The pet policy you establish as a rental property owner really depends on your comfort level. Try to approach it from the perspective of a business, and put restrictions and rules into place that will welcome tenants who have pets and at the same time protect your property and your financial investment.
Size and Breed
Many Grand Rapids property management companies implement size restrictions when pets are allowed. They might not want any animals over 20 pounds, or perhaps they set the limit at 40 pounds for a cat and 75 pounds for a dog. More important than size is the breed of any dogs you approve. Find out what your insurance company won’t cover. There are nine breeds that insurance companies consider dangerous, so if someone wants to move in with one of those breeds, you’ll have to say no.
Pet Deposits and Fees
Always take the maximum deposit amount when there are animals. In Michigan, you can charge up to a month and a half in security deposits. Whether you have a tenant with a two pound cat or a 50 pound dog, get a deposit that equals a month and a half. You also have the option of collecting a non refundable pet fee in addition to the deposit. You also have the option of collecting extra rent every month. For example, many property managers will charge an extra $50 per month for a dog, and an extra $25 per month for a cat. That gives you additional rent every year that will cover you if there are any damages to your property from the animal.
If the pet is a dog, make sure it is licensed. Any animal that is licensed is required to have its shots. You don’t want to rent to a tenant who is trying to beat the system, so make sure dogs have their shots, and ask for proof that the pet is licensed. It’s also imparitive to require that a cat is neutered or spayed. Ask for proof of that as well.
Service animals are not considered pets. Property owners also don’t realize that any animal can be a service animal. There have been snakes, chickens, anything at all. If the tenant has a letter from a doctor that says a snake is a service animal, you have to accept it. This applies to dangerous dog breeds as well. Make sure you get the required documentation, and be prepared. Most people expect dogs, but you need to know a service animal can be anything.
If you have any questions about pets and how to set a pet policy for your rental home, please contact us at United Properties.