Screening Your Tenants Pets
As per a survey that was done by the American Pet Products Association, there are about 95.6 million cats and more than 83 million dogs in America. That means that close to half of Americans own at least a dog and a cat. Thus, businesses and properties that discriminate against pet owners alienate at least half of all their potential tenants.
Many tenants wish to keep pets in their rental home and, thus, a pet-friendly property is one of their first priorities when they are hunting for an apartment. It then goes without say that allowing pets in your property is bound to create a larger pool of prospective tenants seeking a rental home in your property. However, very many landlords dread irresponsible pet owners and an income loss that may arise as a result.
The best way to make sure you don’t end up with problems is screening pets first before admitting tenants. Screening pets is more or less like screening tenants. But you have the discretion to disallow some pets, for example, reptiles; or certain dog breeds; or certain traits such as aggressiveness.
So, how do you go about screening tenants’ pet?
Meet the Pet
There is a lot to infer from the pet. Indeed, as some people have observed, a pet is only as good as its owner. You can always tell a lot about the pet owner by just observing the pet. For example, a well-behaved and a well-groomed pet is a reflection of a pet owner who is caring and responsible. On the other hand, an ill-behaved dog with dirty and matted hair shows that the pet owner might not be a responsible one.
When you meet the prospective tenant together with his pet, observe how social the animal is. You may want to keep out a vociferous dog, for instance.
While at this, it is important that you examine the pets and their owners on a case to case basis. It is not helpful to develop a prejudice towards a certain dog breed based on what you hear or read. Some organizations or bodies aver that there are dog breeds that are involved in causing injuries more than others. But such data cannot be used to describe every dog in a certain breed because an animal’s aggressiveness or vociferousness is a result of mistreatment and a lack of sociability rather than an innate predisposition to cause harm. Therefore, screen every pet without prejudice.
Interview the Pet Owner
Another way to find more about a particular pet is to ask the pet owner to answer some critical questions. It is not enough to require the pet owner to fill out a pet application form, though an important part of the whole process. Ask oral questions and listen very carefully as the prospective tenants answer the questions. Some of the questions you ought to ask include:
–Inquire what type of pet the prospective tenant has and how long he/she has been with that pet.
–Ask if the pet owner has a letter or any documentation from a veterinarian showing that the said pet is in perfect health and is up to date with all its current vaccinations.
–You’ll want to know if the pet has undergone any obedience training.
–Has the pet been neutered or spayed?
–And, does the animal have any medical or behavior problems? In case there is any, has it received any training or treatment to ameliorate the same?
–Does the animal get along with people?
–Ask if there were any complaints about the pet at the prospective tenant’s current address and how they were able to resolve them.
–Ask if the pet caused any damage at the prospective tenant’s current address and if the landlord was paid for the damage that was done.
–You’d want to know from the tenant if it is okay to contact his/her current landlord to find more about the pet.
–Ask if the prospective tenant has made any arrangements in his/her schedule to walk or exercise the pet.
Based on the replies given to the questions fielded, you can contact the current/former landlord to find out more about the behavior and conduct of the pet at the current/former residence. Reach out to the pet’s vet and ask for health certificates.
Once you ascertain that the pet is in perfect health, well-behaved and its owner is responsible, you can now allow the prospective tenant to move in to your property. When you mount a proper pet screening formula, you can allow pets in your rental housing. In fact, many landlords come to realize that responsible pet owners do make some of the best tenants.