No Pets?

26 Replies

I'm sure no one has ever had this happen.  I got through showing the property and hand the prospective tenants their rental app, and she looks at me and says, "oh, there's no pets?  I have a cat."  

Ugh.  

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@Chris Buesing  So what did you end up doing?  In my rental agreement i have no pets in/out of the home. My thought now is what if i am missing out on good tenants who may stay longer because i allow pets?  I could charge a per pet fee to add to my bottom line per month and collect a pet deposit upfront incase of damages. 

You are lucky, I wish I had that happen.

Once I rented to a guy who applied claiming to be single living alone. He came alone to sign the lease and get the key on day 1. On my drive home, I realized I forgot to leave him a copy of his signed lease. I called and texted him to tell him I was on the way to drop off a copy but no answer.

I get back to the rental about 30 minutes after we originally signed the lease. He opens the door and a full grown pitbull comes out of the house to sniff me. His son runs down the stairs yelling "Daddy! Daddy! I like the stairs!" His buddy that I have never met is drilling holes in the wall installing blinds.

He says "Oh, meet my son and my dog, they will stay with me from time to time. And that's my buddy Patrick. We work together and he's going to crash in the spare room."

@David Chwaszczewski For the first time I am allowing pets and charge a $250 non-refundable pet fee, (the word deposit implies they can get it back) to offset the cleaning costs at the end of their tenancy. I also charge an additional $20 in rent per month. I'm not sure if it will cause the tenants to stay longer, and I am also concerned about additional wear and tear on the property, but I decided to try it out and see.

@Chris Buesing It's a good thing they told you up front. 

That's what non refundable application fees are for. 

"Oh, you totally ignored me when I said no pets and wasted my time anyway? I'm keeping your $35, please take your cat and go."

@Account Closed that would only encourage more people to lie.  Better to reward them for being upfront by refunding the app fee, rather than for them to lie to every landlord they encounter after that.  

OR, the OP might decide to work with the tenant (since she was honest, after all), to accept the cat, with whatever given parameters they agreed on, like pet rent or increased security deposit.  

So many tenants will lie about having pets (because it's hard to find a landlord who will accept them), that when you find one who is honest, they may be worth keeping because they could end up being a great tenant.  

Originally posted by Account Closed that would only encourage more people to lie.  Better to reward them for being upfront by refunding the app fee, rather than for them to lie to every landlord they encounter after that.  

OR, the OP might decide to work with the tenant (since she was honest, after all), to accept the cat, with whatever given parameters they agreed on, like pet rent or increased security deposit.  

So many tenants will lie about having pets (because it's hard to find a landlord who will accept them), that when you find one who is honest, they may be worth keeping because they could end up being a great tenant.  

 I can understand accepting pets, but, do not do it because the tenant lied to you. This is not a way to start a relationship. You lie to me, you're automatically disqualified from all of my property forever. It should be pretty obvious when somebody brings in an unapproved animal, if you do any sort of inspections. If they are successful at hiding the animal from you, then, I guess the animal wasn't really a problem to begin with.

I've never heard of an application fee that was refunded because somebody wasn't qualified. That's the whole point, it weeds out the tire kickers. Most people won't bother to lie about their pet when they realize they might lose $25-75 over it.

I have pets too, but let's be honest, most cats will damage property to some degree. You do not train a cat, the cat trains you.

It is very possible to serve a niche where other landlords do not, allowing pets, but be sure to get extra rent and extra deposits.

@Account Closed 's post is that the tenant didn't know that pets weren't allowed until after she saw it on the application.  Maybe she didn't read the whole ad, or maybe she just forgot (you read a lot of rental listings when looking for an apartment), but from the way Chris wrote his post, it sounds like the prospective tenant genuinely didn't know there were no pets allowed.  

She wasn't lying; she was telling the truth.  That's why it's worth refunding any app fee, if she even got to that point to begin with.  

As for cats damaging the property, I have 2 cats and they haven't damaged anything.  When I bought this place though, the kids who lived here had drawn on the walls with crayons, spilled nail polish on the hardwood floors, and dropped small toys down the tub drain.  

So let's be honest: most kids do more damage than most pets.  

Originally posted by :

So let's be honest: most kids do more damage than most pets.  

I've had the pleasure of a post-pet 25K renovation {inherited tenant} that would challenge that assumption.

In either instance the problem is typically the tenant (pet-owner / parent) and not the child or pet themselves.

Originally posted by Account Closed:

@Ryan Roberts my understanding of @Chris Buesing 's post is that the tenant didn't know that pets weren't allowed until after she saw it on the application.  Maybe she didn't read the whole ad, or maybe she just forgot (you read a lot of rental listings when looking for an apartment), but from the way Chris wrote his post, it sounds like the prospective tenant genuinely didn't know there were no pets allowed.  

She wasn't lying; she was telling the truth.  That's why it's worth refunding any app fee, if she even got to that point to begin with.  

As for cats damaging the property, I have 2 cats and they haven't damaged anything.  When I bought this place though, the kids who lived here had drawn on the walls with crayons, spilled nail polish on the hardwood floors, and dropped small toys down the tub drain.  

So let's be honest: most kids do more damage than most pets.  

 Maybe I misread the original post, but I stand by what I said. I charge an application fee, but in my office I call it the "idiot fee". If you are dumb enough to not bother reading the ad before you waste my time, then you owe me a few bucks for taking the time to show it to you. 

Maybe if I made a mistake and the ad wasn't very clear, I might consider refunding, but not because they made a mistake. It's not a huge fee anyway.

As for kids, yeah, I would prefer not to rent to them also, unfortunately that is not legal. Not every cat will destroy things, but many will, and the tenant always tells you what a wonderful angel their pet is - usually it isn't. Same thing with kids, everybody thinks theirs are the best, sometimes they are not.

I used to have a cat that was very well behaved, and never destroyed anything. After she turned 20, she became incontinent, and had to live in my garage. She peed on everything, she just couldn't control it. She lasted another year like that, and I don't think the cat pee smell will ever fully go away. It wasn't the cat or the owner's fault, but if I had a landlord he would not be happy.

If you decide to allow pets, it would be a great idea to ask the tenant to visit them at their current residence to meet the pet. Look for obvious pet damage while you are there.

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I allow pets in most of my rentals. I get better tenants who stay longer. I don't allow dogs in upstairs units (cats are ok). And I limit pets to 2 total in my multifamily units, in SFR quantity is on an individual basis (if someone had 3 older, low energy dogs and a cat that would be fine, for example).

One property, for example, in a coastal Oregon city where the rental market sucks for renters I rent out a 3 bedroom SFR for $300 more than average 3 bedroom house because I allow large dogs and no one else does. Plus I have tons of applicants anytime I have an opening.

I've never had a pet ruin a unit, the worse that happens is pet smell and that can be taken care of usually by just shampooing the carpet.

I do require that dogs and cats be over 6 months old to avoid house training issues, be vaccinated against rabies and dogs must be licensed.

I have clauses in my pet addendum that says dogs cannot be left chained outside, dogs cannot bark so much as to annoy a reasonable person, dogs and cats must be friendly towards other animals and people and a few other things.

@David Chwaszczewski Good question.  Account Closed about the tenant lying, especially starting the relationship which would be a horrible precedent, I used personal judgement to override this and it has worked out so far.  

On the property I am showing now, I would actually more readily accept pets since the condition isn't so great, especially flooring and trim compared to the other properties I have.  I hear what others are saying about the bonuses, so I guess my point is, there are always exceptions.  I haven't explored it though, except by accident.  

I have had and do have dogs and cats. They have all been good pets and well trained. They have had accidents on the carpets when left alone too long or in the case of cats when they get upset with us for any reason. The dogs claws are kept trimmed but have still scratched the hard wood floors.

Urine smell can never be removed from carpets or around walls and base boards by cleaning as it soaks into the sub floor.  It will always stink when it is very humid out. Based on the minimal damage my home has incurred there is no pet damage deposit that would come close to repairing the damage and in my opinion the damage is relatively light. I would never allow pets in my rentals.

Originally posted by @Roger Vi :

You are lucky, I wish I had that happen.

Once I rented to a guy who applied claiming to be single living alone. He came alone to sign the lease and get the key on day 1. On my drive home, I realized I forgot to leave him a copy of his signed lease. I called and texted him to tell him I was on the way to drop off a copy but no answer.

I get back to the rental about 30 minutes after we originally signed the lease. He opens the door and a full grown pitbull comes out of the house to sniff me. His son runs down the stairs yelling "Daddy! Daddy! I like the stairs!" His buddy that I have never met is drilling holes in the wall installing blinds.

He says "Oh, meet my son and my dog, they will stay with me from time to time. And that's my buddy Patrick. We work together and he's going to crash in the spare room."

 Wholyyy......

This is unbelievable.  Please tell me what you ended up doing???

Until the time comes that opening up my rentals to pets gives me a marketable advantage towards finding good tenants, I will never allow pets.  At least in my market I ask myself, why?  There is no shortage of tenants, so why open up my newly rehabbed property to an element of unknown?

Here in Ontario you can't charge a pet deposit. You can't evict for pets, no matter how many times they chew the baseboards or piss on the laminate. Good luck trying to get an order to pay for pet damages. Every pet is their owner's little angel. My first rental property was responded first by 5 pet-owners clearly ignoring the no-pets statement in the ad and emailing me about how wonderful their three dogs are, or their 6 month old shepherd, or their two old cats.

Somehow the Ontario govt seems to think that not allowing pet deposits or evicting for pets is protecting people. All it does is completely close my doors to pet people. That feels awful for me because I AM a pet person. ...and let me tell you, they are little angels. Ha!

NO PETS.

It is extremely difficult in Ontario because we are not allowed to have a no pet clause in our lease. Ontario tenants are very well educated on the law and know they can lie up front about having pets and once they have possession simply bring them in. No pet or damage deposits allowed in Ontario. This is one of those "tenant friendly codes" in Ontario law. They force us to take pets then deny us the right to collect for damage they cause.

To get rid of pets after the fact landlords must be very resourceful as there is nothing "legal" we can do.

 I wonder if a landlords pet cemetery would be a good business investment. 

@Greg S. , you are incorrect in two fine details. 

1) You are NOT forced to take pets. You ask if they have pets, they say yes, you tell them to go away.

2) You MAY put a no-pets clause in your lease... you just can't enforce it ;) This at least keeps the good guys honest.

...But yeah, a tenant can simply lie to you and move in with a pile of pets and your only recourse is the local pet bylaws limiting them to some "reasonable" number.