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Do I Need a Pet Policy for My Rental Property? - Norfolk, VA Property Management Education

We’re talking about the importance of having a pet policy for each of your rental properties. In the 13 years that I have been a property manager in Norfolk and the surrounding Hampton Roads area, I have realized that the first question any potential tenant asks before looking at a property is if you accept pets. 

Before you say yes or no, do some research. As a landlord, you will want to contact your insurance company and ask if there are any limits on your landlord policy or business owner policy. You need liability coverage in case an animal hurts someone on your property. Your insurance agent might say there are exclusion breeds which are not allowed, or they will tell you they don’t cover animals at all. 

Whatever they tell you, write it down and include it as part of your pet policy. Your lack of pet liability insurance coverage does not mean you can’t have pets on your property. It just means that in the lease you’ll have to tell your tenants that they need an HO-4 renter’s insurance policy with the liability to cover their pet. 

At Doud, we have a standard pet policy where we allow one pet weighing less than 40 pounds. We also charge a $350 nonrefundable pet fee. We don’t allow vicious breeds because as property managers, we need to feel comfortable when we go in and do an inspection or make a repair at that property. We don’t allow Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Akidas, Dobermans or German Shepherds. Again, your pet policy can reflect different breed exclusions depending on your own comfort level. Just remember that you might have to enter that property and you need to be willing to do that with a more aggressive dog living there. The biggest mistake you can make is not having a pet policy at all. That is never a good thing. Know your options and what you need to do to make it right for your property and your tenants.  

If you have any questions or you need help developing or enforcing a pet policy, please contact us at Doud Realty Services, and we’d be happy to help you.