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Why San Diego Landlords Should Have a Pet Screening Procedure

Two Happy Residents with their Cute DogMany landlords are concerned about allowing pets to live in their rental houses. But when you understand why San Diego landlords ought to have a pet screening process in place you may be certain that you’re making a good choice.

Assistance/Service Animals

At Realevate Specialists, we guarantee that the properties that we manage are equal opportunity homes, and accommodate a wide variety of potential clients. However, many landlords do not know that just like there are various kinds of residents, there are also a variety of animals that are permitted on the property by law.

Under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, assistance and service animals are permitted on any property if they are registered as a support animal for a disability, which is defined by the FHA as “a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities”.

Thus, even in the event that you’ve told residents that they’re not permitted to possess pets on your property, you’re still required to provide “reasonable accommodation” to residents with support animals. Service animals administered by the ADA are lawfully permitted anywhere and are described as a dog or mini horse that’s been trained to perform work to execute tasks for the benefit of someone with a disability.

This is a significant differentiation to create as you do not wish to find yourself trapped in a legal matter by turning away a resident and their support or service animal by confusing it with a pet. However, by having a screening process in place you’ll be able to ascertain if it’s a help animal by asking for documentation from a doctor or therapist that acknowledges that the resident’s animal is, in fact, an assistance animal.

Contact Past Landlords

Among the best screening hints if allowing pets in your rental property would be to contact past landlords – pets can also have references. This will offer you a better understanding of whether the animal ever caused damage to the house, disturbed the peace of neighbors, or caused some other issues.

This is a quick and easy method to help guide you, without turning a possible resident off. Do not be scared to rent to a resident with a medium or large sized dog as a result of unfounded fears. Honestly, more often than not, a big dog is mostly a large teddy bear that does more to make your residents and neighbors happy than annoyed.

Include Pet Riders in Lease Agreement

Another vital step to the pet screening procedure is including a pet rider on your rental agreement. This ensures that the animal’s presence on the property is both known and accounted for with regard to property damage. Some landlords will add a pet addendum if their current residents want to obtain a pet as soon as they’ve moved in, but it is ideal to get a pet rider in the original document.

Some basic elements that the pet rider ought to include are:

  • Pet Details: breed, color, gender, age, and weight
  • Pet Fee: if it is not an assistance animal you are able to charge a fee for a resident to own a pet on your property
  • Damage Deposit: this deposit will be returned if the pet does not incur any damages during its stay
  • Vaccination List: have resident include type of vaccination and date

Another significant step in your pet screening procedure is to take photographs of their pet. Imagine the surprise you’d have when arriving at your rental house to do maintenance just to discover the small Yorkie your resident signed for is really a German Sheppard.

By taking a photograph, and documenting details like the kind of animal, its overall dimensions, and markings, as well as any other important info regarding the pet can help ensure that single pet does not turn into three pets, and also that a little dog does not wind up being a much bigger problem.

Do More Business

Ultimately, having a pet screening policy helps you do more business. While you might initially shy away from letting non-assistance animals in your property many possible residents look for single-family-homes to rent over apartments based on having a pet. You could even make extra money if you choose to charge pet rent that the resident must pay every month.

Furthermore, pet owners are often more responsible than the average resident is. If they’ve taken the time to train their pet, then find appropriate care for their pet when they are gone and are disinclined to leave their pet due to rental policies, then this may be the kind of resident that you want on your premises. While this isn’t true for all pet owners, it is something to think about when screening both residents and animals.

When you rely on Realevate Specialists for your property management services we perform more than just maintenance calls. We help landlords and investment homeowners alike to put responsible, compatible residents in your rental house and to make sure that all possible liabilities such as pets are properly screened so the rental experience is a good one for both you and your residents.

Start realizing the benefits of having a pet screening process and get in touch with Realevate Specialists to learn more about our services. You can contact us online or call our Mission Valley office at 858-997-2100 or our Temecula office at 951-461-0100 for more information.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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