Property management can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to dealing with pets. From enforcing pet policies to managing pet waste, there are a variety of issues that property managers must navigate. However, effectively managing pet-related issues is crucial for maintaining a safe and enjoyable living environment for all tenants.
This article will explore five key strategies for managing pet-related issues as a property manager. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your properties are pet-friendly while also protecting investments and avoiding legal issues.
Develop a Strong Pet Policy
A strong policy can help make your life easier as a landlord. If you already have an existing policy in place, now’s the time to consider changes to make it stronger. To start, it’s essential to understand state and local laws regarding pets in rental properties. This can include laws related to service animals and emotional support animals, which may be protected under the Fair Housing Act and have different rules and restrictions. Setting size and breed restrictions is also a key part of a pet policy, as certain breeds may be prohibited due to local laws and more prone to causing damage.
Setting pet fees and deposits is also essential to cover for losses when they inevitably happen. Deposits essentially act as insurance should you need to repair damage in units and common spaces. And regardless if you pet policy is new or not, communicating the terms to current and prospective tenants is crucial, as it helps to ensure that everyone is aware of the rules and expectations. This can include providing written documentation of the policy and making it easily accessible to tenants.
Don’t Skirt Around Enforcement
Enforcing your on-property pet policy is crucial to maintaining a safe and enjoyable living environment for all tenants. To do this effectively, it’s always important to handle violations appropriately. This includes addressing violations with the tenant, documenting the interaction and response, and following through with any consequences outlined in the policy. Responding to complaints about pets in a timely manner is also crucial, as it helps to address any issues before they escalate.
You’ll also want to set appropriate consequences for policy breaches, such as fines, eviction, or termination of the lease. This will help ensure that tenants understand the importance of following the pet policy and can act as a deterrent for future violations. Furthermore, you should always be consistent in enforcing the policy and treat all tenants and their pets fairly. This creates an equal playing field and helps your business avoid any discrimination or legal issues.
Manage Pet Waste Effectively
Managing pet waste is an important aspect of maintaining a clean and safe living environment for all tenants. This starts with providing the right tools to help tenants clean up after their pets. Consider installing pet waste stations with waste bags, dispensers, and waste receptacles near common areas or walking paths. Many property managers also establish rules around waste removal and ensure compliance by providing information about when and where to dispose of waste. If the rules are broken, enforcement is carried out through fines or other consequences.
If waste is an ongoing problem, you could also consider providing information and education to tenants on how to pick up and dispose of their pet's waste properly, how to train their pet to do their business in the designated areas, and the importance of keeping the property clean and safe for all. Pet waste can be hazardous to human health and the environment, so it's often necessary to take appropriate measures to dispose of it properly and be aware of any local laws and regulations regarding disposal. The last thing you want is to be caught with a fine or unwanted attention from the municipality.
Prevent Damage Before It Happens
The best method of avoiding pet damage is implementing ways to prevent it before it happens (or at least ensuring you can fund any damage that does occur). One way to do this is by requiring pet deposits or pet guarantees from tenants. This can provide financial protection for the property in the event of any damage to the unit or common areas. Additionally, conducting pet interviews before a pet moves in can help you assess the temperament and behavior of a tenant's pet and make informed decisions about allowing the animal on property.
Implementing pet-proofing measures, such as securing screens and windows, reinforcing doors and gates, and securing trash cans and other potential hazards can also help to prevent damage. It's also important to include a pet clause in the lease agreement, outlining the responsibilities of the tenant regarding their pet, and the consequences for any damage incurred. Finally, regular inspections of the property can help to identify and address any destruction so that it can be repaired before it becomes a more significant problem.
Provide Resources to Pet Owners
Providing resources to pet owners is an important aspect of being a pet-friendly landlord or property manager. For example, you could offer information on training techniques, behavior modification, and local dog obedience classes to help tenants become more responsible with their animals indoors. Providing access to pet-friendly amenities, such as designated dog parks, pet grooming stations, or pet waste stations can also make the property more attractive to pet owners.
Additionally, connecting tenants with local pet services, such as veterinary clinics, pet supply stores, and dog walkers can help to make it easier for renters to provide their furry companions with the best possible care. Lastly, keep in mind that pet owners are often willing to pay more for a pet-friendly rental, so providing amenities specifically for pets can be a great way to attract more tenant applications and increase revenue.
Effective pet management is a necessary task when there are animals living on your rental property. Without effective management, your business is prone to fines, fees, damage, and unnecessary oversight. The five key strategies outlined here will help in effective pet management. Developing a strong pet policy, enforcing rules and regulations, managing pet waste, preventing damage, and providing resources to pet owners can help ensure that your properties are pet-friendly while also protecting investments and avoiding legal issues.
Clear communication and consistent enforcement are key, as well as providing resources and support for pet owners. If you’re looking for support, pet management software is available that can help manage pets and boost your net operating income (NOI). One popular solution, OurPetPolicy, includes customizable contracts, violation notifications, and even ESA verification to ensure service animals are properly vetted. If you’re having trouble managing everything on your own, know that you don’t have to. Pet management can be easy with the right solutions.