As a tenant or a resident, pets are great. As an owner or a landlord, pets can be somewhat challenging. We’ll share some of our best practices when it comes to handling pets, or as we call them – animals.

Pets Are Not a Protected “Class”

The owner of a rental property in New Jersey can decide at any time to allow or not to allow pets. They aren’t a protected class. Emotional support animals and assistance animals are permitted for people who have disabilities, but today we’re focused solely on pets that are not medically required. Since New Jersey law leaves a lot of control with the owners when it comes to allowing pets, we consult our owners to decide whether they want to handle or accept pets.

Pet Policy Restrictions and Costs

We allow a maximum of two animals. The animal needs to be an approved breed and size, and we will charge $25 a month in extra rent to that tenant. So, if rent is $1,000 a month, and the tenant has both an approved dog and an approved cat, we would add $50 to the monthly rent. This additional rent also increases the allowable security deposit amount permitted in New Jersey. That should accommodate any damage the animal may or may not do. Just like a child or even an adult doing potential damage, the security deposit takes care of that risk.

Pet Policy: Restricted Breeds

There are restricted dog breeds which most insurance companies will exclude on an owners policy. Insurance underwriters have standards, so check with your company. Usually they include the larger breeds, and while these breeds may not be excluded in an owner-occupied property, they might be excluded in your rental property. There are ways around this; if tenants want a restricted breed and the owner will allow, they can buy renter’s insurance with a specific rider for that pet/animal. We usually consult with the owner and ultimately decide not to accept the breed unless it’s a special case.

Image of manAnimals can be as challenging as tenants sometimes, which is why our two-pet limit and our extra rent and deposit are helpful to our owners and go a long way towards protecting your property. If you have some questions about putting together your pet policy, please visit our website or contact us at Realty Solutions. We’d be happy to tell you more about property management in south Jersey.