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Why Pet Screening Is Always a Good Idea

Dora Pinter

It seems everywhere we go nowadays, we see people bringing along their pets. It is no wonder then that the demand for pet-friendly rental homes has skyrocketed. 

If you are a full-time landlord, it would be profitable to welcome tenants with pets. Remaining flexible and practicing an open pet policy can increase your rental earning.

With more people searching to rent pet-welcoming rental units, you could end up with a greater number of potential residents to choose from. This also means performing a pet-screening procedure to ensure the pet is a suitable match for your rental property. 

Pet screening lowers your risk of property damage, potential noise issues, and bad odors brought by pets. That is why screening pets beforehand can provide added protection for you and your rental property.

Advantages of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Home

1. Ending up with long-term renters

Moving to new rentals is the last thing on the mind of a pet owner. As much as possible, they want to avoid losing a place of familiarity for their pets. They always want them to be comfortable and if they are staying in a rental property that offers a habitable environment, then staying long-term is their best option.

2. More tenants to select from

Compared to rentals that do not allow pets, a pet-friendly unit has more interested renters. Though you may offer the same amenities and property features with another landlord, you may differ when it comes to pet policies. 

two people sitting down at a table while one highlights something on a checklist

This results in a steadier cash flow since you have a wider pool to select high-quality occupants from.

3. More responsible residents

Being a caretaker of pets requires a huge responsibility. You need to make time for exercising your pet, scheduling vet visits, and regular feeding. These additional tasks mean that the renter is used to meeting obligations. Thus, they can be reliable renters, too.

What is Pet Screening?

Just like you would need to evaluate the tenant background of a prospective renter, you would also need to do this for pets you plan to allow to stay in your rental space. 

You must be informed about the pet’s background or have a service provider perform the task on your behalf. It is crucial to know the pet’s health and behavior.

It is also best to schedule a meeting in person, request for an application to be completed, and request vital health screening documents.

What is a Pet Screening Process?

You can perform the pet screening by yourself or outsource it to a third party. If you plan to do it by yourself, then you can begin creating a questionnaire to make the process easier.

What is a Pet Screening Application?

Preparing a questionnaire is important to learn the pet’s details. 

two cats hugging each other

Here is a list of the information you will want to obtain:

  • Pet animal and breed
  • Pet weight
  • Pet age
  • Length of pet ownership
  • Proof of pet vaccines
  • Pet house-training
  • Pet behavior issues

For dogs

  • Plans to spay or neuter
  • Dog training class participation
  • Familiarity of dog leash when going out for walks
  • Pet cleanup immediacy

For cats

  • Plans to spay or neuter
  • Familiarity with using a litter box
  • Registration and possession of identification 
  • Information if the cat stays indoors

Once the pet owner submits the application, you can schedule a face-to-face meeting. 

Meeting In-Person

Though the pet manages to check off all the standards based on the application form, you should not solely rely on it. Personally arranging a meeting lets you know if the information on the application form is correctly given.

But when meeting pets, you should not expect much since they can become restless in the presence of new people and new places. The initial meetup may not go as smoothly as you would want. For inexperienced landlords, it is best to let an expert manage the pet interaction as a required step of the screening procedure.

What Pet Clauses Should You Include in Your Leasing Agreement?

If you have decided to welcome pets in your rental unit, you must see to it that pet policies and clauses have a dedicated space in your lease. person petting a dog who's lying on a couch You must include the following:

  • Type of screening performed
  • Types of pets permitted
  • Fees and deposits to be collected under the pet policy, especially damage to any furniture or amenities you may be including in the rental

What Kind of Pets Require Frequent Screening?

Though landlords focus on the assessment of huge dogs, conducting a consistent screening for all other types should be done to reduce the risks and avoid discrimination issues. 

It is also recommended to ask for updated records once the renter is up for lease renewal. It is always best to be aware and have the latest update on the pet’s health to prevent future concerns.

How To Deal with Pet Fees and Deposits

Screening pets entails expenses, and you can recoup the costs through the collection of pet fees. However, you cannot charge service animals. Look through the local laws prior to assigning a pet fee, pet rent, or pet deposit.

In general, there are three types of pet fees that can be charged. Among them are:

  1. One-time fee: Oftentimes, this is a non-refundable fee that’s collected at the beginning of the tenancy. This is the pet coverage over the tenancy period.
    However, some states do not allow landlords to ask for non-refundable fees. These states are California, Hawaii, and Montana. Make sure to know about your local state laws first.
  2. Monthly rent: These are additional fees a pet owner pays aside from the regular monthly rent a renter pays.
  3. Deposit: Apart from the security deposit handed by the renter prior to occupying a rental home, a landlord can collect an extra deposit that will be refunded after the tenancy on the condition that the rental space remains damage-free outside of wear and tear.

Bottom Line

While landlords are hesitant to welcome pets due to the huge risks, a reliable pet-screening process can mitigate it. This can ensure that landlords do not miss a better rental income opportunity.

If you seek to hire a professional to perform pet screening for you aside from other vital property management services, you can contact Service Star Realty today!

Service Star Realty

2929 East Camelback Road #119, Phoenix, AZ 85016

(480) 426-9696

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