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Setting Expectations with Pet Owners

As a Fort Worth rental property owner, it is essential to have clear expectations with your tenants from your very first interaction. One of the more significant issues that you need to address is your pet policy. Only you may determine whether to allow pets in your rental home or not. The two choices have strengths and weaknesses, which can sometimes make it challenging to make a convincing decision. If you decide to allow pets, it is essential to have your pet policy clearly outlined and ready to explain with your tenant when they sign the lease. You must also set reasonable expectations with your tenant pet owners that include what type and how many pets are allowed, pet deposits and monthly charges, how you’ll handle complaints, and the consequences for violating your pet policy. In this section, we will go through each one of these in full detail.

Type and Number of Pets

Obviously, the most popular pets that Americans have at home are dogs and cats. Your pet policy must contain information about any breed or size restrictions and how many pets are allowed. Make sure to study local regulations and observe any instructions you find there. Smaller pets, like birds, fish, and hamsters, are also in demand, so don’t forget to mention these sorts of pets in your lease documents.

Pet Deposit and Monthly Rent

It’s one of the drawbacks of allowing pets on the property: pets mostly inflict damage that may go beyond normal wear and tear. In that case, numerous rental property owners will charge a pet deposit as well as the typical security deposit. Others may also increase the rent every month to help cover the additional property maintenance and repair costs. While the amount you charge is at your discretion, it is helpful to conduct some research and see what other landlords in your area charge for pets and take that as your reference.

Handling Complaints

While your tenant may love their pets, the neighbors might not be as pleased to have them there. Pet complaints can be difficult to handle because the common complaints, such as excessive barking or pets roaming unleashed, are not things that the rental property owner has direct control over. You can set clear expectations with your tenant about properly securing and leashing their pet and taking steps to prevent their pet from making extreme noise. At that point, formulate a plan for responding with repeated complaints, like a system to deliver warnings before going directly to breach of contract. This tactic might convince your tenant to be a more responsible pet owner.

Consequences for Violations

Despite the fact that giving clear expectations can greatly reduce the probability for tenants to abuse your pet policy, they may still end up violating it anyway. One of the most common strategies employed by tenants is to sneak additional pets onto the property, so they don’t have to pay the additional fees. Unauthorized pets are always a concern for landlords, whether you allow pets or not. If you catch on that your tenant has too many pets, unauthorized species, or otherwise violated your pet policy, you need to document the situation prudently and notify the tenant of the violation. If your state laws approve it, you could even include a fine for pet policy violations in your lease, which may give an even stronger incentive for your tenant to abide by the terms of their lease. It would be best if you then took appropriate action based on the number and severity of the violation.


Allowing pets in your rental property can improve both your profits and tenant relations. However, you need to have a clear and detailed pet policy that will help you establish and manage your tenant’s expectations from the very start. If you need expert guidance and advice on the subject of allowing pets, why not give Real Property Management Trailhead a call? We can assist you in outlining your rental policies in high-quality rental documents,  check your property regularly for hidden pets or other lease violations, and more! Contact us online or reach us at 817-930-1160.

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