In any discussion with landlords and tenants about renting with pets, you’ll most likely get a very emotional response from both.
Tenants may consider Fluffy or Fido (or Fluffy, Fido, Thumper, Slither and Scales) well-loved, integral members of the family, and can’t understand why it’s such a big deal to a landlord when they want to bring them along to their new rental.
Landlords, however, may consider Fluffy or Fido as a big liability: scratches on the floor, claw marks on the (supplied) furniture, chew marks on the cabinets, pee stains on the carpeting, fleas, complaints from the neighbours about barking, bite lawsuits, etc.
There are many landlords who will, without hesitation, allow a tenant to have a pet or two in their rentals, as long as the tenant shows they’re responsible owners (references from a previous landlord will go a long way here). Tenants may be asked to pay a larger damage deposit to cover any pet damage to the unit (accidents happen) – on Prince Edward Island, IRAC allows up to the maximum of one month.
A landlord who is adamant about not allowing any pets may have had a previous bad experience (or heard about one firsthand) with allowing a pet in their unit, and refuses to go down the same road and take a chance on getting irresponsible pet owners again.
5 tips for tenants with pets
- If you find a place you really like but the landlord refuses to compromise about having pets in their unit, do not lie and then bring your pet into the rental after you move in. In many areas this is cause for eviction. Move on and find something else that’s suitable.
- If you find a landlord who accepts pets, be a responsible owner. The definition of a responsible pet owner shouldn’t need to be spelled out.
- Do not lie about your pet’s breed, size, age, etc. Don’t say you have a spayed female cat if you really have an intact male who likes to spray everything in sight. (And why would you put up with that anyway?) Don’t say your male and female Lab mixes are fixed, when in fact you breed them every year to sell the puppies on Craigslist. Lying just makes it harder on all tenants who are trying to find a place that accepts pets (including yourself).
- If your pet does damage, own up to it with the landlord ASAP, and make it right by paying for the cleaning / repair / replacement of what was damaged, then be a responsible pet owner by preventing it from happening again.
- If you’re aware your pet is barking or getting out of the yard while you’re out, fix the situation now – waiting makes it worse.
5 tips for LANDLORDS ON RENTING TO TENANTS with pets
- Meet the pets. If the prospective tenant wrote “Goldendoodle, 8YO, 40lbs, mellow” on their application and you meet an 8-month-old, 80-lb, super-excitable Lab/Border Collie mix who can’t sit still long enough for the tenant to introduce him, that’s a Big Red Flag.
- Ask for and check references from previous landlords, especially those that had the tenant’s current pets in their rentals. If Fido is a chewer or has separation anxiety, they’ll be happy to share that information. If Fluffy liked to use the (furnished) sofa as a scratching post, it’ll most likely be one of the first things a previous landlord will tell you.
- Get a larger damage deposit (or the maximum allowed by laws in your area). If there are pet stains / scratches / fleas / damage at the end of the lease, the cost to clean / repair / replace flooring, carpeting, doors or a cabinet or two will usually be partially or fully covered by a larger damage deposit. Time and money can fix just about anything in a rental, and this is exactly what the damage deposit is for!
- Having a tenant with a pet doesn’t automatically mean you expect damage, but make sure you communicate to the tenants what your expectations are regarding wear and tear on the unit.
- Let the tenants know that because they have pets in the unit, you’ll be doing more frequent site visits for property wellness checks. Then do more frequent site visits.
Good communication is key to a good relationship between tenants and landlords, especially when a tenant has a pet.
Do you have questions about being a tenant trying to rent with pets, or renting to a tenant with pets? We’re here to help! Give us a shout and we can discuss your unique requirements.