If you are a landlord that decides to have a pet friendly rental, you deserve a pat on the back. Not only will you increase the number of applicants interested in your property (as an estimated 72 percent of renters own pets), you are also contributing to less animals being surrendered to shelters. Here at TurboTenant, we are pretty passionate about our furry friends. We appreciate the wag of a tail and the smile our TurboDogs bring to our faces.
However, not all furry pals are alike, and as a landlord, your goal is to protect your investment as best as possible. While all four legged, and even two legged, tenants will cause natural wear and tear over time, you want to avoid the horror stories of dogs that chew through walls and cats that leave a property smelling less than daisy-fresh.
One practice some landlords are putting into place is requesting pet resumes and conducting pet interviews. If you want to accept a furry pal into your rental property, consider asking for these extra steps to help you find the perfect two legged and four legged tenants for your rental.
What Does A Pet Resume Look Like?
If you have never heard of a pet resume, or even dreamed up such an idea, you may wonder what a pet resume even looks like? Below you will see a sample of what a pet resume might look like, though creativity abounds when it comes to dog owners designing their own unique pet resume style.
How Will A Pet Resume Help?
Although the words pet and resume may not seem like they ever belonged together, a pet resume can actually help landlords as they screen potential tenants. Not only will a pet resume provide you valuable information about the animal itself, it will tell you a lot about the human in charge of the animal in question.
A pet owner who is willing to take the time to put together a pet resume, probably also will take the time to care for their animal the right way. Most pet related rental horror stories are due to a pet owner who didn’t take care of their pet properly. For example, a dog who never gets exercise is far more likely to take out pent up energy on your property. Conversely, a dog who has an owner who took the time to put them through a training class is more likely to be well-behaved and well taken care of.
A pet resume will give you a feel for how invested the pet owner is in their animal. Do they glow when they talk about long runs with Fido? If so, there is a better chance they will ensure Fido knows his house manners and gets plenty of time outdoors.
What Should A Pet Resume Include and What Should I Look For On A Pet Resume?
As you can see from the example above, a pet resume should give you a quick overview about the applicant’s dog or cat. For dogs in particular, resumes can be a great insight into how well trained they are and if their owners have taken the time to vaccinate, neuter/spay, and chip their dog.
Go down the checklist and for any missing info, take note to ask the owner:
- Are they up-to-date on shots?
- Are they registered with the county or city (where applicable)?
- Do they have any training?
- Do they go to a daycare program during hours the owners are gone?
- Are they crate trained?
- Are they a friendly animal?
- Do they have references from previous landlords?
Asking For A Pet Interview
Once you have reviewed the information on the resume, put together your extra questions and ask to meet the pet. This is more realistic with dogs than cats, as many cats are not social animals.
Once you set up a time for an in-person meet-and-greet, it’s time to see how well-behaved the dog is and how in control the owners seem to be. Remember, new situations can be stressful for the animal involved. Never pet a dog without asking the owners first, and don’t be alarmed if the dog seems nervous. While the dog may have no idea it has arrived at an interview, in the sense a human would, dogs do pick up on the energy around them and they might become stressed.
Things to look for are how the owners handle their pet if the pet seems dangerous in any way, and how well it obeys commands. During this interview, ask the owners a few questions. Cover any items missing from the resume and inquire about previous landlord references. If the dog has lived in a rental before and the previous landlord is willing to vouch for the pet, you can get a much better sense of how the animal will act in your rental.
When you are talking to the pet owners, get a feel for how invested they are in pet ownership. Do they exercise their dog daily? Do they spend a lot of time away from the house, or is someone normally around to ensure Fido can take an outdoor potty break?
Making Your Final Decision
Remember, when you are screening tenants, it is important you always stick to the same criteria for acceptance or rejection. Keep in mind as well that service animals are not pets, so the same screening process is not allowed. Read over the Fair Housing Act to gain a better understanding of what constitutes as a service animal, and consult with a lawyer if you have any questions about your screening criteria.
DISCLAIMER: TurboTenant, Inc. does not provide legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. All users are advised to check all applicable local, state and federal laws and consult legal counsel should questions arise.