Pets policies?

17 Replies

Hello

Plan on acquiring a 2-4 unit multifamily pproperty in the RI/MA area next year. I understand most people have some type of pet wether it's a dog or cat to name a few, what are some policies have you used for pets in your property.

1. What breed do you allow or don't?, and why?

2.  Do you add pet liability to your insurance policy if pets are allowed on site?. If so what is the liability requirement i.e $100k

3. Will the tenant show proof  of "liability insurance"?.

4. Big or small dog?, and do you inspect the dog to see if generally "friendly" and "none aggressive"

5. Do you require extra fee, such as $50 per month on top of rent?, if so is it legal? because I have heard mix reviews on this. 

6. Will you require "pet deposit?" such as $500, if unit has carpet or $100 if tile?, on top of the deposit?. 

7. What other ways do you protect your self besides insurance i.e renters contract stating pets?.

8. Have you ever encounter legal issues because of a pet owner?. 

9. If pets are allowed and I understand some people do not clean after their pets, do you visit your property more?. 

10. What have you done or will do if a tenant brings a pet, and your contract/policies states no pets allowed?. 

Some of it is personal preference. Other parts are state by state law.
Personally I'm a non pet guy. No exceptions...no amount of extra money or sob stories are really going to make me change my mind. (It's easy to say considering I haven't bought my first rental yet!)
There's another post over the last few days about service animals, which are legally treated differently than pets in most cases.

First: I have two dogs & multiple cats. I would never consider living without pets. 

Second: My rentals are "no pets of any kind." That includes rodents, fish, birds, snakes, ferrets, tarantulas, etc. as well as dogs & cats. (My lease has a rather extensive section detailing all prohibited fauna.) I am sick & tired of cleaning & replacing pee-soaked flooring ("Oh, no, precious Fifi would NEVER do that!"), filling holes in the yard & repairing destroyed woodwork. 

When you can purchase your own house, you can have all the pets you want. Until then, it's my way  . . . or your dog can go pee on someone else's carpet.

@kathleen I agree with you that is my concern as well. I heard stories of tenants and their pets.  I guess writing a contract with every pet possible so no one pulls a fast one. 

We allow pets in one of our markets as it is a competitive differentiator. We have 3br units in a region with very little turnover and an anti-pet rental marketplace. By allowing pets we get our pick of the best tenants + increase returns and longevity. 

We charge $100/month extra + 1k increase in deposit. We have 6 doors which have pets in them right now (which we have held between 2-7 years) and so far have had no noticeable pet damage. I'm sure it is only a matter of time. Toddlers though are horrible on our homes! If I could legally allow pets and discriminate on young kids, I would seriously consider it (or at least surcharge them the way I do with pets). I hope it doesn't come off harsh, it is simply a fact of my experience.

I'll happily take all the responsible pet owning tenants that other landlords turn away. They'll pay more money and will usually be long term tenants. The key is to do your due diligence to make sure they are responsible pet owners. This should include references from a vet, up to date shots and a pet interview to determine whether or not the pet is human or animal aggressive. I allow all breeds and  as a long as the pet's temperment is good. If you do allow pets, you should also require the tenant to get renter's insurance which covers the pet.

Very imformative guys, I believe I would do it on a case by case basis after extensive due diligence and etc.  But as far as your insurance company as an landlord/investor, does it cover dog related issues. Lets face it if the unthinkable happen were a tenants dog/cat or any other thing bits another tenant, visitor or young child walking down the street, we all know as the owner/investor/llc of the property you will be sued along side the dog owner by the victim for letter an "aggressive" pet into your property?. How do you protect yourself when all due diligence clears and you allow the pet with clauses?. Animals for the most part are not controllable at some degree, a great dog/cat can bite playing around so how do you protect yourself from lawsuits?. 

@Abou C.  

 Listen to podcast #78.  @Brie Schmidt talks about why she encourages pets.

@Abou C.  Talk to YOUR insurance carrier. You might find they have restrictions in place already. Usually they have a list of aggressive breed dogs that they will not cover you on. Start there. I know pets can be a pain because of the damage they can do, but if you are diligent about quarterly, semi-annual, etc inspections and have a good lease that allows you to not only charge pet deposits, fees and rents, but also allows you to charge for damages found on those inspections, then you will do alright.

As far as people not cleaning up the common areas around them when a pet makes a mess...I have found offering a reward concession to neighbors for telling on a tenant works wonderful. I give the neighbor a one time concession and I charge a damage fee to the offending tenant to cover the cost. Eventually the offending tenants start cleaning up after their pets.

I love pets!!!! We charge either a $50 per fee or one month security deposit. We operate in clad a areas. They all is to charge more, and appeal to a much large market. A great plus is that the vacancies are 0 because finding our houses that allow pets are rare.

Elizabeth Colegrove very true, most places won't allow pets. My partner and I will allow it with due diligence and on case by case basis. 

We don't in MF due to noise.  We started on a case by case basis to allow but the number and size of dogs was in appropriate so we got tenants without them.  Then I thought between unit barking could be an issue. 

For single family we allowed adult tenants pets (not in student tenant rental).  We had pictures , named them in the lease and required proof of liability insurance.  I advertised no aggressive breeds and met the pets. It was not by size frankly I liked the larger dogs better then little yappers. If  I could charge  a higher deposit in RI I would but we can't

@Abou C.   Insurance, as stated above, has some impact. But take that one step further. Some state laws hold a landlord who allows pets at least partially liable for injury caused by a tenant's pet. In some states it even goes further, indicating that if you don't allow pets but should have known of their existence then you are liable. And all of that is in addition to the serious damage that even small pets can cause. Personally I have cleaned up too much filth and disgusting mess behind tenants before owning my own properties to ever allow them. I can sympathize, I like animals. Just not other people's lack of training of their pets.

@Abou C.  

Great topic and great responses so far. We do allow pets for the same reason as other have said, the competitive advantage over other landlords. We get an extra pet deposit of $500 and additional monthly rent of $50. After a 12 month lease this covers the expense of new carpet if we need to replace it. In my experience if someone really wants their pet in their unit, they will have it no matter what you or your lease says. So why not make sure you are getting paid for it. Also, if you say no pets on the lease and find out they have pets you will then have to evict them for violating the lease. In some states this can take months and cost you thousands.

So I have found it is way better for my bottom line to just accept pets and make sure you are getting paid for it.

great points.

hey @collenf I would love to content with tlu about investing in RI.

I think you should allow pets for a fee.  I like what @Shane Pearlman said.  It will make it easier to find tenants.  Just make sure you have a hefty pet deposit and you should be good to go!

Originally posted by @Shane Pearlman:

We allow pets in one of our markets as it is a competitive differentiator. We have 3br units in a region with very little turnover and an anti-pet rental marketplace. By allowing pets we get our pick of the best tenants + increase returns and longevity. 

We charge $100/month extra + 1k increase in deposit. We have 6 doors which have pets in them right now (which we have held between 2-7 years) and so far have had no noticeable pet damage. I'm sure it is only a matter of time. Toddlers though are horrible on our homes! If I could legally allow pets and discriminate on young kids, I would seriously consider it (or at least surcharge them the way I do with pets). I hope it doesn't come off harsh, it is simply a fact of my experience.

I laughed out loud when I read your toddler comment. Even though I do not own rental properties, I am in charge of rental housing for a golf club.  Toddlers and young children will destroy facilities at an astronomical rate.  As far as the pet policy, I would allow them on a case by case basis with your restrictions and policies clearly stated.  

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