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Setting Expectations with Pet Owners

Stow Tenant Holding Her CatAs a Stow rental property owner, it is imperative to have clear expectations with your tenants from your very first interaction. One of the important things to think about is your pet policy. Only you may decide whether to allow pets in your rental home or not. There are both upsides and downsides to either option, which can sometimes make it more difficult to make a final decision. If you decide to allow pets, it is vital to have your pet policy clearly outlined and accessible for your tenant when they sign the lease. You also need to set clear expectations with your tenant pet owners, including what type and how many pets are allowed, pet deposits and monthly charges, how you’ll handle complaints, and the consequences for violating your pet policy. In what follows, we go through each of these points in more detail.

Type and Number of Pets

Indeed, the most selected pets that Americans have at home are dogs and cats. Your pet policy should consist of information regarding any breed or size restrictions and how many pets are acceptable. Be sure to check local regulations and follow any rules you find there, as well. Smaller pets, like birds, fish, and hamsters, are also popular, so be sure to address these types of pets in your lease documents.

Pet Deposit and Monthly Rent

It’s one of the drawbacks of allowing pets on the property: pets frequently cause damage that may go beyond normal wear and tear. Consequently, several rental property owners will charge a pet deposit aside from the usual security deposit. Many may also increase the rent every month to help cover the additional property maintenance and repair costs. While only you can decide the amount you charge, it’s a good idea to perform some research and see what other landlords in your area charge for pets then follow that pattern.

Handling Complaints

While your tenant may love their pets, the neighbors are unlikely to be pleased. Pet complaints might be challenging to deal with due to the fact that the common complaints, such as excessive barking or pets roaming unleashed, are not under the responsibility of the rental property owner. You can set clear expectations with your tenant about correctly securing and leashing their pet and giving tips into keeping their pet from making excessive noise. After that, form a strategy for dealing with repeated complaints, such as a system to issue warnings before proceeding to breach of contract. This technique may motivate your tenant to be a more responsible pet owner.

Consequences for Violations

Although establishing clear expectations can greatly limit the opportunities for tenants to abuse your pet policy, they may still end up violating it anyway. Probably the most common thing tenants will try is to sneak additional pets onto the property, so they don’t have to pay the additional fees. Unauthorized pets are always an issue for landlords, whether you allow pets or not. If you notice that your tenant has too many pets, unauthorized species, or otherwise violated your pet policy, you need to document the situation wisely and notify the tenant of the violation. If your state laws allow it, you could even include a fine for pet policy violations in your lease, which may offer an even stronger incentive for your tenant to abide by the terms of their lease. Depending on the number and severity of the violation, you should then take the appropriate action.


Allowing pets in your rental property can boost your profits and tenant relations. However, you need to have a clear and detailed pet policy to help you establish and manage your tenant’s expectations right from the early stage. If you need some expert guidance and advice on the topic of allowing pets, why not give the Real Property Management Valor Team a call? We can help you outline your rental policies in high-quality rental documents,  check your property regularly for hidden pets or other lease violations, and more! Contact us online or reach us at 440-534-6700.

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