As a landlord, there are many different things to consider when qualifying tenants, though if you’ve decided to accept those with furry companions, there are some additional factors to keep in mind. After all, most of the country owns at least one pet, so it can be very worthwhile to open up your potential pool of tenants if you’re willing to rent to pet owners.
Continue reading as we walk through some wise protocols and policies to stick by if you’re open to renting to tenants with pets.
Pet Owner Screening
Just like you would with any other tenant, it is acceptable to ask to meet the pet in person before approving them for the lease. During this meeting, you can get a sense of the pet and learn more about its behavior and how the potential tenant is as a pet owner.
Additionally, you may want to check with their previous landlords to ensure that they’re responsible pet owners that they would rent to again.
Set Some Rules
If you do decide to rent out your unit to a pet owner, it’s still advisable to set some rules or guidelines on the types or number of pets allowed.
Many California landlords will set a weight limit on the pets allowed, or limit to just one or two. These rules are mostly put in place to help reduce any potential damage or noise complaints if the unit shares a wall with others.
Charge a Pet Fee
If you’ve decided to rent out your unit to pet owners, you can charge the tenants an extra fee, or pet rent, on top of their normal monthly rent. This is pretty standard across the state and tends to be upwards of $50.
However, this isn’t just an extra reward for renting to pet owners. While pets can be lovely companions, they may have accidents or cause damage to the property. So, it’s best to keep these extra payments on hand to pay for repairs or carpet replacements as needed.
Collect a Larger Deposit
Along the same lines, you may want to charge a higher initial security deposit to tenants with pets. Again, this is a good idea to have extra cash on hand to pay for any pet-related damage that may occur.
In California, the maximum security deposit is two months' rent for an unfurnished dwelling, so make sure you’re not charging above this when including the extra pet deposit.
There are many benefits to California landlords who accept pet owners as tenants–just make sure you’re putting the right policies and protocols in place to protect yourself and your property.
Bailey Schramm is a writer in partnership with fencing supplier Viking Fence.