Pets are a Case by Case Basis
According to the L.A. Times over 70% of renters own pets. LA Times Pet Statistic. As a home owner and investor directly involved in property management on a day to day basis, this a figure that is too large to ignore! If you do not allow pets in your rental home, you will lose a certain group of potential tenants before they even look at your house.
Of course, we can discuss some of the horror stories that pets can cause on a home:
- Chewed corners of baseboards
- Ripped window blinds
- Scratch marks on interior doors and walls
- Unsightly holes in yard
- Complaints of “barking dog,” from neighbor
- Destroyed carpet
- That dog smell
There you have it, enough to have anyone re-think there pet policy in their rental homes. In property management, we constantly encounter potential tenants that have pets. Large dogs, small dogs, cats, and “aggressive” breed dogs. The latter can be more challenging and is what prompted the need for this post.
This last week we had a future tenant family with an American Bulldog inquire on a property. The dog is 18 years old, weighs in at 90 pounds, and also is on the aggressive breed dog list excluded by most insurance companies if the pooch precipitates a claim.
You will want to verify the list with your own insurance company, as every company will vary but this is a guideline list according to Insurance Quotes.Org
1. Pit Bulls
4. German Shepard
7. Great Danes
10. Wolf Hybrids
This means if the dog injures someone on the rental property, the insurance policy will not pay for any claims.
As a dog owner my whole life, I am a firm believer there are no bad dogs and only bad owners. Dogs need exercise, love, attention, and adequate nutrition just like we do. When they don’t receive these basic needs, they behave poorly. I’d hate to meet this guy on a bad day.
Back to our real life example. Since we work for the homeowner, we decided there were three items that needed to be met before the final decision was made on approval for the family with the American Bulldog.
- Ensure tenants have adequate renter’s insurance to cover incident
- Sign a pet addendum assuming all liability for pooch
- Meet and greet with pooch to ascertain over all disposition
Therefore, this past Thursday Evan S. Howell Inc. had a lunch date with a 90 lb American Bulldog! The family was more than willing to accommodate the conditions and the ending is happy.. they get to move in with pooch in two weeks.
Another contingency worth mentioning for any agreement involving pets should include a pet deposit. Pets do naturally incur more wear and tear on a rental home but there are things you can do as homeowner to prepare you property for pets:
- Replace carpet with Wood or Tile
- Ensure Tenants agree to Pet Deposit
- Request Vet Records of Pet (most pet owners that regularly take their furry friends to the vet are better animal owners in general)
Have a procedure when it comes to pets in your rental homes. Speak with your insurance company about implications for pets. Write it down and communicate that with your potential tenants. This will limit you liability and exposure when it comes time to put your house on the rental market.