Why Pet Screening is Always a Good Idea

Pets provide a sense of comfort which has caused an overall increase in pet ownership. For this reason, a lot of tenants seek out pet-friendly rental properties. This presents a good earning opportunity for landlords. Being flexible with your pet policies can help you retain your renters and attract new ones.

It’s a fact that with pets around, your rental property is more vulnerable to damage. Additionally, you can also end up receiving complaints from neighbors over the noise disturbance that pets can create. If you’re thinking of allowing tenants with pets, make it conditional by applying a strict pet screening process.

A pet screening is a procedure that filters out responsible pet owners from others and ensures that the pet you allow to stay in your rental unit is disciplined and will cause little problems. If you want to learn more about pet screenings, keep on reading!

Pros of Allowing Pets in Your Rental Unit

There are several benefits to renting out your property to pet owners. They include:

Retaining Long-term Renters

Since tenants can find it difficult to seek out rental homes that allow pets, they tend to stay in one place longer. They’re also more likely to extend their leases rather than start the challenging process of searching for another pet-friendly rental.

person sitting on the couch cuddling with their dog

Attracting Prospective Tenants

If you’re the only rental home in your neighborhood that welcomes pets then this can be your competitive advantage over others properties. Even if you have similar features with another rental, an open-door policy to pets sets you apart.

Finding Responsible Residents

Owning a pet comes with responsibilities including a need to be financially stable. Pet owners are, therefore, more likely to respect your rental space, ensure that it’s reasonably maintained, and pay rent on time.

What Is Pet Screening?

When renting out their property, landlords have a tenant screening process to make sure that the renter is suitable and matches the standards the property owner set for someone renting the property. This goes for pets too if you’re welcoming them in your rental.

Pet screening is a procedure where you conduct a background check of a pet. You can hire a third party to review the behavior, health, and personality of the pet. This can require in-person meet-ups, filling out applications, and providing health screening records.

How is Pet Screening Done?

Landlords can perform pet screening by hiring a third-party service provider or doing it on their own. Through the independent method, you can consider the following to support your pet screening:

person in a grey sweater filling out a questionnaire on a clipboard

General Questionnaire

With an application, you can find out more pet information. You can ask the following:

  • What type of animal and breed is your pet?
  • How much does your pet weigh?
  • How old is your pet?
  • How long have you owned your pet?
  • Can you present proof of pet vaccinations?
  • Do you have a letter from a vet confirming the health of your pet and listing updated vaccines?
  • Can you list the times your pet has caused injury to a person or another animal?
  • Has the pet been house-trained?
  • What are the behavioral issues of the pet?

Dog Questionnaire

The following are questions specific for dog owners:

  • Is the dog spayed or neutered? If not, ask the renter if there are plans for it.
  • Has the dog completed a training class?
  • Is the dog lease-trained?
  • Can the pet owner clean up after the dog?
  • Can the dog be left on its own and for how long?

Cat Questionnaire

Here are questions to ask people with cats as pets:

  • Is the cat spayed or neutered? If not, ask the renter if there are plans for it.
  • Is the cat kept indoors?
  • Does the pet owner have a cat litter box?
  • Is the cat registered or has proper identification?

Why Conduct Pet Screenings in Person?

While landlords can find out a lot of information from the pet screening questionnaire, verification is important. This can be accomplished by holding an in-person meeting to see how the pet behaves and interacts with people.

dog trainer sitting in a chair as they hold a treat in front of a dog

However, pets can feel anxiety around new people so lower your expectations on the first meeting. If you’re not comfortable engaging with pets or have little experience, it’s recommended to let an expert handle the meeting.

What are the Benefits of a Pet Screening Service?

Screening pets can take up a lot of time since you’re checking the details. That’s why having a third party handle the pet screening process is easier. They can also help you assign the right fees and limits any pet-associated risks. The pet screening provider then reviews the application, identifies the risks, and ensures that regulations are followed.

What are the Different Fees to Charge?

Welcoming pets can help you gain additional income by collecting pet-related fees. Here are three types of fees associated with welcoming pets in your rental:

  1. One-time Fee - Labeled as non-refundable, this covers the pet’s stay for the entire leasing period. Note that there are states that don’t permit non-refundable fees.
  2. Monthly Rent - These are fees required to be paid each month of the pet’s stay.
  3. Pet Deposit - This accompanies the security deposit requested by landlords at the start of the rental period. This can be returned if the unit is well-maintained.

person holding cash and taking notes on the amount

What Type of Pets Should You Screen and How Often?

When screening pets, avoid discriminating against specific animals. Be fair to all types. Also, the past behavior of pets won’t necessarily indicate their present behavior. Changes can happen so updated files must be requested every time a tenancy contract is renewed. Ask the renter to also submit a recent health record to reduce further risks.

Bottom Line

Pet screening can require a lot of energy, especially if you do it on your own. But the benefits are rewarding. You may want to partner with a trusted property manager like Gifford Properties & Management. If you’re looking for a trusted management company, contact us today!

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