Property Management Blog

Why Pet Screening is Always a Good Idea

System - Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Property Management Blog

Have you ever wondered how to manage the surge in tenants with furry friends? In today's rental market, pet ownership is not just a passing phase but a substantial trend that's here to stay. 

As a landlord, embracing this change can open doors to numerous benefits, from increased demand to longer tenancy durations. 

But, how do you ensure the pets are as commendable as their owners? That's where pet screening steps in. Dive deeper into our comprehensive guide on why you should conduct pet screening, and equip yourself with the knowledge to foster a happy, respectful community in your properties.

Understanding Pet Screening 

Pet screening serves as a bridge, ensuring that properties remain in top-notch condition while still accommodating animal-loving renters. But what does it entail? 

Let's look into the world of pet screening and why it's an essential tool in a modern landlord's arsenal.

What is Pet Screening?

Pet screening is a process similar to tenant screening, but instead of assessing a potential tenant, it evaluates their pet. The goal is to gain insight into a pet's behavior, health, and history to make informed decisions about rental applications.

dog at home

Why is it Necessary?

  • Mitigating Risks: Not all pets are suited for all living situations. Some might have a history of aggression, while others could have health issues that might affect the property or its residents.

  • Ensuring Safety: A comprehensive screening ensures the safety of other tenants, particularly if communal spaces are shared.

  • Protecting Property: Pets can sometimes cause damage, from scratched hardwood to ruined carpets. Screening can identify potential red flags, allowing landlords to take precautions.

The Pet Screening Process

The process typically involves:

  1. Questionnaire: An application that gathers basic information about the pet - breed, age, weight, behavioral traits, and health history.

  2. Proof of Health: Verification from a veterinarian confirming the pet is in good health and up-to-date with vaccinations.

  3. Behavioral Assessment: Some screenings might require an in-person assessment to understand the pet's behavior in unfamiliar settings.

  4. Reference Checks: Speaking to past landlords or neighbors can offer insights into the pet's behavior in previous living situations.

Benefits of Pet-Friendly Rental Policy

Allowing pets in rental properties has become an increasingly popular decision for many landlords and property investors. Here are several reasons why it might be a good idea for you too:

  • Increased Demand: With a high percentage of households owning pets, there's a substantial demand for pet-friendly rentals. By allowing pets, you open your property to a wider pool of potential tenants.

  • Higher Rental Income: Due to the limited supply of pet-friendly properties compared to the demand, landlords can often charge a premium rent. Additionally, pet deposits or pet fees can also be a source of extra income.

hands exchanging money

  • Longer Tenancy: Pet owners tend to stay longer in a rental property because relocating with a pet is challenging, especially when pet-friendly properties are limited. Longer tenancies mean reduced turnover costs for landlords.

  • Responsible Tenants: Owning and taking care of a pet requires responsibility. This quality can often translate to responsible tenancy, with pet owners being more diligent and caring for the property as they do for their pets.

Benefits of Pet Screening 

Pet screening offers numerous advantages for landlords and property managers. Here are the various benefits of pet screening:

  • Risk Reduction: A comprehensive pet screening process can help in identifying pets that might have a history of aggressive behavior or any potential health issues, thus reducing the chances of incidents within the property.

  • Property Preservation: By understanding a pet's history and behavior, landlords can anticipate potential damage and take preventative measures. This helps in maintaining the condition of the property and avoiding unexpected repair costs.

  • Higher Occupancy Rates: Properties that allow pets, especially with a well-defined screening process, can attract a larger pool of prospective tenants. This can lead to reduced vacancies and potentially higher rental income.

  • Increased Tenant Retention: Tenants with pets are often looking for stable living situations to avoid the stress of moving with an animal. A clear pet policy can make them more likely to renew their lease, reducing turnover costs for landlords.

people exchanging keys

  • Clear Communication: A structured pet screening process sets clear expectations for potential renters. It ensures that they know the rules and requirements from the outset, minimizing future misunderstandings or conflicts.

  • Financial Security: Through pet deposits or pet rent, landlords can secure an added financial buffer against potential pet-related damages. Screening ensures the fees are justified based on the pet's profile.

Incorporating Pet Screening in Lease Agreements 

Ensuring a harmonious living environment for all residents begins with clear guidelines. Let's delve into the importance of integrating pet screening specifics within your lease agreements.

1. The Screening Process Details

It's vital for both parties—the landlord and the tenant—to have a shared understanding of the pet screening process. Outlining the specifics in the lease ensures transparency. 

This might include steps like filling out a detailed questionnaire, submitting veterinarian records, or even arranging an in-person behavioral assessment. 

By having a comprehensive outline, tenants are prepared and can provide the necessary documentation, eliminating any surprises down the line.

2. The Types of Pets Allowed

Every property is unique, and not all pets may be suited for all environments. For instance, a high-rise apartment might not be suitable for large dog breeds. 

This section of the lease should clarify which pets are welcome and which aren't. Being explicit about this can prevent potential disputes and ensures that tenants are well-aware of the limitations before moving in, making for a smoother transition.

cat looking out window

3. Any Associated Fees or Deposits

Pets, as delightful as they are, can sometimes cause damages to their living area. As a precaution, landlords might charge additional fees or require a separate pet deposit. 

Detailing these costs in the lease agreement keeps financial expectations clear from the get-go. 

It's crucial to mention how these funds will be used and under what circumstances they might be returned or deducted. This not only safeguards the landlord's investment but also establishes trust with the tenant by ensuring no hidden costs.

Bottom Line

It's evident that pet screening isn't just a passing trend—it's a smart strategy for safeguarding your property and ensuring harmony among residents. 

By proactively addressing potential challenges and setting clear expectations, landlords pave the way for a win-win scenario for both humans and their furry friends. 

If the prospect seems daunting or you're unsure where to start, remember you don't have to go it alone. Enlisting the expertise of a property management company can make the journey smoother. 

Give Foothills Properties a call, and let the professionals handle the intricacies while you enjoy peace of mind.