rental pet policy

rental pet policy

Having a pet friendly rental lease agreement could provide you with much bigger pool of tenants for your Silicon Valley properties.   A 2003 study reported that having pet friendly rentals brought higher rents, longer length of stay.  In fact, rentals with pet policy averaged 48 months compared to 18 month.

Bottom line is that rentals properties that permit pets, have lower vacancy rates as compared to rentals that prohibit pets.

But does allowing pets have a down side as well?  Most rental property owners are concerned about the physical damage to the property in addition to complaints from nose and odor.  The other draw back for pets is the insurance requirements specially if the dog is an aggressive breed which might attack other tenants or neighbors.

This is why you need to develop an approach to your pet policy on a case by case basis.

The Breed Selection:  Size and weight limits on dogs are a common method “blacklisting” certain animals or breeds. Other rental property owners forbid some animals. For example, specific breeds of dogs considered aggressive will be excluded, and often include:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Boxer
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Pit Bull
  • Siberian Husky
  • Rottweiler
  • Papillon
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Jack Russell Terriers

You can also prohibit  more exotic and unusual animals such as :

  • Large Snakes or Pythons
  • Poison Dart Frog
  • Boa Constrictor
  • Alligator
  • Caiman

These animals are considered dangerous, and could pose a significant threat to property and to people if they were to escape. Other pets, such as certain rodents and insects, could cause an infestation if they were to break free of their enclosures. Some pets, such as birds, could cause noise problems.

Excluding certain pets offers a bright line rule and seems like a simple and easy policy to enforce. However, your list could get rather lengthy, and you could inadvertently eliminate some great tenants.

Finally your pet policy should include:

  • Identification: Clearly state that you will allow only tenants’ pets.
  • Pet Fee: Based on our client’s requirements,  we some times charge a pet fee or pet deposit.   Pet Deposit is refundable but a pet fee is not.
  • Poicy Violations: Make it clear that if the  pet policy is violated you have the option to have the tenant remove the pets and terminate the lease.
  • Code Compliant:  Some jurisdictions require the pets to be registered.  And you should ask your tenants to register their pets if the local government requires it.  require that dogs, cats and other pets be properly licensed, as required by local ordinance. Require that vaccinations are kept up to date. Ask for supporting documentation.
  • Responsibility: Pet owners must be held responsible for the clean up after their pets.  Feces, urine, infestations, cat litter or any other mess have to be removed and the unit has to be returned to it’s orginial condition.  Require chain or leash on animals when they are outside and document the requirements for these pets to be spayed or neutered.
  • Insurance: Require your tenants with pets to carry renters insurance that covers damage caused by pets.  You can also use this insurance to cover additional liability suits if your tenants dog harms someone else.
  • Damage and Refundable Deposit: You can require a damage deposit should take into account any possible pet damage.
  • Changes: Allow for changes to the pet policy at any time (or with 30 days notice).

Having a pet-friendly Silicon Valley rental will reduce your vacancy and tenant turnover rates.  Contact us if you need help with a Pet Policy for your San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos and Sartoga rentals.