Pet Restrictions

17 Replies

I am renting a unit and have had a series of would be tenants with large dogs. One had a 50 lb lab, the other a 60 lb German Shepherd. They both asked why I limit dogs to 20 lbs only, and pretty much asked what could possibly go wrong with their little darlings in the unit. I said large dogs do damage and landlords in my province can't collect damage deposits or easily recover the costs of damage. I am looking to protect my property and I will have restrictions but I wonder what limits other landlords have. Mine is no more than two cats and no more than one dog under 20 lbs. Do these limits sound about right? What criteria are others using?

I have a cat, but hate renting to people with them. I know how destructive mine is to my house so I also know how destructive their's will be to not their house.

I restrict dogs to small size as well. I want something my handyman can punt over a fence if it tries to bite him. I absolutely do not rent to people with any of the dogs on the insurance list. I figure if they are dumb enough to get that type of dog while being a tenant, they are too stupid for me to do business with.

These are good points although I have not had trouble with cats. You do wonder thought what is going through tenants' heads when they acquire very large animals and seem geniunely surprised that this could ever be a problem.

I have a 100 lb black lab. We also have a cat. If anyone were renting to us, they SHOULD be far, far more concerned with the cat.

I would MUCH rather allow a tenant one large dog than 2 cats.

In practice, I allow both. But I can and do charge a pet fee. For SFR residences in my area, the ability to have pets is definately assumed, and so the market basically requires it.

That is interesting. Condo buildings, especially high rises, have limits on dogs by weight and it is often 20 or 25 lbs or so. I had always assumed it was because the apartments were too small for anything else and that there were concerns about the dog urinating etc. throughout the apartment. Where I am you can't collect damage by law, you can't charge pet rent, and you can't get damages from tenants without a herculean run around. So the most cautious thing to do is not let tenants in with large pets. I have had cats for many years without problems. They seem to be very clean animals, but I am sure there are counter examples.

We actually bought our investment property with the intent of catering to tenants with a well-trained large dog. We had to rent for a while, ourselves, with our 75-lb lab and found that this market is sorely needed and tenants will stay longer if they have less choice in moving. Our homes have large fenced backyards, and we advertise "well-trained family dog considered, no puppies or "outside" dogs." If you meet the dog and it is well-trained, well-behaved towards you, and not aggressive, then you are usually getting a very good tenant in the bargain. I used to meet the dog before signing the lease, then allow only that pet written into the lease. My PM now will meet them as we had an issue when she didn't (turned out to be a breed restriction), and it seems to be working well so far. Someone here on these forums requires vet records to guarantee breed and up-to-date vaccinations, and I love that idea. My insurance list applies (so no pit bulls, etc., even though I have friends who have wonderful pit bulls that they've rescued.) If you've ever been in a home destroyed by cat urine, you will likely never allow cats again. Small dogs, in my experience, are more aggressive and likely to bite, and their owners are less likely to make sure the dog does his business outside, thinking it's a little to pick up or think using those pads they sell for indoor use is okay. It's not. But I don't care about size as much as training. Puppies can cause way too much damage in their growing stage, so I do not allow puppies of any kind, large or small.

Small dogs can do plenty of damage. There are lots of larger dogs who are actually great for apartment/rental living because they're couch potatoes. One breed would be the Greyhound. Sure, they're known for racing, but these dogs actually lay around most of the day.

It's the owners you need to worry about. Cats naturally are clean animals. If they are peeing outside the litterbox, it is because the box is never cleaned by the owner, the cat is sick, or the cat is not neutered (males).

I require any cat or dog be spayed or neutered and to show paperwork that it's done. I can't believe how many people I talk to tell me about their pet and then when I ask if it's fixed, they say "no". FIX YOUR PETS!

Many people let small dogs get away with unwanted behaviors such as aggressiveness and barking. If a big dog was doing that, it'd be deemed dangerous, but they laugh at the small dog exhibiting same behaviors. It's not funny.

I think it's important to meet with the family and pets. See how they live. See how the pet acts. If it's a dog who jumps on you to greet, do they correct the dog? And does the dog listen? Is the house clean?

We simply do not allow pet dogs at all, regardless of size. Dogs of any size are capable of barking, biting, digging, peeing, chewing, etc.

We do allow cats, and have not had any problems with them. We also have cats ourselves, and I grew up with cats, and we never had one issue with any of them "damaging" our homes in any way, maybe because we make them go outside to do their "business" and they've all been fixed.

I agree with @Nicole W. that cats are clean, and it's the owners you need to worry about. If the owners are clean, responsible people, their cats will be too. This is related to the reason we always check out a prospective tenant's car when they come to view our unit - if they keep their car clean, they typically keep their home clean.

No cats. I allow any dog that is friendly. They need to bring the dog when they apply. I do not know why some people restrict the size of a dog. I have never seen any correlation between size of a dog, and size of damage.

Originally posted by @Nicole W.:

I require any cat or dog be spayed or neutered and to show paperwork that it's done. I can't believe how many people I talk to tell me about their pet and then when I ask if it's fixed, they say "no". FIX YOUR PETS!

Excuse me for my ignorance, as I've never had a dog or cat, but what effect does fixing your pet have? Does it make them less likely to tear up your place?

I would allow the lab but not the shepherd. No cats, partly due to damage but mostly due to my severe allergy and our general dislike of them. I would rather have large dogs than small, small have always ruined our carpeting. Large is a bigger safety concern in an emergency situation though. I always meet pets first, to assess friendliness and breed (pits can be called a lot of things but they look like pits). I've started using the word animal instead of pets on everything - people evidently don't think of their reptiles, birds, and little furry critters as pets. Fixing pets will calm them down, but will also prevent you from facing a litter of puppies in your unit. Been there, done that too.

No pitbulls. Im pretty open to everything else.

@Bryce Y. Getting your pet fixed can make them more calm. But mostly it prevents from marking. Also, I don't need a tenant to lie to me about their "indoor" cat, that of course "accidentally" got out and now is pregnant. Now it's one cat to a litter. We have enough animals needing a home in this world already because of people who don't fix their cat/dog and then let them run around.

@Michele Fischer I can get if you think cats cause a lot of damage because of your past experience, however, isn't it a bit unfounded to not allow cats based on the fact that you simply don't like them? You aren't living there. Could go the same for allergies. You're not really spending time there. Like I said before, it goes back to the owner usually. If a cat is causing damage to your units, it's because the owner is doing something wrong such as not cleaning their litter box, not caring for the animal's health, and not getting it fixed.

@Stephen E. I have tried so hard to avoid allowing animals of any kind into my apartments, but in Denver it seems that almost every applicant for my vacancies is a pet owner. So, I have backed off my original no pets stance. I have a few rules though

#1 - I always have to meet and interact with the animal before approval.

#2 - They have to be under 20 lbs.

#3 - Any feces on the property has to be promptly picked up and removed.

#4 - An extra pet deposit.

and many times just as a courtesy to the other tenants in the complex I will take their comfort and happiness with the situation into account

We don't allow pets and make rare exceptions with a pet deposit. Having said that still some times we have to turn a blind eye towards paying tenants if we find out about them keeping a pet, then we ask for pet deposit right away.

I allow up to 2 cats and one dog of any size/breed but I require a hefty pet deposit so I'm covered if the animal(s) do any damage and the tenants get their deposit back if they have a well behaved pet.

We allow pets. We charge either $50 a month in pet rent or one months security deposit as a pet deposit. Honestly our biggest niche is allowing animals. In our area there is already a "need" for houses and trying to find one with pets is even harder.

@Nicole W. , figured I'd take a little flack for my comment, and that was my toned down version. I am in the units for periodic maintenance inspections and I do the majority of the cleaning between tenants, so I am in the units enough to be very bothered by cat hair. Pets are not a protected class, so I can set my pet policies on any reasoning I want, and deal with any financial consequences of narrowing my applicant pool. :)

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