It can be quite a hassle screening through potential tenants when you’re a property owner looking to rent out your properties, but when it comes to their pets, would you tread with caution, or view it as a dealbreaker? For many pet-owners, their pets are almost like family, but landlords may not have the same view, due to several reasons. These may include an aversion to dogs or cats (or any other animal), suffering from pet-related allergies, or due to cultural or religious constraints. Nevertheless, it may be silly to reject a potential tenant simply because they are a pet-owner, so perhaps some basic rules or guidelines can be put in place to ensure the renting process is as smooth and trouble-free as possible.

This answer from Quora might give landlords an insight into how to determine whether to accept pet owners as tenants. According to Karin (who lives in the US), she had a co-worker who owned several rental properties. He would rent to people who had animals under the following conditions:

Vet as reference
They had to give their animal’s vet as a reference. He would call and ask the vet how long the person had been a client, to describe the animals the person owned, and ask when was their last visit. (He never rented to anyone who couldn’t or wouldn’t provide a vet as reference.)

Additional Security Deposit
They had to be willing to put up an “animal security deposit” to cover special issues like fleas, ticks, scratches, and other damages, specific to the pets.

Liability Insurance
If the animal was a dog, they had to show him that they carried liability insurance (I think US$200k) that protected him from lawsuits arising from dog bites. Not sure how that worked.

Pet “Interview”
He had to “interview” the animal: he had to actually see the animal and watch how it interacted with the potential renter.

Additional Clause in Tenancy Agreement
For people with dogs, he had a copy of the municipal code covering nuisance barking. He made the renter sign it and acknowledge that they would abide by it, with the understanding that if they failed to abide by it, their rental would be terminated.

This seemed to work out well for him. The vet reference screened out a lot of potential problems; he said that he figured that someone who was conscientious about vet care for an animal wasn’t likely to do something flakey like abandon the animal. He also said that conscientious pet owners were among the best tenants he had; because it was so hard for them to find a place that accepted animals, they were usually very stable, low-maintenance tenants.

So there you have it. While some landlords are hesitant to rent out to pet owners, it goes to show that a good screening process – both for the tenant and their pet(s) – is important when renting out your rental properties.