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Pet Screening

Allowing pets in your units is a calculated risk. There’s always the chance a dog, cat, or other pet could cause damage to your property. On the other hand, 72 percent of American renters have pets, according to the Humane Society. So, prohibiting animals may cost you. But you can minimize the risk pets can pose by implementing a pet screening process and creating rules around pets in your properties. You may even consider adding a monthly pet fee to the rent.

Of course, this only applies to animals considered pets. If you have a current or prospective tenant making what’s called a reasonable accommodation request for a service animal, you can’t restrict or prohibit the animal. In this article, we’ll discuss the pet screening process and when it is not appropriate to require one.

How Does a Pet Screening Work?

When a prospective tenant applies for one of your units, you can include a pet application along with your human one. A current tenant can also fill one out for a new pet. A pet application, also called a pet resume, collects basic information, including:

Basically, you’re trying to get as much information about each pet as you can. This will help in the event of a home inspection where the pet listed as a poodle mysteriously looks like a pit bull.

It’s also helpful information for members of your staff, as well. If a property needs maintenance, for example, you can share this information on the property with your crew. Making them aware of a pet on the property ahead of time can prevent an animal from escaping or an allergic reaction. If a dog doesn’t like strangers, you can instruct your tenant to restrain the animal before your maintenance team arrives.

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