Start your membership account today...  Access to credit reports, 100's of rental specific forms, agreements, letters, checklists, how-to articles, guides, expert advice and much more!  Even a FREE, 3-day trial!

Not a Member?
Get a Free Trial Membership

  Get FREE Stuff! Run Credit Report Rental Forms  Shop & Buy Forms!  Advertise Your Rental Customer Care

Welcome to Landlord.com's Discussion Forum
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment   Page 1 of 3      1   2   3   Next
rkkeller

Registered:
Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #1 
I had something come up which I am not sure about.

My young female tenant asked about getting a dog, either a small small one to carry around or a boxer/pitbull type, one to take on walks to the park and woods.  There are three parks within walking distance.  The tenant has not been much of a problem, a few small things, and we are hoping she stays a few years unless something changes.  I almost forgot to add the tenant shares custody of her 3 year old and sometimes watches a friends baby.

My mom is co-owner and she thinks its fine and wants me to tell the tenant its OK.  I told her if we allow her to get a pitbull and something happens to a neighbor or its gets loose and does something "we" might get in trouble.  She doesn't think so saying the tenant would.  In NJ our insurance allows any type of dog and we already have a $500k extra coverage liability policy as I have a few dogs.

 

So two questions:

Could the owners get in trouble if they allow a tenant to have a pitbull and the dog does something ?

I also thought about telling her its OK but she needs to pay 1/2 the cost to reinforce the fence.  The fence is only a couple years old but I would want to put full sheets of plywood around the bottom so my dogs would not see hers or hers seeing the neighbor on the other side.  I would also pound the thick rebar rods in the ground so it would not dig under.  Can you ask a tenant to pay this ?

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #2 
Absolutely do not allow a pit bull!!!!  Let me say that again, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT ALLOW A PIT BULL!!!
 
While your insurance may not be cancelled for a pit bull (and I'm not so sure about this, since most insuarce agencies consider this type of dog as a huge liability-check with an affiliate of your insurance company, but not from your agent*), this will NOT protect you in case of some accident.  Even the tenant having their own insurance will not protect you.  If that dog gets loose and attacks another dog, a child, or some other person, you would be sued by the other person.  You allowed her to have that dog with your full knowledge and consent. 

Let's say the dog manages to get through your fence (no fence is escape-proof).  He attacks a small child in their own yard.  The parents are distraught and decide to sue.  Are they going to sue the tenant who has no assets and owns no property? Or will they additionally sue the deep pockets LL who owns property?  What do you think?  They will choose to sue the property owner too - you and your mother.  Will $500k cover a small child's permanent disfigurement?  Will it cover the the plastic surgeries?  Would it cover a pain & suffering award?  Haven't you seen those multi-million dollar awards that juries give to a victim?  Of course, this is a worst case scenario, but that is what you must consider.

Tell your mother this is not OK at all.  Allow the tenant to get a small dog (no pit bulls or any other dog on any banned list anywhere).  While certain species may not be banned in your area yet, if they have already been banned in other areas, it may only be a matter of time before they are banned there.  Search the web and you will find a list of banned dogs.  Some are banned for agressiveness, some for being unpredictable, some just because they are problematic to rentals (too large, they shed badly, they slobber, too hyper for indoors, etc.)  Consider the temperment of the breed of dog, its traits, its needs - before allowing that particular dog.  Meet the dog before you permit it to check for agressiveness. 

Take an extra pet deposit if you are allowed in your state for the dog (check state deposit rules).  Get the tenant to sign a pet addendum that applies to only that particular pet and NO OTHERS.  Pet deposits and pet adendums should not transferrable to any other pet (in case they claim a beagle, then substitute a pit bull).  It should identify the individual pet with a description and photo.  Make sure the tenant is responsible for all vacainations, licenses, cleaning up after the pet, extermination of fleas, carpet cleaning at move out, etc.

I doubt you could force the tenant to pay for improvements to your yard either.  You could request this as part of the dog addendum to your lease, but what do you do if she doesn't?  I doubt you could evict on failure to reinforce your fence.

*Check with another agent for the same insurance company that you have, but not from your own agent.  Do not identify yourself to that person.  Insurance companies keep reports called CLUE reports.  These determine what rates you pay for insurance.  Just an inquiry like this can be enough to raise your rates.  If the insurance company found out that you were asking about a tenant getting a pit bull, you could find your rates jacked up or your insurance cancelled without notice.
rkkeller

Registered:
Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for all the advice.

I made small talk when weedwacking last weekend and she is planning on a small dog and said no pitbulls.  I was glad to hear that.

Also NJ Manufactures insurance, which not everyone can get here in NJ as its not public, does allow any breed of dog.  I called CS, sales and a few different numbers to look into it.  They do have a $500k liability limit though  and I guess thats for a reason.
rkkeller

Registered:
Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #4 
Update !!  It looks like the tenant got a purebred B&W Boxer puppy from a pet store.  Its small now but I think will be 50-70lbs full grown.

I was hoping she was going to get a dog from the shelter and something smaller but I guess its done and now we know.

I feel bad in a way as I am not sure I was going to renew her lease in 6-7 months and always hate what sometimes happens to dogs that people have in a rental.  They get them thinking "in the now" not fully realizing a dog is a responsibility for life (8-10-15 years).
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #5 
Another reason not to allow large dogs in apartments.  When she goes to move, that little puppy won't be little at all.  She'll have a very hard time tryiung to find a place that will take a 50-75# dog in a rental!  I also don't allow puppies.  They have to be trained and have lots of accidents along the way.  Hope your flooring can take it.

Funny!  When I was exiting out of this screen, I got to the one listing threads on Pets.  2 down from this one was Tenant's Puppy Wrecking Carpet!  Sure hope you don't experience this!
rkkeller

Registered:
Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #6 
I know what your saying as I have a lot of dogs :> and seen what they have done over the years to my stuff.  Lost a door, Sony Hi8 camcorder, remotes, shoes, books, dvds, videos, chewed ends of coffee tables, etc....

We already talked about the carpets and she promised to keep the dog in the kitchen, one single sheet of flooring,  until its trained and she also went out and bought a crate for nights and when she is not there.  She does have a nice sized 6' fenced in yard and thats a benefit.

I was debating saying something at first but she wasnt trying to hide the dog and so happy gushing about it, kept inviting me over to see it.  Then when I went over her 2-3 year old daughter was over and running around playing with the dog.

I guess I will have dog #6 when she moves.  I hope not but I dont like seeing dogs put in the pound, why I have 5 already.
rkkeller

Registered:
Posts: 764
Reply with quote  #7 
Update.  Noone else ever updates their threads but here is the latest.

I went to Home Depot and purchased thick 4'x8' sheets of plywood and some 4" x 4" x 8' big lumber.

I put the 4x8 plywood along the entire bottom of the fence separating our yards plus I put the 4x4's along the bottom.

I know nothing is 100% but this is very sturdy and I feel a lot better now.
Saved_Astronaut

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #8 
IF U ever DO allow pets, U may want 2 make sure they can safely live OUTside in an enclosed area, like say, a garage or barn. I know of some 1 who rents & he's allowed 2 have pets, but UNfortunately, he NEVER cleans house & the air is foul. this is y i suggest the outdoors pets. due to the shedding & dander & the smell they leave on furniture & even carpets, they SHOULD either B kept outside OR regularly bathed. for example, I personally would not want to have my company sit down where an animal has been rolling around, like say on my nice couch. it's good if tenants keep places CLEAN, but it's bad when some don't. this is y so many owners don't allow pets. additionally, weno one likes having to clean up pet messes the last tenant leaves behind. this whole thing CAN be a very complext area to discuss, due to pet owner laws. For example, some laws state that a caged pet is not really a pet at all, but a HOBBY. Another example; no one likes to face the fact that most owners don't allow pets, which is why Fido's left behind or ends up in a shelter. the APL often finds abandoned pets due to this very situation. yes, rentals should be protected, but also on the other hand, Fido has to live somewhere, too. with forclosures on the rise, many people lose their homes due to job/income loss, (I've seen it happen). when homes are lost, not only people suffer, but so do the animals. tenants who DO have any pets should give a one-time deposit, just in case their beloved damages something. I wouldn't let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch, because there really R good tenants out there who CAN B VERY responisble. pet ownership DOES fall on the shoulders of the pet owner, & it's upto them to act responsibly for the behaviors & cleanliness of their own pets. I hope this helps.

Best Wishes!!!


__________________
3,2,1 & LIFTOFF Of ARES To The Moon, Mars, & Beyond!!!!
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #9 
Keep in mind that the garage will smell and look just like the yard if someone keeps a dog in there.  A finished garage would be awful!

No one likes to clean up the yard after that pet and that needs to be detailed as one of the pet owner's responsibilities, along with spaying or neutering, vacinating, registration, flea prevention, following lease laws, etc.  Fleas in the yard can easily transfer into the house on any person walking through.  Once inside, they are hard to get rid of requiring multiple exterminations.  A good pet addendeum should be used whenever any LL allows a tenant with pets.
pmahen

Registered:
Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #10 
As a landlord you need to cover your tail end which means minimizing your liability exposure. Dogs are great pets and most tenants will have one but you need to put in place a rental agreement that discloses which dog breeds are acceptable. To get a list of high risk dogs contact your landlord insurance carrier as they will have a list of dogs that are high liability risk and often not accepted on your policy.

Landlord insurance can provide the coverage you need to protect against dog bite liability claims. Being a rental property owner is a great source of income but it can also be a nightmare if you are not prepared. Remember to always do random checks on your property to make sure no unwanted pets are living there.
MOON

Registered:
Posts: 577
Reply with quote  #11 

RK- What I found necessary to add to my lease are 2 things- 1st being abandonement issues, I have had 2 tenants leave their cats behind when they left & yes I am a cat person and ended up taking them in but tired of tenants who just leave their pets behind I spoke with the ASPCA and turns out it is a punishable offense.they can be taken to court & charged a large fine for doing so. The 2nd thing is as per my REIA I added on a increase in rent for tenants who get additional pets without permission, 50.00 per pet. since the main reason for eviction in NJ is for nonpayment of rent.I have had almost every tenant I allowed a dog to abuse the priveledge & get more animals.one got a few cats,chickens,and more recently a duck.told them to go live on a farm!!! Totally ticks me off,as I was one time a tenant and very grateful to find a LL nice enough to allow my dog & did not abuse it. 

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #12 

Quote:

Dogs are great pets and most tenants will have one but you need to put in place a rental agreement that discloses which dog breeds are acceptable. To get a list of high risk dogs contact your landlord insurance carrier as they will have a list of dogs that are high liability risk and often not accepted on your policy.

The OH legislators are enacting a law that doesn't allow you to discriminate based on breed of dog.  So we will no longer be able to list specific prohibited breeds.  We can still list no dogs over xx pounds, no vicious dogs, etc.

Second, DON'T call your insurance carrier to inquire about dogs.  Any potential inquiry that could lead to any claim is a liability as far as the insurance company is concerned.  It will appear on your CLUE report (google or do a site search on this).  Just an innocent "what if" question counts against you as far as insurance goes.  It can increase your premium or affect your insurance.
Helentan

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #13 
I think most tenant won't allow to have pets..
oliverB

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #14 
Dogs are man's best friend. Its alright to have a pet dog.
OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,733
Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Dogs are man's best friend. Its alright to have a pet dog.


Only if the LL allows you to have pets.  If the lease says No Pets, it is not alright to have a pet of any kind.
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

Apartment Finders > > Member Log-in > Free Trial Offer > Free E-newsletter > Customer Service > Get Free Stuff! > Run Credit Report > Rental Forms > Vacancy Center > Do-it-yourself > Evicting Your Tenant > Foreclosure Resources > Landlord Discussion Board > Income Tax Resources > Information Center > Join Landlord.com > Landlord Law > Library > Multi-family > Professional Advice > Rental & Property Mgmt > Rent Collection > Repair & Maintenance > Security Deposit > Software Center > Tenant Screening > Vacation Homes > What's New > Rental Agreements > Free Leases > Inside Our E-store > > Security Deposits > > Landlord Daily News > Rental Agreements >
LandscapingSanJose.net Resources: Cleaner Sunshine coast