Skip to Content

Setting Expectations with Pet Owners

Matthews Tenant Holding Her Cat

As a Matthews rental property owner, you must establish realistic expectations with your renters from your first interaction. Your pet policy should be one of your top priorities. The decision to allow pets in your rental home is one that only you can make. Both options have benefits and disadvantages, which may also render it difficult to make a hard-and-fast decision. If you do decide to allow pets, you need to have your pet policy clearly outlined and ready to go over with your renter when they sign the lease. You should also set clear expectations with your renter pet owners, detailing the type and number of pets permitted, pet deposits and fees, monthly charges, vaccination and behavior conditions, how you’ll get to grips with complaints, and the consequences for violating your pet policy. We’ll go over each of these in considerable depth below.

Type and Number of Pets

By far, the most common pets that Americans have at home are dogs and cats. Your pet policy should include details about any breed or size restrictions and how many pets are allowed. Check local legislation and follow any rules you discover. Smaller pets, such as birds, fish, and hamsters, are also popular, so make sure to include them in your lease agreements.

Pet Deposit/Fee and Monthly Rent

It’s one of the drawbacks of allowing pets on the property: pets often cause damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear. As a result, in addition to the regular security deposit, most rental property owners will impose a pet deposit or fee. Many charge extra pet rent on a monthly basis to help offset the increased property care and repair costs. While the amount you charge is entirely up to you, it’s a good idea to conduct some research and check what other Matthews property managers charge for pets before setting up your own.

Vaccination and Behavior Requirements

Apart from the financial responsibilities of rental pet owners, include any additional needs relating to keeping pets in your lease. For instance, many cities and counties have vaccination and licensing regulations, particularly for dogs. By including your local regulations in your lease and requiring your renter to follow them, you can better protect yourself and your property from potential legal issues. The same thing is true for pet behavior. In your lease, be sure to specify any restrictions on the behaviors of pets, such as excessive barking, allowing pets outside or off leash, or other potentially problematic behaviors. Outline clear consequences for violations of these and all requirements to help enforce your lease more easily.

Handling Complaints

While your renter may adore their pets, the neighbors might be less comfortable having them there. Pet complaints can be tough to endure because everyday complaints, such as extreme barking or pets roaming unleashed, are not things that the rental property owner has direct control over. You can set clear expectations with your renter about properly securing and leashing their pet and taking steps to keep their pet from making too much noise. Then, make a plan to handle repeated complaints, such as a system to issue warnings before going straight to breach of contract. This tactic may encourage your renter to be a more responsible pet owner.

Consequences for Violations

Even though setting clear expectations can help decrease the potential for renters to abuse your pet policy, they may still violate it anyway. One of the more common things renters will try 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. Suppose your renter has too many pets, has an unauthorized species or breed, or otherwise violated your pet policy. In that case, you should document the situation carefully and notify the renter of the violation. If your state laws allow it, you could even include a fine for pet policy violations in your lease, which may offer an even stronger incentive for your renter to abide by the terms of their lease. Depending on the number and severity of the violation, you should then take the appropriate action.


Allowing pets in your rental property can be good for your profits and tenant relations. But you need to have a clear and detailed pet policy that will help you establish and manage your tenant’s expectations right from the very beginning. If you would like some expert guidance and advice on the issue of allowing pets, why not give Real Property Management Charlotte Metro a call? We can help you outline 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 704-919-1344.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

The Neighborly Done Right Promise

The Neighborly Done Right Promise ® delivered by Real Property Management, a proud Neighborly company

When it comes to finding the right property manager for your investment property, you want to know that they stand behind their work and get the job done right – the first time. At Real Property Management we have the expertise, technology, and systems to manage your property the right way. We work hard to optimize your return on investment while preserving your asset and giving you peace of mind. Our highly trained and skilled team works hard so you can be sure your property's management will be Done Right.

Canada excluded. Services performed by independently owned and operated franchises.

See Full Details