Many landlords are concerned about allowing pets to reside on a rental property. However, when you learn why Raleigh landlords should have a pet screening procedure in place, you can rest assured that you are making a good decision.
At Real Property Management Raleigh, we ensure that the properties we manage are equal opportunity housing, and accommodate a wide variety of potential clients. However, many landlords don’t know that just like there are many types of residents, there is also a variety of animals that are allowed on the property by law.
Under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, assistance and service animals are permitted on any property if they are registered as a support animal for a disability, which is defined by the FHA as “a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities”.
So even if you have told residents that they are not permitted to own pets on your property, you are still required to give “reasonable accommodation” to residents with support animals. Service animals administered by the ADA are legally allowed anywhere and are defined as a dog or miniature horse that has been trained to do work to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.
This is an important differentiation to make as you do not want to find yourself caught up in a legal matter by turning away a resident and their assistance or service animal by confusing it with a pet. However, by having a screening process in place you can determine if it is an assistance animal by asking for documentation from a doctor or therapist that acknowledges that the residents’ animal is an assistance animal.
Contact Past Landlords
One of the screening hints when allowing pets in your rental property is to contact landlords, pets may have references. This will offer you a better understanding of whether the animal ever caused harm to the house, disturbed the peace of neighbors, or caused any other problems.
This is a quick and easy way to help without turning a resident away guide you in your decision. Do not be scared to lease to a resident with a large or moderate sized dog as a result of unfounded fears. The big bully in your thoughts could really be a big teddy bear which does more to make your residents and neighbors joyful than annoyed.
Include Pet Riders in Lease Agreement
Another step to the screening process that is pet is such as a pet rider on your lease agreement. This makes certain that the animal’s existence on the property is known, and accounted for with regard to property damage. Some landlords will incorporate a pet addendum if their current residents want to obtain a pet as soon as they’ve moved in, but it is ideal to get a pet rider in the original document.
Some elements that the rider must include are:
- Pet details: breed, color, gender, age, and weight
- Pet fee: if it is not an assistance animal you are able to charge a fee for a resident to own a pet on your property
- Damage deposit: this deposit will be returned if the pet does not incur any damages during its stay
- Vaccination list: have resident include type of vaccination and date
Having a legally binding document ensures that no additional pets can be added without your consent and that the pet residing on the property is fit to be around other animals and residents of the neighborhood. This legal rider will ensure that if any curve-balls are thrown your way, it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the issues are handled properly.
Take Photos of Pet
Another step in your screening process is to take photographs of the pet. Imagine the surprise you would have when creating use of a house to perform maintenance to find that the Chihuahua your resident signed for is really a Great Dane.
By taking a photo, and recording details like the kind of animal, its overall measurements and markings and any other important info regarding the pet can help ensure that one pet does not turn into three, and a small dog doesn’t wind up being a much bigger problem.
Do More Business
Finally, having a pet screening policy makes it possible to do more business. While you might originally shy away from allowing non-assistance animals on your property many possible residents search for single-family homes to rent over apartments based on owning a pet. You could even make additional money if you decide to charge pet rent the gardener has to pay each month.
Additionally, pet-owners are frequently more responsible than your average resident. If they have taken the opportunity to train their pet, then find appropriate care for their pet when they are gone and are disinclined to leave their pet because of rental coverages then this may be the kind of resident you want in your property. Even though this is not accurate for all pet owners, it’s something to consider when screening both residents and animals.
When you rely on Real Property Management Raleigh for your property management services, you will find that we do more than just respond to repair calls. We assist landlords and investment homeowners alike to put responsible, compatible residents in your rental property and to ensure that all possible liabilities such as pets are properly screened so that the rental experience is a good one for both you and your residents.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.