How To Deal Effectively With Pet Owning Tenants

In BC, pet owning tenants can find it challenging to find landlords who allow pets on their property, especially with such a tight rental market. As a landlord, you have the right to prohibit pets, except if the pet falls under the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, and in this case, you cannot refuse the pet and cannot charge a pet damage deposit.

Advantage of allowing pets

  • Pet owners will not part from their pets very easily, so you can ask for a higher rent especially if the area does not have many pet friendly properties. 
  • Renters who settle in with their pets are less likely to move, as they will find it hard to find properties that allow pets. So, your tenant will have a longer tenure.
  • Allowing pets will give you a larger tenant base to choose from – pet owners and non-pet owners. 
  • Pet owners are generally considered to be responsible due to the task required to keep their pets, for example they will endure heavy rain and snow to exercise their pets.

Disadvantage of allowing pets

  • Pets can damage your property by soiling carpets, spoiling the landscape, and chewing on wood.
  • Noise created by pets can disturb the neighbours.
  • Poorly kept pets for example those that are not groomed properly or bathed regularly, or if litter boxes are not cleaned, can cause odors that are hard to remove. 
  • Some pets can cause physical injuries to neighbours and other pets. This can create serious liability issues.

If pets are allowed, the tenancy agreement must be very clear on addressing the pets in the lease. Ensure that you have a pet policy in place and that the tenant is aware of all its provisions and expectations.

Reasonable limitations in your pet policy:

  • Specify the number of pets allowed on the property at any time.
  • Place a limit on the size of pet allowed in the rental home.
  • Be clear about what breed and species you will allow, especially when it comes to dogs, as some breeds are known to be aggressive.
  • Be clear about the licensing and vaccination of the pets.
  • Ensure that you have a “guest pet” stipulation, as some visitors may bring their pets and be clear on how long the guest pets can stay on the property.
  • The tenant must be responsible for addressing excessive noise and other nuisance behaviours.
  • The tenant must be aware about cleaning up any pet waste and being responsible for any pet damage that my occur.
  • Be clear about leaving the pet unattended for long periods of time. Unattended pets can become noisy and destructive.
  • Ensure that the tenant is aware about keeping your property free of fleas and other pests. This requires vacating the property in the same condition as when moved in.
  • It is important that the tenant’s rental insurance covers damages, accidents and other liability issues connected with the pet.

Questions to ask:

  • Is the pet properly licensed?
  • Is the pet properly vaccinated?
  • Does the pet have any obedience training?
  • Is the pet left alone for long periods of time, during the day and overnight?
  • Is the pet spayed or neutered?

Damage deposit As a landlord, you have the right to ask for a damage deposit for the pet, unless it falls under the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act. The deposit must be equivalent to a half month’s deposit, regardless of the number of pets. The deposit can only be used to cover any damage done by the pet, unless otherwise agreed.

Tenants chose VIRANI because we offer an exceptional level of service and professionalism in the management of properties. If you have a property that requires tenant occupation, please contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000.

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