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Why Livermore Landlords Should Have a Pet Screening Procedure

Two Happy Livermore Residents with their Cute DogMany landlords are often hesitant to allow pets to reside on a rental property. However, this doesn’t have to be the case when you learn why Livermore landlords should have a pet screening procedure in place, so you can rest assured that you are making a good decision.

Assistance/Service Animals

At Real Property Management One we ensure that the properties we have under our management are equal opportunity housing, and we accommodate a wide variety of potential clients. However, it is lesser known that while there are many types of residents, there is also a large variety of animals that are lawfully permitted on a rental property.

Under the Fair Housing Act, assistance and service animals are allowed 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 personally do not wish to have pets on the rental property, you are required by law to give “reasonable accommodation” to residents with assistance and support animals.

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 best screening procedures when allowing pets on your rental property is to contact past landlords because, after all, pets can have references too. These reference calls will give you a better understanding or whether the animal ever caused damage to the property, disrupted the peace of neighbors, or caused additional problems.

This is the most efficient way to help guide you in your decision, without turning a potential resident away. Don’t be hesitant to lease to a resident with a medium- or large-sized dog due to unfounded fears. The big bully in your mind could turn out to be a big teddy bear that does more to make your residents and neighbors happy than annoyed.

Include Pet Riders in Lease Agreement

Another very important step to the pet screening process is including a pet rider in your lease agreement. This requires that the animal’s presence on the property is both known and accounted for in terms of property damage. Many landlords will add a pet addendum if their current residents want to get a pet after they have moved in, but it is best to have a pet rider in the original document.

Some basic elements that the pet rider should 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 vaccinations and dates

Having a legally binding document ensures that no additional pets will reside on the property 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 vital step in the pet screening process is to take photos of the pet. Imagine the surprise you would have when making entry on a property to perform maintenance only to discover that the small Chihuahua that your resident signed for is a Great Dane.

Taking a photo of the pet is a fast and easy way to record details such as the type of animal, its general measurements and markings, and any other important information about the pet that will help ensure that one pet doesn’t turn into three and that a small dog doesn’t end up being a much larger issue.

Do More Business

Ultimately, having a pet screening policy helps you do more business. While you might initially shy away from allowing non-assistance animals on your property, many potential residents look for single-family-homes to rent over apartments based on owning a pet. You can also make additional money if you choose to charge a rent for the pet as well as the residents monthly.

Often, pet owners can tend to be more responsible than your average resident. If they have taken the time to train their pet, find appropriate care for their pet when they are gone and are not willing to leave their pet due to rental policies then this might be the type of resident you want in your property. While this is not true for all pet owners, it is something to consider when screening both residents and animals.

In Conclusion

When you rely on Real Property Management One for your property management services, 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.

Start realizing the benefits of having a pet screening process and contact us online or call us at 925-794-8339 today!

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.

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