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What Should Your Rental Property Pet Policy Be? Property Management in Fredericksburg, VA

System - Tuesday, January 31, 2017


When it comes to setting a pet policy for your rental property, there are a couple of things to think about. One thing you need to know is that the majority of renters in central Virginia have pets. Therefore, if you decide not to allow pets in your property, you’re cutting your tenant pool in half. You’ll only have half the

potential renters looking at or wanting to rent your property. That can create longer vacancy periods for you, so we always recommend that you allow pets. However, you want to mitigate your liability.  

Talk to Your Insurance Company

 
Check with your insurance carrier before you put together a pet policy. You’ll want to know if they cover animals and what types of pets are allowed. There will probably be specific dog breeds that are prohibited, and there might be other restrictions. You may need to adjust your coverage levels as well. 

Understand Service Animals

 
Research service animals and how they are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Service animals are not considered pets, and you need to understand the accommodations that must be made for tenants needing a service animal. We don’t see it a lot around here, but you need to have a policy for service animals. Anytime you get a tenant who says they have a service animal, we recommend you accept that. Don’t get in trouble with fair housing laws. You’d rather just have the animal in the home.  

Pet Deposits and Fees 


Pets can cause damage. You want to make sure you have something in place to protect and compensate for that potential damage. Charge additional fees like pet rent, or an upfront pet fee that is one lump sum that you collect before the tenant moves in. You may want to increase the security deposit too. Don’t charge more than the equivalent of two months’ rent, but remember that additional deposit money can help you to limit your liability.  

When it comes to pets, make sure you understand the difference between a pet and a service animal, and be willing to allow pets so you can have more tenants from which to choose. 

If you have any questions about your rental pet policy or you need help with professional property management in Fredericksburg, VA, please contact us at Dodson Property Management.