Since a majority of U.S. residents are pet owners, demand for pet-friendly rentals is at an all-time high. As a result, allowing pets into your rental property can help you attract a wider pool of prospective tenants and, in turn, maximize your chances of finding the best one.
That said, allowing pets into a rental property does come with some risks, which can seem intimidating. That’s where pet screening comes in!
Just like tenant screening helps reduce the chances of renting to problematic tenants, pet screening can help you minimize the chances of pet damage. In today’s blog, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about pet screening.
What Are the Benefits Of Allowing Pets into Your Rental Property?
There are multiple benefits to allowing pets into your rental property, including the following.
One of the most important decisions a pet owner can make is choosing where to live. Since not many landlords allow pets into their properties and moving is often a stressful experience for pets, you may be able to find and retain long-term tenants by making your property pet-friendly.
Large Prospective Tenant Pool
Since a majority of tenants in the U.S are pet owners, allowing pets into your rental property will automatically mean having a larger pool of tenants to pick from.
If a landlord is able to market their property efficiently, they’re likely to land a quality tenant faster than they would with a “no pets” policy.
High Return on Investment
How much landlords choose to charge depends on a property’s market value. One way of increasing that value is by making your rental pet-friendly.
Since a number of landlords don’t allow pets into their rental properties, this increases demand for the few available units that allow pets.
Owning and taking care of a pet is a huge responsibility. It requires tons of time, work, and attention. As a result, responsible pet owners are likely to be responsible tenants.
What Is Pet Screening and What Does It Entail?
Pet screening is a process that can help landlords know the health, behavior, and personality of a pet. This can involve a number of things, including a questionnaire and an in-person meeting.
This is a very important aspect when it comes to pet screening. The questions a landlord asks should help them know whether a pet will be suitable for their property or not. The following are a few questions to get you started:
- What animal and breed is the pet?
- How much does it weigh?
- How old is the pet?
- Is the pet vaccinated? Are there any records of that?
- Is the pet in good health? Are there any references from a veterinarian confirming that?
- Has the pet been house-trained?
- Has it ever hurt anyone?
- Does the pet bark excessively, growl, or have any other behavioral issues?
Questions specific for dog owners:
- Has the dog been spayed? If not, do you have any plans to do so in the future?
- What training has the dog undergone?
- Do you leash your dog when going for a walk?
- Is it an indoor pet, or an indoor/outdoor pet?
- Is the pet house-trained?
- Do you immediately clean up after your dog?
Questions specific for cat owners:
- Has the cat been spayed? If not, do you have any plans to do so in the future?
- Do you keep your cat inside?
- Does the cat scratch furniture or woodwork?
- Does the cat use the litter box you provide?
An in-person meeting will help you verify the information provided by the tenant in their rental application. This can be in regards to pet health, behavior, and personality. However, it’s important to remember that pets can become nervous around new people. As such, the initial interaction may not give a complete picture of the pet’s behavior and temperament.
If you don’t have any experience interacting with animals, consider partnering with a third-party service provider, such as a property management company, to complete the pet or tenant screening processes for you.
A reputable property management company can help you manage the pet screening process easily and professionally. A good company will know what to look for in an application and could help you charge appropriate fees and deposits.
Can a Landlord Screen Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals?
Service dogs and emotional support animals are exempted when it comes to pet screening. If a landlord comes across a tenant with a service animal, they can ask for the documentation designating the animal as a support animal, but they should not perform pet screening or charge the tenant a pet fee or deposit.
Pet screening is crucial for any landlord that allows pets into their rental property. It’ll help them maximize occupancy rates and ROI, all while protecting their investment against potential damage.
If you have any questions, need help screening a pet, or need expert help managing your property, Action Properties can help! We’re a top property management company in Silicon Valley. Get in touch to learn more!