Allowing pets into your rental properties can be described as a calculated risk. You see, there is always the odd chance that a cat, dog, or other pet may cause damages to the interior or other elements of your rental unit.
On the other hand, the Humane Society found that 72% of all American renters are pet parents, therefore, all-out prohibiting pets in your property can have some consequences.
Of course, you can always minimize your risk but adding a pet screening process during tenant screening and also laying down some ground rules for pets on your properties. You might even consider adding monthly fees to the rent for allowing pets.
Do you like the sound of this idea? Well, let’s briefly go over how pet screening works to help you decide whether it is a good idea or completely useful.
What Is Pet Screening and How Does It Work?
When a potential renter sends you an application, you can also include a pet screening application with the usual human one. Similarly, you can also design an application that can be handed out to current tenants when they are planning on getting a pet.
Pet screening applications, also referred to as pet resumes, are a collection of all the basic information about the pet, including:
● Their name, breed, size, and quantity
● Photos of the pet
● Their veterinary information
● Their registration information
● History of aggressive or destructive behavior
● Known training certificates
● Your renters’ insurance policy (if required)
Typically, you need to try to extract as much information about the pet as possible. What you choose to do with this information is totally your choice. According to these Portland property managers, you could use the information to allow or reject pets on your property or maintain a file about pets in the event that any inconvenience does occur.
Service vs. Emotional Support Pets
There may be instances where a landlord or property manager cannot require potential tenants to ask for pet applications during the screening process. This is when a pet, typically a dog, is the service pet for a disabled individual.
If a disabled individual makes you a reasonable request to accommodate their service pets, it is highly unethical to require deposits or to charge them a higher fee for the animal. However, you should keep in mind that this pet should still meet the state’s requirements for vaccinations and pet registrations.
If the animal passes the qualifications of a service animal as set by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) there can only be one way this animal can be banned or restricted by property owners or managers. This will only be possible if the pet is a natural threat to the safety or health of other tenants.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has also published some guidelines for emotional support and service animals. These regulations fall in line with the guidelines provided by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the FHA. If you have any questions, you can refer to their literature to determine whether a pet is a reasonable accommodation or not.
Understanding how and when you can screen pets according to the ADA and FHA can keep your rental property business on the right side of the law while also offering a great rental experience to tenants.
If you’re looking forward to offering these distinctive services you can always delegate these tasks to your property manager or hire the right professionals for the task at hand.
If you haven’t hired a property manager already, click here to learn more about our services and how an experienced property manager can share some of your burdens.