One thing you should know is that in the Albuquerque area, most prospective tenants have pets. In most cases, not allowing pets just doesn’t work. You’ll miss out on a lot of great tenants, and you’ll increase the vacancy time on your property. A better alternative is to put together a great pet policy that will protect your property.
Non-Refundable Pet Fee
Charge a pet rent or a pet fee. It should always be non-refundable. Include that in your lease and ask for the fee to be paid up front. Make the pet fee separate from the security deposit, which covers damages. The pet fee should only cover the normal wear and tear you can expect when there’s an animal living in the property. Be clear about the fact that the pet fee or the pet rent isn’t intended to cover damage and that any pet damage will be deducted from the regular security deposit.
Restrict the pets you’ll allow. It’s better to rent to tenants with older animals. You don’t want puppies or kittens that are under two years old. These pets are more likely to cause damage, so eliminating that headache is a good idea. You can also list the breeds you won’t accept. Instead of saying “no aggressive breeds,” be specific. Make a list of the breeds you will not accept, and stick to it. Also, we believe no exotic pets should ever be permitted. By exotic pets we mean large snakes or lizards, ferrets, wild animals, etc. Again, keep it simple and manageable and restrict pets to typical domestic dogs and cats. Your blood pressure will thank you.
Ask to meet the pet or ask for a photo. Often Tenants “stretch” the truth a little when describing their pet. It is fascinating how every dog is a “mix” of some kind. I cannot recall ever having a potential tenant describe their dog as a “Huge Pure Bred Pit Bull”. You cannot afford to just take your new Tenant’s word for it. Verify that the pet in question is what they say it is. And, be sure to familiarize yourself with Federal, State and local laws regarding service animals. Once again, a little peace of mind goes a long way!