Rent Sense: Pet Friendly Requires Management

Rent Sense: Pet Friendly Requires Management
By Neil Fjellestad and Chris DeMarco
Fjellestad, Barrett & Short
While advertising “pet-friendly” certainly makes marketing sense for an apartment community and individual rentals there needs to be a well thought-out management strategy, reasonable policies that are enforced, pet owners that are responsible and willing to be held accountable.
Pet ownership in a rental setting works when the renter understands that a “pet-friendly” rental policy is a privilege.  From the beginning this situation must be controlled with clear communication between responsible parties. It begins with an application that identifies a specific pet. There should be accompanying paperwork and a photo that stays with the resident file to clarify the size, breed and proof of licensing. There should be references provided that can verify that this pet is a good fit and that the pet owner should be considered.
At lease signing a Pet Addendum should be reviewed and signed which is incorporated into their lease. Property ownership can require restrictions by breed, by size, by gender and such restrictions should be detailed in this addendum and reviewed with the pet owner. Ownership can require agreement to abide by community policies that preserve the quiet enjoyment of neighbors.  The property condition inside and out must be maintained which will require specific care by pet owners. Other residents and guests must be protected and respected in common areas which require strict leashing behavior by pet owners. All of these expectations should be spelled out in the addendum. Required attendance to community pet owner meetings can be added to the pet addendum. Note: These should be well-planned with a pet focus utilizing pet suppliers, pet professionals, others that can inform, entertain and remind attendees how important their pets are to them and to you. Caveats of preserving our “pet-friendly” community include a strict adherence to what has been previously agreed to in their respective lease documentation. Property management is clear communication and experienced implementation.

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