Pets are a concern that most homeowners have. In general, you have to understand that over 60 percent of the rental population has pets. So when you say no to pets, you’re cutting your market by more than half. It will take longer to rent out your property, and you may rent it for less. So, there’s a cost in not renting to people with pets.
Property Management Phoenix: Establishing Restrictions
Instead of eliminating pets, restrict them. Put restrictions on size and breeds. Usually, your insurance company will limit breeds as well. See what they won’t cover, and defer to that when you’re allowing or not allowing pets. Maybe you’ll want a pet under 20 or 30 pounds or dogs but not cats. Think about how you’ll treat goldfish. Fish should be considered pets, especially if there’s a 500 gallon aquarium that could cause a lot of damage.
Service Animals: Not Pets
All bets are off when there is a service animal needed by one of your tenants. A service animal or assistance animal is not a pet. The government doesn’t look at them as pets, and you can’t treat them as pets. You cannot charge a pet deposit or pet rent. If you do, you’re infringing on their rights according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those are some fine lines you have to walk. You may not agree that a pit bull is a comfort animal, but you have to allow it when there’s a legitimate need.
Document All Pets
It’s best to make sure your documentation is detailed. Know the names, weight, and breed of pets. Ask for pictures of the pet so you know it’s the same animal you approved. You don’t want to approve a Chihuahua in one property and then two years later find the same tenant with a Rottweiler. Pictures and documentation make a difference.
So, keep a few things in mind. Assistance animals are not pets and you need to document what your restrictions are for pets. That way, you aren’t eliminating the market, you’re simply controlling it.