It is not uncommon for tenants to initially agree to a no pet contract. A few months later, they may then decide to get a pet. How they decide to handle the situation can be very telling. If they are honest and open with you by asking for your permission, then they are more than likely willing to work with you to keep the pet. However, if they hide the pet from you, then this can be a negative sign. Once you confirm that your tenants have a pet living in their rental space without your permission, there are a few things that you can do.
Charge The Tenants a Pet Fee or Pet Deposit
A pet fee is a monthly fee that is charged to the tenants for owning a pet while leasing the property. The additional monthly fee is meant to take care of damages that are caused by the pet. If the pet fee is not outlined in your lease, you will have to negotiate a fair price with the tenants. If you choose not to charge a pet fee, then you can charge your tenants a pet deposit. This is a lump sum that your tenants are expected to pay all at once. Pets that are not well trained can sometimes cause a large amount in damages. A pet deposit and fee are meant to protect you from any damages that you encounter after the tenants end their lease. You can use the money from the pet deposit or fee to fix any damages before your new tenants show up.
Evict Your Tenants
If your tenants refuse to remove the pet from the property, then you can serve them with an eviction notice due to a breach of contract. In order to start the eviction process, you will have to file an unconditional quit notice with your courthouse. Your tenants will be sent a copy of the notice and will be expected to leave the premises within the time frame given on the unconditional quit notice. If they still refuse to leave the property, then you will have to bring an unlawful detainer lawsuit against the tenants. Eviction should really be a last resort. By evicting the tenants, you risk the possibility of losing out on rental income.
Dealing with an unauthorized pet on your rental property can be a recipe for disaster. However, if your tenants are willing to work with you, then allowing the pet to stay will not be a huge problem. Therefore, use these tips to deal with any tenants that breach a no pet rental contract. If you need a little help, consider property management professionals, like Foreside Real Estate Management, to assist you.