Allowing Support Animals in Your Phoenix Rental Property versus Pets

System - Friday, May 1, 2020
Property Management Blog

A lot of Phoenix investment property owners see their rental properties as mathematical equations. When it comes to the question of allowing pets, those animals are usually considered to be in the expense column.

However, in many situations, allowing pets can actually earn you more money. Today, we’re talking about pets and support animals and how you can protect your rental home.

Phoenix Property Management: Allowing Pets Reduces Vacancy

Approximately 70 percent of all households in the U.S. have at least one pet.

This means that most of your prospective tenants will have a pet. If you want to rent your home quickly and avoid long vacancies, you should consider allowing pets. Otherwise, you’re eliminating more than half of your potential rental pool.

Deciding whether or not to accept pets is personal, but if you don’t accept them, you may have to wait a little longer to find a great tenant who doesn’t have a pet. If you do decide to accept pets, you’ll want to set up some policies and safeguards so your Phoenix property managers can protect you and your property.

Phoenix Property Management: Pet Restrictions and Screening

The first part of your pet policy should include some screening standards. Outline what types of pets will be accepted (most typically a dog or a cat). We do not recommend that you accept puppies or kittens. At Bennett Property Management, we also won’t accept dogs that are on the “insurance list” that classifies dangerous breeds. These is usually going to include:

  • Pit bull
  • Doberman 
  • Rottweiler 
  • German Shepherd 
  • Chows

There may be others, depending on your insurance company. These dogs have been deemed as higher risks because of aggressive behaviors.

Phoenix Property Management: Pet Deposits and Pet Fees

A pet fee or a pet deposit should be charged when you accept pets.

As your Phoenix property management company, we will charge a pet fee per pet. We also use a third-party screening company to manage all of our pet applications. The company has an advanced screening process which includes uploading photos of the pets, documenting their vet and vaccination records, and collecting their behavior histories. Once the pet has been approved and the pet fee has been paid, the pet can be placed on the lease agreement and is permitted to live at the rental property.

Support Animals and Service Animals Are Not Pets

Service animals and emotional support animals are not pets, and they are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the tenants can produce the property documentation, you cannot deny these animals, even if you have a strict no-pet policy.

You also cannot charge a pet deposit or pet fee.

An assistive animal is usually a dog. These dogs have to go through training and be certified as an assistive animal. A good example is a Seeing Eye dog. Prospective renters with an assistive animal should be able to readily provide the documentation necessary to verify that the dog is a service animal.

Emotional support animals are a bit different. These animals provide emotional support for a person with a disability, but they are not trained or certified. You can require documentation from a health care professional stating that the animal provides emotional support to the applicant or tenant.

This area is where we really rely on our third-party screening company. They take on the liability of verifying the documents that an applicant provides, and we leave it to them to verify their authenticity. There are other parts of the law that address how many animals must be allowed, and what you can do to protect yourself against bad behavior and damage caused by animals.

We believe you should allow pets in your rental property because you’ll have a larger pool of tenants and extra income and protection through pet fees. Make sure you have safeguards in place for both pets and service or support animals.

If you need help with pets, service animals, or anything pertaining to Phoenix property management, we’d be happy to share our resources and expertise. Contact us at Bennett Property Management.