4 months in to the lease and now this... |DIY Landlords

22 Replies

Hi everyone hope all is well.

I built a new house 8 years ago and have maintained it super nice (still looks like new). The beautiful hardwood floors make me happy :)
Anyways, my new tenants, 4 months into the lease have decided to ask me what my policy on pets are, specifically full sizes dogs.
It clear states on the lease that no pets would be allowed and the violation would be big penalty, and we (realtors and I) made it clear to them that this was no pets allowed place.

I emailed him a copy of the lease he signed and the specific section that explains this.

Thoughts/feedback please

My very first tenant snuck a boxer in right after we signed the lease - it totally ruined the hardwood floor in the living room. I'd say no to the dogs in that particular house unless you want to be redoing the floors when they move out.

@Dennis M. & @Dawn P. , i agree. I was considering an 'under 15lb' option and hefty monthly pet rent, but will continue to consider this.  Now I feel like I'll have to keep an eye on the house more...

i love dogs, but ,in my OPINION, their nature is destructive to what we consider 'nice'.

Stick to the no pet policy.  I’d also do a inspection if the property in the coming few days or within a week. Giving the minimum required notice to inspect.  It’s your property they are just renting it.  If you notice anything that says “tenants have a dog”.  IE dog food, dog hair on the couches, backyard looks like a dog lives there, or anything else such as your hard wood floors are showing damage I would send a 3 day quit letter and start evicting them if they don’t dump the dog.  

Sounds harsh I know.  But I run a business.  I don’t run a charity and I also don’t accept people violating the lease.  If they pull the ESA animal thing out of thin air hit me up I have answers for that too

I would follow up in writing and just confirm that they understand that unauthorized animals are not allowed in the property. Get them to respond yes. (use the word animal instead of pet)

I would do a six and twelve month inspection of the property. If the place is close, drive by the next few weeks and look for signs of a dog. Half the time when someone asks about getting a pet, they already have one...

My friend had a big dog which destroyed brand new hardwood in a year and cost them thousands to refinish when they moved. Great dog, it is just big dogs have big hard nails. The same dog came to visit at my house and with one swath scratched my ceramic tile. It was crazy how effortlessly it happened. I love dogs, but despite the best owners they can cause damage.

@Luke H. I would be stopping by every month or two to make sure that they do not sneak in any dogs. If you know any neighbors ask them if they ever see the tenants walk a dog.

@Nicholas L. -thanks for understanding.

@Michael Noto - Thank you!

Account Closed - Awesome information and thanks for letting me hit you up if this continues.

@Joe Splitrock - Exactly, I love dogs, but one nail can do expensive damages.Will do the follow up in writing.

Wow, such great information and finally feeling like someone people on this forum have my side. Geez, so many times I've posted and everyone makes me feel like I'm in the wrong. Hearing this feedback gives me energy to ride my bike and enjoy life instead of working all the time! 

@Luke H.

if your lease says no pets, then no pets. if youare ok with pets, then require a fee and allow pets.

I allow pets, but charge a nonrefundable 450 per pet. I do not collect a pet deposit, as there can be issues as the deposit can only be used for pet damage.

Stick with your lease and follow up quickly before they get a dog. Make it very clear that having a dog would be a violation of their lease and lead to an eviction. Also be sure to mention to them that your floor will not hold up to a dog and would cost them thousands to repair. Sometimes if you explain it to people they'll see that there's a good reason and not that you are just limiting them. Good luck!

If I were you I'd be driving by and doing quarterly inspections. It's very easy to tell if there is a dog there.
Also, be sure to deliver your written response in person, unscheduled. That way you can see if there is already a dog there. You can't do an unscheduled inspection, but you can knock on the door and stick it to the door if they don't answer. If there is a dog you'll probably know as soon as you knock.

what do you all think of this as the follow up written letter:
Re: Pet policy

We have reviewed the lease and after consideration have decided to leave the no pets policy in place as stated in the lease. Please refer to the section in the lease regarding pets and fees for violations.

Please initial here________ and return this letter in the address stamped envelope to acknowledge this information and notification.

Please send any questions to:
PO BOX ###
Dallas, Tx #####

Thank you,
Property Manager

1. No chance they'll return the letter above initialed. Regardless of whether you put a SASE in with it.

2. They may already have the dog so you should have some reason to go by and check things out. If they try to be evasive about when you come by that's a strong indicator.

3. If they don't already have it and are decent people, when you tell them no they'll abide by it, if not they won't. Part of the hazard of owning rentals is these things happen.

4. It's not inevitable that dogs - any dogs - will scratch the hardwood all to pieces. I put a part in the addendum that dog nails are to be kept clipped to prevent damage to floors (all types). It depends if the owners are responsible or not.

5. You already have the hardwoods, so it doesn't matter much, but I don't recommend any new hardwoods in a rental these days. Hardwood floors are too soft because the hardwoods today are quick growth, large grain pattern. They don't have much "hardness" to them unless you get one of the exotics. Old growth hardwood, on the other hand, can put up with just about anything a dog can throw at it other than puddles of urine left in place if there's not a heavy poly coat down. I have old-growth hardwood in some of my rentals that have experienced multiple dogs and you'd never know the difference, because you can barely scratch this stuff if you tried. 

@Luke H. ,

If you have a No Pets Policy then stick to it.  Especially with hardwood floors, it'll be impossible to replace the scratched pieces without tearing apart the entire room.  It's a giant puzzle.

Also factor in the turnover time when you replace the flooring (if needed).  That could be another 1-2 weeks alone!

I love dogs and they typically can be more profit, except puppies.  Never call it a Pet Deposit, deposits are refundable.  You should consider a pet fee and/or monthly pet rent.  But I would not allow pets in a hardwood house, only tile, LVT and carpet.

What should I look for when doing inspection for pets?

@JD Martin ,
1.Joe Split mentioned getting them to sign a letter. I plan to send it, it is worth a try.
2. I plan to drive by more often and do random checks. I think the lease states I have to give them 24hr notice if I want to enter.
5.) what alternatives are available for hardwood floors, for middle/high end rental property?

@Kenny Dahill , yes, i use monthly 'pet rent'.

Originally posted by @Luke H. :

What should I look for when doing inspection for pets?

@JD Martin,
1.Joe Split mentioned getting them to sign a letter. I plan to send it, it is worth a try.
2. I plan to drive by more often and do random checks. I think the lease states I have to give them 24hr notice if I want to enter.
5.) what alternatives are available for hardwood floors, for middle/high end rental property?

@Kenny Dahill , yes, i use monthly 'pet rent'.

Alternatives to hardwood would be the better quality laminate/luxury vinyl. Once you start getting in the $4+/sf range of this stuff you start getting some real tough, virtually indistinguishable product that has the added benefit of easier installation and being waterproof. Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and look at their "Special Order" section of laminate/vinyl plank and you will be floored (no pun intended 😜) at some of the options. I love hardwood and have a lot of it in my own house but when it came time to do my living room I used a high-quality laminate and my wife loves it, so much so she wishes we had done it instead of the hardwood in the back rooms.