How to Handle Pets and Animals in Your South Jersey Rental Property

When it comes to whether or not to allow pets in a rental property, the owner usually has the final say. We will consult with anyone who isn’t sure about letting tenants move in with pets, and once you let us know if you’re allowing pets, we’ll work that into the marketing and leasing strategies we put together for your home.

Today, we’re talking about some of the things to consider when you decide you’re going to rent out a pet-friendly property.

Establishing Limits with a Pet Policy

Once our owners indicate that they’re okay with allowing pets, we’ll advise on how to handle those animals and what should be included in a pet policy.

Our have a best practice that allows a maximum of two pets. We think one dog and one cat or two dogs or two cats is reasonable. When tenants want to move in with more than two pets, things can get messy and complicated.

Charging Additional Pet Rent

We also like to charge an additional $25 per month, per pet. This fee applies to all animals; the type of pet does not matter. Typically, people move in with a dog or a cat. But, if a child has a fish or a snail or a ferret, or anything that would qualify as a pet, we charge the pet fee. That’s because all these potential pets are dangerous to your property. Even a goldfish comes with a tank that holds several gallons of water. Anything can happen.

Pet Fees are Not Deposits

Either way, allowing pets will put you more at risk as a landlord, and you need to be compensated for that. The $25 per month is not a deposit. It’s extra rent. This means that if you’re renting out a property for $1,000 per month and a tenant moves in with one dog and one cat, the rent rises to $1,050 per month.

This is an important distinction. In the state of New Jersey, you cannot collect more than two-and-a-half months of rent prior to move-in. It’s much less complicated if you’re not worried about deposits and how much money someone gets back. The typical security deposit is usually one-and-a-half months of rent. So, the extra pet rent that you collect can be reflected in the higher security deposit amount, which is still legally compliant.

Dog Breeds and Insurance

Insurance companies have restricted dog breed lists, and each company is a bit different. Let your insurance company know that you’re renting out your home, and find out which dogs are on their restricted breed list. Pit Bulls, for example, are on nearly every list. If something happens at your property involving a Pit Bull, your insurance company may not cover you. You can let your applicants know what kind of dogs are and are not allowed.

You can set your own breed restrictions, as well. If you’re not comfortable renting to a particular dog, you can either deny the animal or request that your resident get an additional rider on their renter’s insurance that will cover them for that pet. This is extra protection for you.

Contact us at Realty Solutions if you have any questions about pets and your South Jersey rental property.