Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement- Pet Policies Best Practices
Description: An article on the meaning of a pet addendum and the advantages of having one attached to a lease agreement. It also lists down the key terms to be mentioned therein
Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement- Pet Policies: Best Practices
What is a pet addendum?
When renting a home, the landlord and the tenant enter into a lease agreement that sets the conditions of the lease. Often, the lease agreement contains a clause that states whether pets are allowed on the property or not. But sometimes, it is silent on the question of pets. In both these cases, a pet addendum is helpful for both parties to set out the pet policy.
A pet addendum is an additional document that is added to the lease agreement and is legally binding on both parties. It states the landlord’s permission to allow pets on his property while the tenant agrees to adhere to the terms set in the addendum. Since the landlord is the owner of the property, he has a greater power of negotiating the terms of the addendum. He should get it signed by all tenants, regardless of whether they have a pet or not. In this way, if a tenant decides to get a pet later, he would be aware of the conditions that he is required to observe.
Who should get a pet addendum?
Having a pet policy in place in benefits both the landlord and the tenant. Since many people have pets and rent homes, disallowing pets on the rental property will drastically reduce the number of potential tenants for landlords. On the other hand, the tenants will stay longer on the property as not many landlords allow pets. They may even pay more for an animal-friendly place.
What are the consequences of not having a pet addendum?
In the absence of a pet addendum, both landlord and tenant stand to lose. The landlord may lose time finding a new tenant. Similarly, then the tenant will lose time finding a new home. They will have to spend extra money- the landlord for any damage done to the property; the tenant for having to pay a fine. The landlord may have to deal with neighbors upset over the activities of the pet while the tenant may land in a position to altogether give up the pet.
What should be included in a pet policy?
Allowing pets on the property poses certain risks such as damage to your property. In order to avoid these, a landlord should consider including certain terms in the pet addendum agreement.
- First and foremost, mention the names of the landlord and tenant; identification of the pet- its name, breed, age, color, and the date when the agreement will come into effect.
- Types of pets allowed: Most landlords allow only common pets such as dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, and birds. Specify the types of pets allowed and also the number of such pets. The landlord has the authority to ban dogs belonging to ‘dangerous breeds.’
- Clearly, state that only the tenant’s pets are allowed on the property. Also, mention whether guests are allowed to bring pets with them.
- Designate certain areas where the pets can be kept.
- Include provisions mandating clear identification tags on pets and proof of their vaccinations. These vaccinations should be in compliance with local ordinances and the tenant must provide proof of the same. He should have all the necessary documentation concerning the pet.
- Responsibilities of the tenant: Elucidate the responsibilities of the tenants with regard to the pets. For example, the tenant must keep the pet under control, must cleanup after the pet, must not keep the pet unsupervised for an unreasonably long time. State the liability of the tenant if the pet causes any damage to the property.
- Include a clause allowing for alteration of the addendum by giving reasonable notice to the tenant. State that the new rules will not apply to tenants who already had pets before the changes were made.
All the provisions in the addendum should be in compliance with the law of the concerned state and the Fair Housing Act. For instance, if a landlord decides to impose a pet fee and it exceeds the maximum amount of security deposit that a landlord can charge under the laws of the state, such fee will not be legal. Also, charging a fee from a tenant who keeps a pet as a companion to accommodate his disability may be in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Roxana, a writer by calling and an academic has created scintillating and remarkable content for dozens of websites in the purview of the Business Sector. She has a fair understanding of the inner workings of several business establishments, making her the foremost expert in this field.