In the past few years, there are more people owning pets consequently increasing the demand for rental homes that allow pets. Millions of Americans adopted pets into their family as a result of the recent pandemic. So, having a pet-friendly rental property draws more potential tenants which increases your income and property value.
Since landlords must ensure that tenants have a comfortable and peaceful living environment, the screening process goes beyond just choosing responsible tenants. This would also include being aware of and accommodating tenants’ pet companions. That said, pet screening has shown to be an effective way in achieving this goal.
Campus Connection Property Management put together this article as a guide in evaluating potential tenants and their pets.
Benefits of Pet-friendly Properties
● Attracts a Wider Pool of Tenants
When renting pet-friendly homes, you are also reaching out to a certain demographic that might otherwise pass by your property. Pet owners are increasing in number so establishing a pet screening process also means expanding your tenant pool.
A stable rental income, shorter vacancy periods and improved market value may result from this increasing demand.
● Attract Long-term Tenants
Pet parents tend to be more involved in finding stable and long-term living conditions because of the challenges entailed when moving with animals.
Allowing pets and conducting a thorough pet screening process enhances the possibility of attracting tenants who want to stay long term. Offering this kind of stability promotes a good landlord-tenant relationship and decreases tenant complaints.
● Supporting Responsible Pet Ownership
Pet screening helps you shed light on the potential tenant's level of pet ownership responsibility. You can learn a lot about the pet's upbringing by asking about its breed, age, training history, and behavior patterns.
Responsible pet owners are more likely to be aware of their pet's requirements, so renting your property to them increases the likelihood of a well-kept home and harmonious neighborly relations.
So, what is pet screening, exactly? Like tenant screening, pet screening is the process of evaluating potential renters’ pets before allowing them to rent your home.
It entails compiling thorough data on the pet's personality, training, health, and behavior history, as well as requesting references from prior landlords to assess the pet's track record regarding behavior and property damage.
This screening procedure encourages responsible pet ownership, lowers the chance of property damage and extra maintenance, and fosters open communication between landlords and tenants by enabling landlords to make smart decisions regarding the compatibility of both the pet and the renter for the property.
Conducting Pet Screening Process
The pet screening process includes several steps when collecting pertinent data about a prospective tenant's pet before signing a lease agreement. You can perform the evaluation yourself or hire the services of a property management company such as Campus Connection Property Management.
When you plan to do it yourself as a part-time or full-time landlord, here is a sample questionnaire that could help in checking whether pets and their owners are a good fit for your property.
● What kind of pet and breed do you have?
● What is the weight of your pet?
● How old is your pet?
● How long have you owned your pet?
● Can you provide your pet’s immunization records?
● Can you supply a letter from your vet attesting to the health and immunization records of your pet?
● Has your pet caused harm to a human being or animal?
● Is your pet house-trained?
● Does your pet have any behavioral problems? This could include baring teeth, growling, raising of the hackles, or barking excessively.
● Is your dog neutered or spayed?
○ If not, do you have plans to have it spayed?
● Have you and your dog completed a dog training course?
● Do you keep your dog on a leash when taking walks?
● Do you clean up after your dog?
● How often and how long is your dog left alone inside the house?
● Is your cat neutered or spayed?
○ If not, do you have plans to have it spayed?
● Do you keep your cat inside the house?
● Does your cat utilize a litter box?
● Is your cat registered and has identification?
The pet screening application form can provide you with a great overview of the potential tenant’s pet but sometimes meeting the pet in person is necessary to confirm that the information is accurate.
If you have no prior experience engaging with animals, it is best to leave any interactive screening procedures in the hands of a licensed specialist or a reliable property manager. Acquiring pet damage insurance may also be in your best interest.
Advantages of Pet Screening Services
In general, the Pet Screening process can take too much of your time, so it is usually a good idea to let a property management firm like Campus Connection Property Management handle this for you.
Our team of professionals can help you create a pet agreement policy that will enable you to decide what fees to charge and how to reduce the risk associated with accepting tenants with pets. We will take care of reviewing pet owners’ applications and assess any potential hazards and make sure you're adhering to applicable laws.
Emotional Support and Service Animals
Registered service dogs and emotional support animals are exempted from the pet screening process. The ADA states that “A service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.”
Make sure you familiarize yourself with your local laws because service animal definitions and rights vary from state to state. You can request documentation confirming the need for a service animal but requesting for the pet parent's medical records is considered a violation of Fair Housing laws.
This might cause confusion and uncertainty, so as an alternative, consider hiring a trustworthy property management team to handle the pet screening process. This means letting them take care of approving pets to asking tenants to remove their pets when pet policy is violated.
Renting out a pet-friendly accommodation and conducting pet screening are undeniably a wise choice for landlords seeking a harmonious and profitable rental experience.
By opening your doors to responsible pet owners and implementing a comprehensive screening process, you not only expand your tenant pool but also minimize property damage and build a positive reputation in the rental market.
With careful consideration and a well-structured pet policy, you can create a rental environment where pets and non-pet owners live harmoniously, leading to long-term success for both you and your tenants.
To ensure you are abiding by the FHA and have no prior experience interacting with animals, let Campus Connection Property Management help with your tenant and pet screening process. Contact us today!