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Why Largo Landlords Should Have a Pet Screening Procedure

Two Happy Residents with their Cute Dog

Landlords are often reluctant to allow pets to reside on a rental property. However, this doesn’t need to be the situation if you learn more about why Largo landlords should have a pet screening procedure in place. A pet screening procedure will allow landlords and investment homeowners to rest assured that allowing pets isn’t always a bad decision.

Assistance/Service Animals

At Real Property Management TradeWinds we guarantee that the properties under our management are considered equal opportunity housing, and we accommodate a huge array of potential tenants. However, it’s lesser known that although there are various kinds of tenants, there are also many types of service animals which are legally permitted in a rental home.

Under the Fair Housing Act and American with Disabilities Act, support animals are permitted on any property if they are enrolled as a service animal for a handicap, which is defined by the FHA as “a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities.” Thus, even if you do not wish to own pets around the rental property, you are required by law to provide “reasonable accommodation” to renters with assistance and support animals.

This is an important thing to remember because you do not want to become trapped in a legal battle for turning away a tenant and their assistance or service animal. By having a screening process in place, you’ll be able to ask for documentation from a doctor or therapist that acknowledges the animal is an assistance animal.

Contact Past Landlords

Among the best screening processes when allowing pets on your rental property is to contact past landlords. After all, pets can have references too. These inquiry calls will give you a better understanding of whether the animal ever caused damage to the property, interrupted the peace of neighbors, or caused additional issues.

This is one of the best ways to help you choose whether you want to rent to potential tenants. Don’t hesitate to rent to a tenant with a medium or large sized dog due to unfounded fears. The dog might be a big bully in your mind, but it could turn out to be a big teddy bear that makes your tenants and their neighbors more happy than annoyed.

Include Pet Riders in Lease Agreement

Another essential step in the pet screening process is to incorporate a pet rider in your lease agreement. This requires that the animal’s presence in the house be accounted for in terms of property damage. Many landlords will incorporate a pet addendum if their existing tenants want to obtain a pet after they’ve transferred in, but it is best to have a pet rider in the original lease.

Some basic elements that 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 produce any damages during its stay
  • Vaccination List: have the tenant include type and date of vaccination

Having your tenants sign a legally binding pet rider, ensures that no extra pets live at the property without your approval. This lawful rider will make sure that if any curve-balls are thrown your way, it’s the obligation of the tenant to make certain that the problems are managed correctly.

Take Photos of Pet

Another vital step in the pet screening procedure is to take photographs of the pet. Imagine your surprise when responding to a maintenance call only to discover that the little Chihuahua that your tenant signed for is really a Great Dane.

Taking a photo is an easy way to quickly record details about the animal such as the breed, its measurements, unique markings, and any other important information about the pet. This can help ensure that one pet does not turn into three and that a little dog does not end up being a much larger problem.

Do More Business

Ultimately, having a pet screening policy makes it possible to do more business. While you might shy away from allowing non-assistance animals on your property, many potential tenants look for single-family-homes to rent over apartments because they own a pet. You can also make extra money if you decide to charge a rent for the pet in addition to the tenant’s monthly rent.

Many times, pet owners are more responsible than your normal tenant. If they have trained their pet, find appropriate care for their pet when they’re gone, and do not want to leave their pet due to rental fees, then this might be the kind of tenant you want on your premises. While this is not true for all pet owners, it’s something to consider when screening both tenants and pets.

When you rely on Real Property Management TradeWinds for your property management services, you will find that we do more than just respond to repair calls. We help investment homeowners find responsible tenants for their rental property and ensure that all possible liabilities, such as pets, are properly screened so that the rental experience is a good one for both property owners and their tenants.

Start enjoying the benefits of having a pet screening procedure today! Please contact us online or call us at 727-400-4722 for more information.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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