant’s ability to bring whatever pet he or she desires in the rental property. If the landlord simply allows the tenant to have a dog in the rental property, the type, size and breed of dog can make a big difference. A pit bull is a significantly larger and more aggressive breed than a Chihuahua. The type of risk that each breed presents with respect to incidents with other animals or injuries to people vary largely.

Furthermore, it would be wise for a landlord to require pet insurance in case any accidents or injuries are caused by the tenant’s animal while the tenant resides in the rental property, and to require the tenant to indemnify the landlord from any damages caused by the actions of their pets. Requiring pet insurance gives the landlord peace of mind regarding any possible liability for injuries caused by the tenant’s animals. A responsible tenant will be willing to have these things in place if he or she really wants to have animals in the rental property.

If the tenant violates the rental agreement with unauthorized pets, the landlord will need to serve the tenant with a 7-Day Notice to Cure. If the tenant fails to remove the unauthorized pets, the landlord would need to file an eviction in county court.