If you’re an animal lover, your initial reaction to the idea of renting your home to a tenant with pets is likely “Of course, why not?” While renting to a family with pets is not a bad idea, you should build some extra protection into your lease agreement, just in case. Make sure you do the following before you rent to a family or individual with pets:
Is the pet legal? From banned dog breeds to exotic animals that are outlawed, make sure the pet in question is legal in your community.
List individual pets by name and description: Get a list of the pets your tenant will be living with, and include them on the lease. A simple description with the animal’s name, breed if known and general size and coloration is enough. Why bother with these details? To make sure the elderly and placid Chihuahua you OK’d for your tiny cottage isn’t replaced by three huge and hyperactive Great Danes on move in day.
Ask for a pet deposit: Escrow an additional security deposit if pets are included in the lease. The need to clean and repair the property can climb dramatically if pets are included. From ruined rugs to damaged drapes, pets have the potential to cause additional damage to your home value. By escrowing a pet deposit, you are protected and can allow your tenant to have pets.
Will the pets be a nuisance? There is no way to tell if a specific pet will be a problem, but if you are renting out a multi-unit property like a duplex or condo, you need to be sure the pet won’t be a nuisance to your other tenants. Noise is usually the big culprit here – but yard cleanup can be an issue, too.
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