This week our Landlord guide will be covering how to deal with tenants breaking pet policies. Pets strike a sensitive subject for landlords and property managers; To most tenants, pets are a very present member of the tenant’s family, and when the pet does not comply with the landlord’s pet policy things can turn sour very quickly. Often at times, it can feel like your tenant has backed you into a corner.
Continue reading to find out what you can do to protect yourself once you are aware one of your tenants is breaking pet policies. Like many landlords know, tenants will continuously try to push their luck and see what they can and cannot get away with at a property. If you have a pet free policy at your properties, the chances are that at some stage you will encounter a tenant who wants to push their luck a little bit further
Tenants breaking pet policies usually get discovered after a few months of being on the property, things like repair work, routine inspection or by neighbours are all ways that you can be alerted to a pet in your property.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, the moment you discover something is breaching agreements, professionally conduct yourself and act within the legal limits. If you are unsure of correct legal practice, seek advice and guidance from a lawyer.
Landlords and property managers need to be prepared for handling the unauthorized pet situation legally and professionally. Feelings can run high when you are enforcing your no pet’s policy; tenants are usually emotionally invested in their pet, asking them to get rid of the animal is a lot easier said than done. You must follow your lease terms and legal procedures to get your tenant to fix the lease violation.
Your tenant lease agreement should state your pet policy and outline what the repercussions of breaking this will mean for your tenants. In the situation that your contract does not allow pets, say that domesticated animals are not permitted under any circumstances. Highlight that failing to stick to this policy will instantly be considered a breach of contract. Optionally you can include a fine for this violation of the agreement and how many warnings (if any) will be given to tenants with pets.
Before you allow the tenants to move in be upfront, clear and concise with your policies. Let them know that you will be carrying out quarterly maintenance visits to ensure your property is being maintained to an acceptable standard.
Once you have discovered a pet, be sure to follow through with what your rental agreement states the consequences of having a pet are (Fine, warning, an eviction notice.) You can check out our “How to evict a tenant” Blog post for insight as to how to go about this. A lot of the time these headaches can be prevented, and in property management, the mantra of “Proactive, not reactive” is a perfect way to conduct business, set plans, make things crystal clear for your tenants, always think in the long term.
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