Landlording & Rental Properties

4 Things to Check Before Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Wholesaling, Real Estate Investing Basics
97 Articles Written
4 Things to Check Before Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property

Allowing pets in your rental can be a hassle.

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There are many things a landlord must consider before they approve or deny the tenant to bring their family member (Brutus) along. We have incorporated 4 things to check before approving the rental of your property to a pet lover.

I have always had an open mind about tenants and pets. I have a pet myself (Rocco) and I understand how your animal is a family member, especially if you have kids. Many landlords have had negative experiences with pets and thus tenant that have pets are immediately eliminated from the candidate pool.

I have found that pets are a great way to attract long-term tenants, due to the lack of non-pet-friendly rental units. Once a tenant and his pet find a home they are there for years. On the other side there are some horrible tenant-pet relationships which can cost a landlord thousands of dollars in repairs.

Here are 4 Things to Check before Allowing Pets in Your Rental Property:

Below are the 4 things you need to consider before letting pets in. If you don’t handle these 4 things, you may find yourself in a world of hurt.

1. Pet Interview

This may sound extremely crazy but I love to meet the pet when I meet the prospective tenant.

This is done to evaluate the behavior and mannerisms of the pet. This is more for dogs because normally these are the pets that we find can do the most damage, beside a tenant with a 1000 cats. My property manager or myself always like to see how the tenant engages with his/her pet and vice-versa.

We are looking to see who is in charge. If the owner is having difficulties controlling the pet during the initial meeting there is a strong likelihood that the animal is in charge and not the owner. This can translate into a disobedient pet who can not be trusted alone.

Related: Why Pets Are a “Head-Scratcher” (Hey-Oh!) for Landlords!

2. Longevity of the Relationship

Along with the pet interview we ask detailed questions to gauge how long the owner has had the pet and how much do they have vested in the pet. We ask the questions such as:

  • How long have they had the animal?
  • Are the shot records current?
  • Have your pet been spayed or neutered?
  • Who is the animals veterinarian?
  • Have there been any incidents with previous landlords or neighbors?

By taking all of this information into account it lets the landlord know how the animal is treated by the tenant, and the relationship they have with their pet. The longer the tenant owned the pet the better the animal is treated (generally).

A quick side note: Normally, a pet that have not been spayed or neutered is a hazard, animals are animals and they will multiply if the tenant is not watchful. This is how a tenant can go from 1 pet to 4 very quickly.

3. Veterinarian Follow Up

Verifying this information is essential and this is usually done by speaking to the animal’s veterinarian.

A quick 5 min conversation will give you all the information you need about how the relationship of the owner and the pet, as well as the pets mannerisms and overall health. Some people may think this is a bit excessive but you will not think that way if you visit your property and floor boards and based boards are chewed up, or there is a strong urine odor because the animal is in heat.

4. Property Protection

make sure you have a strong policy about pets.

It is great to incorporate an additional pet deposit, cleaning deposit, and always conduct a walk-through with the tenant prior to moving in. Another thing that is important is to find out for dog owners, is if their dog is strictly an outside animal or inside. If the dog is always outside you have to be aware of what this will do to the lawn “Kill It”.

Related: Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?

Also check with your insurance company about loss coverage for animal damage. Many insurance companies are very particular on what items are covered and what is not regarding pet damage. You do not want to find yourself making costly repairs because your insurance policy does not cover certain damages.


It is essential to ensure all information is outlined with the tenants and that you are ready to accept the challenges if any arise.

I welcome pet owners. Good pet owners are responsible, and they will manage your rental and their pet. By following these 4 simple screening techniques will assist you in finding a long-term tenant that’s a pet lover.

Is there any information that you have in your pet policy that I have not discussed please share.

Marcus Maloney is a value investor and portfolio holder of residential and commercial units. He has completed over $3.3 million in wholesale transactions. Currently, Marcus is a licensed agent who ...
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    Gwen B.
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Two thumbs up! First, if my dog likes your dog, you will likely pass. Second, what the vet says about the pet during health checks. Good behavior? Shots up to date? Clean? Seems to be exercised regularly? Third, previous landlord. Nice if they don’t mind chatting for a minute to make sure there were no issues. Thanks for the great article!
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Gwen, I appreciate the read, I used to be harsh on pet owners but I have a new perspective. “Enjoying the Journey”
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Gwen, I appreciate the read, I used to be harsh on pet owners but I have a new perspective. “Enjoying the Journey”
    John Pearson
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I require an insurance policy, sometimes a rider to a renters policy naming me as additional insured. Some breeds are classified as dangerous breeds are are non-insurable. Grounds for turning them Down.
    Replied over 6 years ago
    John now that is something I need to incorporate an additional rider is excellent for those certain breeds. “Enjoying the Journey”
    Geoff Van Dusen
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Ditto to Gwen’s comments, very insightful.
    Replied over 6 years ago
    Geoff, Thanks, glad to assist fellow Investors. “Enjoying the Journey”
    David Barcomb from Beverly Hills, CA
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Thank you for sharing your insight. I admire your work. Well done!
    Ben Staples Investor from Chicago IL
    Replied almost 6 years ago
    Very informative. Definitely some things I would not have thought of
    Elizabeth McGlone
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I am trying to get a companion dog, for reason I don’t feel need to be expressed here. My place allows pets with a deposit and a higher rent “monthly pet fee”. Now looking over the information out there, most information is for places that don’t allow pets, but not to much information on places that allow them. But I know a companion dog isn’t listed as a “pet”, would I have to pay the deposit and the monthly fee with all my documentation, prescriptions, dr notes, etc?
    Marcus Maloney Wholesaler from Queen Creek, AZ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Elizabeth, I am unsure because laws differ in every state pertaining to service animals.
    Marcus Maloney Wholesaler from Queen Creek, AZ
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Elizabeth, I am unsure because laws differ in every state pertaining to service animals.
    Elizabeth Calleja
    Replied about 2 years ago
    I agree it all depends on the owner. We rent to all breeds. Pit bulls used to be called nanny dogs for a reason. It is only recent that humans have made them aggressive. I volunteer at the local shelter and know that the reason we have such an overpopulation of them is that landlords are not allowing these breeds and owners are having to give them up. The rates of euthanization of healthy, happy dogs has risen exponentially. It’s all about public awareness. I own to pitties and I can tell you they are the gentlest of all my dogs, great with kids. I used to be one of those people crossing the street when I saw a pit. I was so wrong. Hopefully, more property managers will reconsider and we can make all our shelters “no-kill”. No animal should have to die alone on a metal table for doing nothing wrong. 🙁