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Setting Expectations with Pet Owners

Lewisville Tenant Holding Her Cat

As a Lewisville rental property owner, you have to be able to set distinct expectations with your renters from your initial interaction. One of the most important things you should tackle is your pet policy. Deciding to allow pets in your rental home is one that only you can make. Both solutions have benefits and drawbacks which can often make the decision more difficult to make a hard-and-fast decision. If you do decide to allow pets, you need to have your pet policy clearly outlined and ready to go over with your renter when they sign the lease. You should likewise set proper expectations with your renter pet owners, taking into account the type and how many pets are allowed, pet deposits and fees, monthly charges, vaccination and behavior requirements, how you’ll manage complaints, and the consequences for violating your pet policy. Each of these will be discussed in greater depth below.

Type and Number of Pets

So far, the most typical pets that Americans have at home are dogs and cats. Your pet policy should contain specifics about any breed or size restrictions and how many pets are permitted. Always be reminded to check with local regulations and follow any rules you find there. Smaller pets, like birds, fish, and hamsters, are also quite common, so be sure to take on these types of pets in your lease documents.

Pet Deposit/Fee and Monthly Rent

It’s one of the drawbacks of allowing pets on the property: pets more often than not, cause more damage that goes beyond the usual wear and tear. Because of this, most rental property owners will charge a pet deposit or fee in addition to the standard security deposit. Many also charge additional pet rent monthly to help cover the additional property maintenance and repair costs. While the amount you charge is up to you, it’s a good idea to do some research and see what other Lewisville property managers charge for pets and follow suit.

Vaccination and Behavior Requirements

In addition to the financial responsibilities of rental pet owners, don’t forget to specify any supplementary needs in connection to keeping pets in your lease. For instance, many cities and counties have vaccination and licensing regulations, especially for dogs. By including your local regulations in your lease and requiring your renter to follow them, you can better protect yourself and your property from potential legal issues. The same thing is true for pet behavior. In your lease, be sure to specify any restrictions on the behaviors of pets, such as excessive barking, allowing pets outside or off leash, or other potentially problematic behaviors. Summarize clear consequences for violations of these and all requirements to help enforce your lease more easily.


Handling Complaints

Even though your renter may love their pets, the neighbors might be less thrilled to have them there. Pet complaints can be tricky to handle because common complaints, such as unnecessary barking or pets roaming unleashed, are not things that the rental property owner has direct control over. You can set clear expectations with your renter about properly securing and leashing their pet and taking steps to keep their pet from making too much noise. Then, make a plan to handle repeated complaints, such as a system to issue warnings before going straight to breach of contract. This tactic may motivate your renter to be a more responsible pet owner.

Consequences for Violations

Even though setting clear expectations can help lessen the possibility for renters to abuse your pet policy, they may still violate it anyway. One of the more common things renters will try is to sneak additional pets onto the property so they don’t have to pay the additional fees. Unauthorized pets are always a concern for landlords, whether you allow pets or not. Suppose your renter has too many pets, has an unapproved species or breed, or otherwise violated your pet policy. In that case, you should document the situation carefully and notify the renter 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 renter 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 be good for your profits and tenant relations. But you need to have a clear and detailed pet policy that will help you establish and manage your tenant’s expectations right from the very beginning. If you would like some expert guidance and advice on the issue of allowing pets, why not give Real Property Management Lakeview 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 940-323-0505.

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