Tenant dogs

14 Replies

Hello everyone, I saw this in one of the local FB groups here in Souther California.

How can a landlord protect them self?

Don't allow pets.

or

Maintain a tall, sturdy, fence.

Just because you don't allow pets doesn't mean a tenant wouldn't sneak in a pet. Just because you have a great fence doesn't mean a gate isn't left open or that they allowed the dog in and everything was fine at first. Also, just because some lady named Barbara on Facebook says you can go after the landlord doesn't mean she's 100% right. 

I guess anyone can sue a person for anything even if nothing wrong was done. Be prepared to countersue for costs...IF it even goes that far....although I realize this isn't your situation, you're just asking what if.

Have insurance. If you don't allow pets, have it clearly stated in your lease that is signed by both you and the tenant. If you have a great fence, take pictures of it. Demand proof that the pet is kept up-to-date on shots. Perhaps have a picture of the dog to prove it's definitely a dog you allowed in the home. Perhaps only allow certain breeds of dogs (Although even "nice" ones can attack. My father-in-law's dog was recently attacked by 2 Australian Shepards and it left their dog with drain tubes and a cone for weeks while she healed--lucky she wasn't killed).

305-537-6252

I will chime in - all tenants should be forced to have rental insurance with there pets listed-  breed - has no factor in a dogs behavior.  The little dogs are more likely to bite than the larger breed..  Not allowing pets will limit your tenant potential. It's 2015. Most have pets. Everything these days is geared towards pets. Every commercial.  Yes you are also liable as well as tenant.  Pictures of your fence  and is there any BSLin the town you own your property is in?  Breed legislation law?? 

Your best protection is good insurance. You can be sued by anyone, anytime, for anything. It doesn't mean they will be successful, and if the insurance company is potentially on the hook for 7 figures you can guarantee they will provide you excellent representation. @Nicole W. is right on the money. 

With regard to pets, I don't allow non-fixed pets, require the tenant to list the name, breed, weight and age of the pets, and fix it within the lease to specifically name those pets. 

Just don't allow pet, period! Nothing again per owner, and I do like dog & cat. I just don't like them in my rental properties. Pet, especially dog, can do a lot of damage to the house. They dig holes on your dry wall, chew stuffs, scratch up the floor, and the worst, urinating on the floor or carpet (you will have to replace the whole flooring to get rid of the smell).

Originally posted by @Albert Ng :

Just don't allow pet, period! Nothing again per owner, and I do like dog & cat. I just don't like them in my rental properties. Pet, especially dog, can do a lot of damage to the house. They dig holes on your dry wall, chew stuffs, scratch up the floor, and the worst, urinating on the floor or carpet (you will have to replace the whole flooring to get rid of the smell).

 Two things: in my experience, kids do more damage than dogs. Second, dogs are only poor tenants if their owners are poor tenants. A person who fixes their animals, keeps up with their shots, and doesn't leave them tied up outside or neglected is not likely to have an animal that does those things. I have had many dogs, and none of my drywall is chewed up or my floors pissed on. You can learn a lot about the tenant by discussing their animals. However, I would not likely allow a tenant to get an animal later, unless I really knew the tenant.

While not foolproof, I actually screen the pets (no laughing)... we don't have a talk over the table... but I check if the pet was an issue at prior places and like to see them interact with the owner. 

Also, responsible owners often (not always) have responsible pets. So by screening for good tenants, it is less likely you get Cujo.....

More screening....My insurer won't allow certain breeds, so those are off limits. And I have size/number limits at the condos and I set my own at the 4 plex...

Then you don't have to renew tenants if the pets are a problem. 

Finally, the landlord's policy + umbrella are a good idea. Fences in good repair (check when you mow) help as are functional gates. I even double gated one unit where a utility worker was going back there. 

Overall, I find pet owners good tenants but there are exceptions...

Pets are no longer optional.  Anyone can claim a disability or emotional need and get an animal without your agreeing to it.  If you deny you will be sued. 

You CAN have a pet addendum that requires every animal to be named, pictured, vaccinated and DNA ID'd.  You can require the pet to be under the direct control of the owner at all times, droppings to be picked up immediately, and not cause a nuisance or danger to other residents. You can require local licensing, current vaccinations, and Renter's Insurance. 

All this (and more) should be in writing along with a statement to hold harmless the owner. 

Originally posted by @Curtis Bidwell :

Pets are no longer optional.  Anyone can claim a disability or emotional need and get an animal without your agreeing to it.  If you deny you will be sued. 

You CAN have a pet addendum that requires every animal to be named, pictured, vaccinated and DNA ID'd.  You can require the pet to be under the direct control of the owner at all times, droppings to be picked up immediately, and not cause a nuisance or danger to other residents. You can require local licensing, current vaccinations, and Renter's Insurance. 

All this (and more) should be in writing along with a statement to hold harmless the owner. 

 Thankfully, that nonsense has not spread north yet.

We do not allow pets and our lease is very clear that if we find one, you had better start packing your belongings.

1(506) 471-4126
Originally posted by @Curtis Bidwell :

Pets are no longer optional.  Anyone can claim a disability or emotional need and get an animal without your agreeing to it.  If you deny you will be sued. 

You CAN have a pet addendum that requires every animal to be named, pictured, vaccinated and DNA ID'd.  You can require the pet to be under the direct control of the owner at all times, droppings to be picked up immediately, and not cause a nuisance or danger to other residents. You can require local licensing, current vaccinations, and Renter's Insurance. 

All this (and more) should be in writing along with a statement to hold harmless the owner. 

Then deny them using some other reason. Normally, after screening, you have a couple of ok tenants to pick from. Thus, you can deny by saying "there is a more qualified applicant"

Albert, mistake saying there is a "more" qualified tenant, they either qualify or they don't and you may be under the gun on the first qualified to apply.

I've never really disallowed pets, only issue was a cat that clawed the carpet under a door and that was addressed by the tenant, so no issues. 

As to dogs, I don't just want to see the owner interact, I interact with them as a stranger! That's what I want to know, how they deal with others not the family. :)   

@Albert Ng Yes, you can do that during the screening process but not after they Are already in the unit.  I currently have 2 "emotional support" animals that arrived at least a year after they took occupancy.  One came with a note from a counselor who "prescribed" the animal and told the mother she would turn her over to child protective services if she didn't fill the "prescription".  And there is nothing a landlord can do directly to protect their interest such as pet deposits or extra rent. This is where your "animal" addendum comes into play.

Originally posted by @Bill Gulley :

Albert, mistake saying there is a "more" qualified tenant, they either qualify or they don't and you may be under the gun on the first qualified to apply.

I've never really disallowed pets, only issue was a cat that clawed the carpet under a door and that was addressed by the tenant, so no issues. 

 I don't think you are force to select the first qualified tenant & allow to select best in a pool of tenants. Else, you can just set a really high qualify standard, then lowering it until you catch the first one (most qualified) 

Originally posted by @Albert Ng :
Originally posted by @Bill Gulley:

Albert, mistake saying there is a "more" qualified tenant, they either qualify or they don't and you may be under the gun on the first qualified to apply.

I've never really disallowed pets, only issue was a cat that clawed the carpet under a door and that was addressed by the tenant, so no issues. 

 I don't think you are force to select the first qualified tenant & allow to select best in a pool of tenants. Else, you can just set a really high qualify standard, then lowering it until you catch the first one (most qualified) 

HUD speaks to the first qualified applicant, they don't speak to selections from pools of applicants. Yes, the trick is to have high written requirements with the flexibility in your policy to use compensating factors.

A lease is a contract based on your offer and acceptance, anyone who first accepts your offer who is qualified could cause problems, but granted, most denied walk away. :)  

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