Pet Policy

Most people can agree that cats and dogs are pretty awesome … most people, that is, other than landlords.

When I began owning rental property, pets morphed from something that I considered adorable to something that I considered a headache. How is it that cute little Fluffy and Fido went from lovable creatures into sources of destruction?

The Problem with Pets

As most landlords know, dogs and cats can take a toll on your property. From pissing on the carpets to scratching up the door trim, animals have the potential to do vast amounts of damage to your rental unit.

Some of this damage, such as scratching up the door trim, is visible and can be deducted from a tenant’s security deposit. Some of the damage, such as peeing on a carpet, may exceed the security deposit that the tenant has given you. (In fact, if you charge an additional pet deposit, the damage may exceed even that as well).

And some of the damage isn’t quite so dramatic or tangible. It simply comes in the form of increased wear-and-tear and general uncleanliness. Pet dander gets into the vents and into the carpeting, fur collects on the baseboards behind the kitchen cabinets, and the whole apartment or home takes on a distinctive other worldly scent that never seems to dissipate even long after the pet has moved out.

Why “No-Pet” May Be a No-No

The knee-jerk reaction could easily be to institute a no-pet policy. However, in my experience as a landlord, I’ve stumbled upon a few reasons why a no-pet policy may not be effective.

1) Tenants lie.
I’d rather have a tenant be upfront about the fact that they have a pet — and pay me a pet deposit accordingly — than have a tenant lie about whether or not they have a pet. If I …read more