As a property owner, it only makes sense that you want to keep your investment as nice as you possibly can – and unfortunately, one of the fastest ways to rack up damages is by having a tenant with an unruly pet.

In many cases, pets produce damage in large part due to poor training from their owners. With that in mind, prior to renting out a unit to a prospective tenant, you will want to ensure whether or not they have any pets – and if so, there are several additional steps that you should take before moving forward with making the lease official.

First, you should ask the prospective tenant a number of questions, such as the following:

  • What type of pet(s) do you have?
  • How long have they had the pet?
  • How old is the pet?
  • Where did they get the pet?
  • Has the pet ever caused any damage to previous property?
  • Has the pet ever bitten a human or another animal?
  • Is the pet up to date on all shots / vaccinations?
  • Who will care for the pet when the owner is away?

It is also a good idea for you to meet the pet in person. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. One is that you can observe the pet in general. You will also be able to determine how the prospective tenant interacts with the pet. In this case, if the individual doesn’t seem to have any type of control over the pet, then it is likely that the property may attain some future damage.

If, however, all seems to be on the up and up, then you should move forward with the rental. In that case, be sure that you include a pet policy in the lease. This should be made clear, in writing, in the lease itself, and it should include the following:

  • A refundable pet deposit (usually $200 – $400)
  • Expectations of the pet owners (such as all dogs must remain on a leash, and all “accidents” must be cleaned up immediately)

Working with a property manager can often make this process easier. We can walk you through the best way to work with all types of tenants – as well as how to deal with tenants who may not always follow through with the agreements they make. Give us a call if you’d like more information on how to get the most out of your investment property.