Your pet policy is an important part of renting out your Tampa residential property.
In the first two blogs in our series on property management, landlords and pets, we explained why it might be a good idea for you as a landlord to accept pets. We also explained how pet damage can be minimized when it comes to renting your property. We will discuss pet liability and how you can minimize the chances that any damage or injury caused by a pet will not be your financial responsibility.
Pet Liability – Check your landlord insurance policy.
As a Florida landlord, any recent policies you have will probably not include any kind of pet liability. If you are fortunate enough to have some coverage for liability from pets included in your landlord policy, read the fine print. There will probably be exclusions for certain kinds of animals, including exotic reptiles and birds and certain breeds of dogs. Any landlord policy that includes pet liability will also not cover any damage or injury incurred from dogs or other animals that have been specially trained to fight or attack.
As a landlord, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from these policies. If a landlord insurance policy is hesitant to cover certain animals and breeds, you should exercise that same caution when you are renting your residential property. In our first blog, you learned that accepting pets is a necessity unless you want to exclude 80 percent of the potential renters looking for homes. However, you can put restrictions on the types of pets you will accept. Do not accept any exotic animals, including reptiles and birds and be selective in the types of dogs you will allow.
Consider getting pet reports and shot records directly from the veterinarian.
You do not want to take your renter’s word for it when they tell their dog’s breed, that they are up to date on their shots and they have a quiet, docile animal. The dog that your renter tells you is a “poodle-mix” could actually be mixed with a Doberman or Pit Bull. This type of dog can put you at risk because of its breed and background. Ask your potential tenants to give their vet’s written permission to share records and immunizations with you. This will minimize your risk as a property owner, and help you make decisions on which types of pets will reduce your liability.
As a landlord, having a pet policy in place that welcomes average dogs and cats that are mature and house trained makes good economic sense. However, you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to limit your liability when it comes to the harm that a dangerous dog or an exotic bird can do. Be specific and selective when it comes to the types of pets you will accept.
Contact us or give us a call if we can answer any questions at (813) 875-7474.