Having a pet policy for your renters is an essential part of protecting your property and your rental income. However, it's important to note that not all policies are created equal. A bad pet policy, lacking detailed rules and guidelines, may leave you exposed and unprotected in pet-related scenarios.

The true cost of having a bad pet policy

When evaluating your current system, consider whether or not it protects you from the following issues.

Increased Labor Hours

Allowing poorly vetted pets on the property may lead to some serious extra labor for your team.

• Additional maintenance hours for repairs to the property that the tenant isn't accountable for due to grey areas in your policy.

• Time spent cleaning pet waste on the property, identifying the owner, reporting violations, and handling tenant complaints.

• Time spent identifying unauthorized animals or fraudulent ESAs and then needing to monitor and address the situations appropriately.

Added Property Damage

A good pet policy should include proper pet and tenant screenings to ensure that the pets behaved well in previous rentals. Without an effective screening process, the time, cost, and frustration of dealing with pet-related damages become your responsibility as the property manager.

Common Dog-Related Property Damage:

• Chewing and scratching of walls and floors;

• Waste messes and stains in rentals and common areas;

• Ruined fences and landscaping;

• Holes and yellow patches on the property lawns.

Common Cat-Related Property Damage:

• Urine odors and stains in rentals;

• Scratches on walls, moldings, door frames, and carpets;

Cat dander; extremely difficult, costly, and time-consuming to remove to ensure the safety of future tenants with allergies.

Poor screening process can cause pet-related damages

Rental Turnover Downtime

A pet policy that fails to screen pets or outline size and breed restrictions can increase the duration of your rental turnover downtime.

Larger breeds and poorly behaved pets can dramatically increase the amount of damage done to your property, requiring longer and more expensive repairs.

Carpet and floor damage are among the most expensive to repair, especially when the policy doesn't hold the tenant accountable. Trying to locate and retrieve funds from the tenant after they've already vacated to property requires a lot of time and effort.

Pet Fees Avoided

While pet fees can help offset the cost of allowing pets on your property, a weak policy gives tenants the ability to evade fees.

Tenants can fraudulently register their pets as Emotional Support Animals, meaning they aren't required to pay pet fees, and damage to your property will not be covered. Verification of these letters must be included in your policy to prevent this issue.

Many tenants sneak pets onto the property to avoid pet fees entirely. Policies lacking strict guidelines to remedy these situations can make it difficult to evict or fine these tenants if caught. If the pet goes unnoticed, any damages found after the tenant has vacated the rental will not be covered.

Weak policy gives tenants the ability to evade fees

Irresponsible Pet Owners

Failure to screen pet owners via their previous rentals can invite irresponsible tenants to your property.

• They're bad at picking up after their pets.

• They neglect to care for their pet, leading to noise disturbances, property destruction, and messes.

• They cause headaches for property owners whose pet policy leaves them ill-equipped to manage complaints and respond to these difficult situations.

Disgruntled Tenant Complaints

Without the proper policies in place to help resolve pet-related issues, complaints from neighboring tenants can escalate quickly. An overwhelming amount of complaints can lead to a high turnover rate and unexpected vacancies.

In many states, a property manager's inability to address repeated tenant complaints is grounds for the tenant to vacate the property early without penalty.

Exposure to Liabilities

A pet policy is a great tool to help minimize your exposure to liability and limit the amount of dangerous pet-related incidents. Through your policy, all animals should be pre-screened for aggression to ensure that the pet does not attack or bite any neighboring pets or tenants.

Although these cases are rare, you can be held liable for allowing this aggressive animal onto your rental property.

Protect Yourself With a Policy Done Right

OurPetPolicy is an easy-to-use pet policy process that is vetted by lawyers to help protect your property.

We help empower property owners by eliminating potential loopholes, providing simple screening processes, and setting transparent rules and expectations between property owners and their tenants. Prevent further exposure to the scenarios listed above by enforcing a detailed policy that protects your property portfolio.

OurPetPolicy is a product of Landlord Tech, a software company designed to solve and prevent the problems that property managers and owners face through technology and automation.

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