Most multifamily property owners if given the choice would exclude pets. Pets cause property damage, require carpet replacements and generally bring an odor to a place that would not be there otherwise. Multifamily properties with consistently high occupancy can get away with excluding pets. These are most often found in twenty-four hour cities and high density submarkets. For the rest of the country, excluding pets means sending potential tenants to your competition that will accept pets. Knowing that so many are all too attached to friends with fur and feathers what is a sound “pet policy” in multifamily management? Here are my thoughts.
For starters, a pet policy rider must be attached to every apartment lease with a pet in residence- no matter how small the pet. No exceptions. This provides you with specific actions to remedy a negative occurrence (that is, if the pet ends up being a nuisance to the property).
Managing this piece of your business must take into account the safety of all tenants including children. We suggest limiting the number and size of pets per apartment to not more than two pets with no pet being more than twenty pounds. Yes, this excludes many animals, but presents an opportunity to increase occupancy by accepting some pets and their paying owners.
Dogs are people too (Dont tell Mom but no they are not). But to many people they are family (my cocker spaniel and I share the same last name) . Often, they are more loved and better cared for than Uncle Otto who is only allowed to visit once a year. In winter. When the family is on vacation. Disposition is key with dogs. Avoid a law suit by meeting the dog prior to accepting the application. Most are fine assuming they meet size requirements.
Cats truly are from Venus even if half are male. Most domesticated cats are just that- domesticated. It’s the cat owners that are sometimes problematic. Most cat owners love and care for their animals like family. The few that give cat owners a bad name allow their pet to use the carpet as their litter box. Any carpet, all carpet- your carpet. And that’s the end of the carpet. There is really nothing you can do to save cat soaked carpet. This is the primary issue with cats- a few non-caring owners.
Birds are cute, birds are beautiful. And messy and sometimes loud. It’s hard to justify that they have a place in communal living apartments. But of course there are always exceptions to the rule. I’m no expert here. May I suggest if and when you have a potential tenant with a bird you’ve never heard of or seen, that you ask about it’s breed, size and age. Then do some research starting with a pet store that sells similar birds. Ask some key questions and fold this information into your decision making process.
Snakes – How do you find snake love? I’ll never know. I believe in disclosure. But when it comes to snakes do you really want a sign on the apartment door that says “Snake”! Are snakes a liability? Absolutely. Lovable? I think not.
Monkeys. No. Property management should not include keeping up with the vet records for shots and vaccinations of a wild animal.
Lizards. I have no ideas here.
As for the lions, tigers and bears….. they belong in the wild.