Renting To People With Dogs: What You Should Do In Your Lease

When renting to clients who have dogs, you want to make certain precautions. You want to make sure tenants don't abuse pet allowance rules as well as make sure you have your bases covered when it comes to safety and legalities. As a landlord, you can be held responsible for any damages or injury a tenant's dog causes if you aren't careful. Here are things you or your apartment rental company you work with should make clear in all leases you make with your renters.

Breeds of dogs you allow

Certain breeds of dogs are known to be more potentially dangerous than others, such as Pit Bulls, Dobermans, or even German Shepherds. If you want to place a breed limit in your lease (or even weight restrictions for any dog, such as a 20 pound limit), make sure you bold these areas in your rental agreement and that your tenant signs off on their understanding of the stipulation.

Owner responsibilities 

Make it clear in the lease that you require all pets to wear collars with licenses on them and that you want vaccination records of all allowed dogs. This protects you as the landlord in the event of a dog bite or dog at large situation on your rental property. Make sure your tenants know that you do not allow any other dogs or pets other than the ones signed off and approved of within your lease. Require all tenants to provide photographs of their dogs living with them so you will know if they try to sneak in another dog or are harboring a pet for someone else. The lease should include a clause that releases you from all responsibilities should a tenant's dog cause any damage or injury either on or off your property.

Pet fees

You can charge a monthly, non-refundable pet fee per dog allowed in your rentals, or you can require renters to pay a larger pet fee upfront along with their deposit. The lease should explain what the pet fee covers, such as potential damage to the property, renters' insurance for liability of the pet, or even regular maintenance of the property's grounds. Make sure your lease clearly states in what condition the rental must be left in for the renters to get their pet deposit back once they move out.

If you choose to let your renters have dogs in your rental property, you need to make sure you take certain precautions. Doing so can help limit your liability should something happen while the dog is on your premises.