Should a no pet policy to include pets in tanks...Fish, etc.

4 Replies

I currently have a no pet policy.  I had a potential tenant ask if this policy included a "bearded dragon"...small lizard that is kept in a tank.

Does anyone have any experience with pets of this nature?

I'm wondering if I should consider things like fish, lizards, etc.... differently than a traditional pet such as a cat / dog.

These types of pets can can easily be neglected and their tanks could smell (I HATE SMELL)...Am I overreacting on something this small?  A pet like this warrant an additional pet fee?  An additional deposit?

Also wondering from a legal stand point if this type of pet Is something I'm willing to consider, should I change my advertising as negotiable and have a list of acceptable / non acceptable pets?

By the way I am a dog person, just OCD clean...I just don't trust others to take care of their pets in one of my homes.

Thanks everyone!


It probably is a bit extreme. In many areas a "zero pets" policy severely limits your renter pool, including at the higher end of the income spectrum - aka it limits how high of rents you can charge. Higher income renters tend to want to have pets.

Make sure you understand the difference between a pet an an assistance animal (which is not a pet). It doesn't sound like you're currently in that situation, but many landlords do not understand the difference and get themselves into trouble.

pet restrictions are all about managing damage to the property and lawsuits from the harm they do to others (visitors and neighbors). 

Carpet, Paint, scratching, urine all reasons to charge fees ensuring compensation is equivelant.

Limited breeds or types of animals can reduce the risk of a lawsuits.

Decide what level of risk you are comfortable with.

@Ben Wernert I’ll start by saying the issue with a fish tank is not the fish itself, but if the tank leaks/breaks that is a lot of water in one area. The other item is if you start to say, well tenant A can have a pet but tenant B cannot I would just keep a standard policy in place that applies to all tenants and just be upfront, i.e. yes you can lizards/snakes but no cats, dogs, gerbils etc. also, make sure you don’t call a pet fee a deposit, a deposit is refundable while a fee is not.