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Why Charles County Landlords Should Have a Pet Screening Procedure

Many landlords are concerned about allowing pets to reside on a rental property. However, when you learn why Charles County landlords should have a pet screening procedure in place you can rest assured that you are making a good decision.

Assistance/Service Animals

At Real Property Management Gold, we ensure that the properties we manage are equal opportunity housing, and accommodate a wide variety of potential clients. However, many landlords don’t know that just like there are many types of residents, there is also a variety of animals that are allowed on the property by law.

Under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, assistance and service animals are permitted on any property if they are registered as a support animal for a disability, which is defined by the FHA as “a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities”.

So even if you have told residents that they are not permitted to own pets on your property, you are still required to give “reasonable accommodation” to residents with support animals. Service animals administered by the ADA are legally allowed anywhere and are defined as a dog or miniature horse that has been trained to do work to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

This is an important differentiation to make as you do not want to find yourself caught up in a legal matter by turning away a resident and their assistance or service animal by confusing it with a pet. However, by having a screening process in place you can determine if it is an assistance animal by asking for documentation from a doctor or therapist that acknowledges that the residents’ animal is an assistance animal.

Contact Past Landlords

One of the best screening tips when allowing pets on your rental property is to contact past landlords, pets can have references, too. This will give you a better understanding of whether the animal ever caused damage to the property, disturbed the peace of neighbors, or caused any other problems.

This is a fast and easy way to help guide you in your decision, without turning a potential resident away. Don’t be afraid to lease to a resident with a medium or large sized dog due to unfounded fears. The big bully in your mind could really be a big teddy bear that does more to make your residents and neighbors happy than annoyed.

Include Pet Riders in Lease Agreement

Another step to your screening procedure that is pet is including a rider in your rental agreement. This ensures that the animal’s existence accounted for regarding property damage, also on the house is known. Some landlords may add a pet addendum if their current residents wish to obtain a pet as soon as they have moved in, but it is ideal to get a pet rider at the beginning of the leasing period.

Some elements the rider that is pet should include are:

  • Pet details: breed, color, gender, age, and weight
  • Pet fee: if it is not an assistance animal you are able to charge a fee for a resident to own a pet on your property
  • Damage deposit: this deposit will be returned if the pet does not incur any damages during its stay
  • Vaccination list: have resident include type of vaccination and date

Having a legally binding document ensures that no additional pets can be added without your consent and that the pet residing on the property is fit to be around other animals and residents of the neighborhood. This legal rider will ensure that if any curve-balls are thrown your way, and it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the issues are handled properly.

Take Photos of Pet

Another step in the screening procedure is to take photographs of the pet. Imagine the surprise you’d have when entering a property to perform maintenance to find that the little Chihuahua that your resident signed for is a Great Dane.

By taking a photo, and documenting details like the kind of creature, its overall measurements and markings, as well as any other important information about the pet, can help ensure that one pet doesn’t turn to three, and also a small dog does not wind up being a much larger problem.

Do More Business

Having a pet screening coverage makes it possible to do more business. As you might originally shy away from letting non-assistance creatures in your house, many possible residents search for single-family homes to lease over flats based on having a pet. You could even make extra money if you decide to control pet rent the gardener has to pay every month.

Pet owners are often more responsible than the average tenant. If they have taken the time to train their pets, arranged proper care for them while they are away, and are unwilling to abandon them due to rental policies, then they can be the type of tenant that you would prefer on your property. While this may not be true for all pet owners, it is worth considering when evaluating both tenants and their pets.

When you rely on Real Property Management Gold for your property management services, we do more than just respond to repair calls. We assist landlords and investment homeowners alike to put responsible, compatible residents in your rental property and to ensure that all possible liabilities such as pets are properly screened so that the rental experience is a good one for both you and your residents.

Start realizing the benefits of having a pet screening process and contact us online or call us at 301-392-2172 today!

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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