Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Kazi

Posted by Sailoe on August 04, 2008 at 05:05:29:

Has to be oil-based Kilz; the water-based does not contain shellac.


Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Kazi

Posted by Kazi on August 03, 2008 at 09:08:06:

I have a very nice almost new 4 bedroom house that I am trying to rent out. I got a call from a young couple who want to rent the property, and have two very large dogs. While I have nothing against dogs as pets (never had one myself), I am just wondering what kind of damage can these dogs can do to the property if I let them rent my property. I have noticed that most landlords are against allowing pets into their properties. Given the fact that I have been a landlord for only 2 days, I am hoping that you will share your experience so that I can make the right decision about this.

Thanks in advance for any advice/input.

P.S. The couple has offered me to build a private fence in the backyard so that their dogs can play.

Pets NOT allowed in my rental property - Posted by kazi

Posted by kazi on August 04, 2008 at 11:08:53:

Thanks everyone so much for sharing your experience/advice. It continues to amaze me how selflessly helpful you all are! I have decided not to allow pets in my rental properties. I feel that I will be better equipped (or may be not) to deal with the pet situations once I become more experienced as a landlord. I would like to stay out of it for the time being.


Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Sailor

Posted by Sailor on August 03, 2008 at 19:34:25:

I love my own pets, but tenant pets are not only a pain for me, but have co$t me a lot of money (e.g., 5 mo. old floors destroyed). In my current units I would rather have a vacancy than a tenant pet. (Note that a big part of my anti-pet policy is that in my area pets are not treated well & I refuse to house bad pet owners.)

Pets have been much discussed on this board, & I applaud Anne’s welcoming pet policy. I would consider adopting that if I had a more responsible tenant base.

I’m not sure tenants building a fence is something you want on your property. If poorly built or ugly chain fence you are going to have to remove it when they leave. I recommend new landlords cut their teeth on non-pet tenants, but if you decide to take your applicants, make sure you approve the type of fence & the quality of installation. I also recommend you fully understand how much $$$ it is going to take to pull out & replace all carpeted surfaces. I would also require tenants to contract for monthly professional flea treatment.

With thanks to Steve (WA) for the plant clause, below is my Pet Policy:

“No pets, including dogs, cats, rodents, birds, fish, reptiles, insects or arachnids are allowed on the premises; i.e. if it isnâ??t a plant or a human being, it isnâ??t allowed. If Tenant brings an authorized or unauthorized animal onto the premises, a non-refundable pet fee of $500 per animal will be charged. There will be an additional charge of $100, not pro-rated, per calendar month per animal, even if animal is “just visiting,” “not mine,” or you are “just babysitting” or “only feeding a stray.” Although they must also be pre-approved, service animals (e.g., guide or hearing dog) are an exception, & shall have 24-hour access to the dwelling. NOTE: (1) Dogs may not be chained or left unattended without proper shade, as well as fresh food and water. (2) Yards must be maintained free from animal waste. (3) Tenant shall provide proof of obedience training for any dog older than 9 months, and hereby indemnifies both Owner and Agent from any liability for the actions of the animal against any person or property. (4) Tenant shall provide Agent with proof of personal liability insurance in the amount $500,000 with dog-bite rider. (5) Replacement pets are not allowed. (6) Upon vacating the premises, a pet-owning tenant shall provide Agent with proof of treatment of home and yard by licensed pest control company (bug bombs may not be substituted for such service). If Tenant fails to do this, Agent will contract with licensed pest control company, charging Tenant actual costs, plus a $35.00 management fee.”

Check the Archives, & remember that we don’t always have to learn things the hard way!


don’t get me started… - Posted by smarter but poorer

Posted by smarter but poorer on August 03, 2008 at 19:30:09:

I’ve never had a security deposit that could not be exceeded by the costs of cleaning, deodorizing, and repainting after pet damage.

Recently had a tenant sneek in a lab puppy, and i only found out when there was a complaint on another issue. The dog was tied to a rope in the basement and had been left there for days, possibly longer. There was feces and urine everywhere. What I should have done was call Animal Protection, as I viewed this as cruelity to animals, and I should have called Child Protective Services as their children were living in this filth. The tenant doesn’t deserve to have a pet or children and doesn’t know how to treat either. I evicted the tenants and they moved to another place that doesn’t allow pets.

Another tenant had two cats and two dogs in a place that pets were not permitted. Clean up costs have about doubled the security deposit so far. Cat urine is just about the worst smell to get rid of.

If I were renting to pets, I would not only charge more security deposit but also charge more rent.

I would NOT rent to any pet that is on the insurance company danger list of 11 dog breeds, as that may prompt the cancellation of your insurance policy. And you can bet that if your tenants dog bites somebody, you will probably be sued and you’re insurance will drop you in a NY minute.

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Dave T

Posted by Dave T on August 03, 2008 at 19:13:06:

I have had experience with pets in my rentals, and every time there was more damage to repair than the security deposit would cover.

I have quite a few rentals in a state that does not allow separate pet deposits, so through experience I find it is just easier to refuse pets.

My vacancy rate is not any different from the landlords that do allow pets.

Anne, where are you? - Posted by michaela-CA

Posted by michaela-CA on August 03, 2008 at 16:09:02:


go into the archives and look for posts by Anne-ND. She will only lease to pet owners and is very happy with that policy. She has a niche that works well for her.
Write to her.


Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property-LOOK OUT! - Posted by Jack E

Posted by Jack E on August 03, 2008 at 15:20:42:

As a meticulous dog and cat owner myself, I know even good pets (and mine are perfect of course,) very well. No matter what you or any tenant will do they will mess up a house and some will cause a lot of damage. As a tried and proven landlord who has learned the hard way, my standard policy is NO PETS. But, some times you must be practical and if you have no other choice allow pets.

If so, make sure the dogs are not those listed as dangerous or attack dogs by most insurance companies. If not, you are leaving yourself wide open for trouble, the kind that you will probably be sued for and cost you a lot of money. Also, be sure and I mean sure that they understand the owner (not you) is helping them out and doing them a favor and must have a non refundable pet deposit of so much per pet and so much additional rent for each pet each month.

This is a business, not a hand out or give away. If they want to have pets and want the landlord to take any risk, then they will have to pay for them, most of them consider their pets as part of their family so that is not unreasonable and they should understand that. In addition make sure you have in your lease or separately, a pet rental agreement that makes them fully liable, and not the owner, in any way, for any damage the pets cause and any responsibility for dog bite or attack upon anyone.

Now, some of you may think that all of this is unreasonable and harsh. Probably nine times out of ten there will be no problem, but that one time you better well will wish you had done all these things! Believe me I know. Do not in any circumstances allow the tenant to dictate the terms. It is your property not theirs and your responsibility and your financial investment. The tenant is there at your discretion and your acceptance. If they do not like your reasonable terms then they are free to go find another. Take charge do not let the tenant take any charge as you need have the Con (control) and that is what all this business world is all about.

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by matx

Posted by matx on August 03, 2008 at 13:23:21:

In the ideal world, we wouldn’t take any pets. However, 70% of our applicants have pets and we can’t afford to eliminate 70% of the market. So we take “certain” pets. The size is not crucial because small dogs can do plenty of damage. We screen based on the breed and the pet owner (to see if s/he knows what s/he is doing–many don’t.) We don’t take hairy or active breeds. We also don’t take puppies (the older, the better).

You really can’t tell what damage the pets have done to your property while tenants are living there because most of them are good at hiding the damage. (e.g. a tenant’s dog had ripped off almost every corner of the carpet but the tenant had placed stuff along the walls so we couldn’t see it until he vacated.)

You won’t see most pet stains unless you use the black light. I have yet to meet a dog or cat who hasn’t peed on the carpet. (Some, not just pee, but also poop on the carpet.)

How hard it is for a pet owner to find rentals really depends on your area. In TX, it’s easy even for a Roti owner to find a rental (we used to be landlords in CA) so pet owners don’t stay in rentals longer than non-pet owners.

You’ll just have to set your own rules based on the market condition, your tolerance level, etc. It takes time to develop your own rules and maybe a couple of trashed properties unfortunately…

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by camgere

Posted by camgere on August 03, 2008 at 12:09:43:

If you want to rent your place “really nice” for top dollar don’t rent to dog owners. Dogs will scratch up doors to get in/out. They will scratch up walls below knee height. They will have accidents on the carpet. They will leave hair everywhere. They dog owner who promised me she would never, ever let the dog in the house or get another one, ended up with two dogs (she HAD to) and let the dogs stay in the house full time after I refused to let her use the security deposit as last months rent. All her security deposit went to last months rent. All the damage was “normal wear and tear” for a pet owner. Pet owners who will “be totally responsible for any damage” are as credible as teenagers being responsible with their own car. If your house is beat up from the last tenant and you just don’t feel like cleaning it up, then put “PETS OK” in your ad.

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Corine

Posted by Corine on August 03, 2008 at 09:44:43:

I can only share my experience. I like what Natalie in Virginia has posted in the past that she will wait it out until she finds the right people.

Given that, I would always prefer no pets. I don’t know what your rental market is, but mine is pretty grim right now, very transient, low paying jobs, not much to choose from.

I have a home presently leased, going on two years, they also built a fence for a black lab. Gorgeous dog and you would never know they have a pet.

Another home, just became vacant a month ago. 2.5 kids perfect family with the golden retriever. That whole situation I could have well done without. They are the family I posted about earlier in the day that moved across the way into another new home to save 150. a month. The dog would apparently ask to enter the home by scratching at the door jam. He had it down to bare wood, claw marks included. It wasn’t that horrendous to repair, patch and paint, but with all the cleaning and paint, it still smells like dog.

If I had ten applications to choose from, no, I would not allow pets.

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Michaela-CA

Posted by Michaela-CA on August 03, 2008 at 09:24:12:


I have been on both sides of the fence: I’ve had a tenant who’s dog peed all over the house and I had to tear out carpet and totally redo the house. But I also have a dog myself and having recently moved to California (I had live din my own houses since 1988) where I am renting, I have seen how difficult it is to find nice housing as most landlord will say ‘no pets’ without even thinking about it.

Basically, you want to make sure that your property is well taken care off and that the dogs won’t destroy anything. If that is the situation, then you may end up with longer term renters than someone without dogs might be. Just because anybody with a dog knows how hard it is to find another place, so they will be a lot more aware of that and may not want to move that quickly again.

I would say: Give them a chance to prove to you that the dogs are ok. Talk to previous landlords. I think it was sailor, who had written that she likes to come by unannounced at a potential tenants home after they filled out the application. Saying :‘I was just in the neighborhood and had some questions’. There’s nothing as telling as the present living situation. You will get to meet the dogs. If they are a problem then it will be apparent. You could also observe how well the dogs listen to their owners. A lot of problems with dogs are not because of the dog, but because there’s an ‘alpha’ problem. The owners don’t do the right things to take the Alpha role and now the dog feels that he/she has to do it for the survival of the pack. If a dog knows where she/he belongs in the pack order, then they tend to be more relaxed and not a problem.

The fact, that they are willing to build a fence is a positive thing in my opinion. They’re willing to put their money where their mouth is.

So, given the right dogs, these may turn out to be better tenants than you might get otherwise. You could possibly add some doggy rent to it. Ask for a higher deposit. (My own landlord decided to ask me for an extra month deposit, which they reimbursed after 6 months of no problems).

Just my opinion


Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Kazi

Posted by Kazi on August 04, 2008 at 11:22:34:

Thanks for the advice and the clause. I am considering adding it to my rental agreement document.

I forgot one… - Posted by SBP

Posted by SBP on August 03, 2008 at 19:34:42:

had a tenant that both parents went to work and the kids went to school, so nobody home all day with the dog. Apparently every dog the dog would take a big leak in the middle of the lving room floor. I did not know this until the tenant moved out afetr 10 years. we removed the carpet and the hardwood floors and one of the floor joist were rotted out from the daily dose of dog urine every day for ten years. Hey, stop laughing, its not funny.

Mean people suck - Posted by Corine

Posted by Corine on August 04, 2008 at 06:20:24:

Thank you Dave. I can’t find your posting here, but read it in my email account. It’s was a very welcome email on the heels of all the blasting yesterday.

I appreciate you, Sailor, Brondon…, Rich in CA. JT. Class acts!

I will take your advice and stop slinging mud. It doesn’t feel good anytime. Mean people suck and I’m not one.

I considered for two minutes to never come back here, but certain people here I very much admire.

To those, thank you.

Re: Anne, where are you? - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on August 03, 2008 at 18:09:20:

I’m here.

As Michaela has said, I’ve posted a lot about pets and you can find lots of things in the archives.

I would just say that renting to pet owners is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folks are just not cut out for it, and that’s okay.

But I think that any niche group of tenants, be they pet owners, college students or Lonnie deal buyers, can be approached with a particular mindset: that of making money by having an open mind toward solving a particular set of problems.

Just reverse-engineer the problem (Covey would call it “Begin with the End in Mind”) and it’s possible to find the solution you are looking for.

Only once did I have damage from pets in a house, and my houses were nice. Lots of damage from humans, but not usually pets.

good luck,


(Hi Michaela!)

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by michaela-CA

Posted by michaela-CA on August 03, 2008 at 13:33:39:

“I have yet to meet a dog or cat who hasn’t peed on the carpet.”

Actually, that is really not true. I know, I can’t argue about the experience you’ve had ;-). But for example, my dog has lived with me for years and she’s never peed inside. Granted, I’m never gone more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. But I lived in houses with hardwood floors throughout and there would have been no way to not notice. She also lets me know very clearly, if she does have to go out, which is very seldom, other than our normal walks. So, even though I know this is just one dog, I know there are plenty more dogs like that out there.

I do walk her 2 hours every morning and another 30 minutes in the evening, so I guess there’s not a lot left inside in her to have to come out. ;-). I think whether someone walk their dog or just puts them out into the yard can make difference.


Prime with Kilz - Posted by Rich-CA

Posted by Rich-CA on August 04, 2008 at 01:01:23:

to get rid of the dog smell. Then paint over it. Works for smokers as well.

Re: Pets (dogs) in the rental property - Posted by Kazi

Posted by Kazi on August 04, 2008 at 12:05:00:


I have actually met the dogs. The girl is a daughter of a fellow investor with whom I network frequently. I have met her once or twice. She keeps the dogs at her parents’ place because her landlord does not allow pets. The dogs are kept in cages inside the house, are very hyperactive when they are let out, and also don’t like each other much. Now that the daughter has been engaged, she and her fiancé are looking to move to a bigger place. I was told that they were approved for a loan to buy a house, but don’t want to do it now because they need some time to decide where they want to live long term. This tells me that they are not going to be long term renters.

On a side note, I haven’t read the thread that’s causing you to reconsider visiting this site ever again. I just wanted to let you know that many of us value your opinion here, so please stay!


Re: I forgot one… - Posted by kazi

Posted by kazi on August 04, 2008 at 11:29:41:

it’s funny! :slight_smile: I figure it probably was worth the trouble given the tenant stayed in your property for 10 long years?

Thanks for the info about the danger list. I will be sure to check it out if I ever decide to rent to pet owners.