Why Pet Screening Is Always a Good Idea

Allowing pets into your rental property can be a great way to increase your rental income. However, many landlords may have some concerns with dealing with possible pet damage or noise issues. This can be easily resolved with a strategic and thorough pet screening procedure.

In this article, we will cover the essential aspects to include in a pet screening process and what to look for when screening your tenant’s pet.

What Are the Advantages of Pet-Friendly Rentals?

There are many benefits for landlords who accommodate pet owners, including the following:

Renters Are Likely to Stick Around for a Long Time

Since tenants want to keep their pets in a familiar environment, they tend to stay in one place. They also want to undergo fewer pet screenings, so they’re likely to settle down and keep renewing the lease. This will ultimately lead to a consistent stream of income for your rental property.

Landlords Can Attract More Tenants

When you are marketing your rental property, it’s crucial to stand out from your competitors.

One way to differentiate your property is to allow pets, as many other landlords may not offer this. Advertising amenities designed for pet owners can also increase the attractiveness of your unit such as a backyard, hiking trails, and dog parks.

By providing a pet-friendly property, you will also be able to charge a higher rental price.


You Can Attract Responsible Residents

Tentants with pets tend to be more responsible, and as such will comply with their lease agreement and take great care of the rental property. This will translate to a well-kept property and a peaceful landlord-tenant relationship.

What Is Pet Screening?

Similar to the tenant screening process for your rental property, you also want to carefully select the pets staying in your property. This will ensure that you keep damages at a minimum and limit potential disturbances and complaints.

You can either evaluate the pets on your own or engage the services of third-party providers, such as a property management company like RedSail Property Management.

The goal is to gain more insight into the pet’s behavior, health, and temperament. We recommend asking the tenants with pets to meet up in person, completing a questionnaire, and submitting the required health documents of their pets.

What Is the Pet Screening Process?

Here are some of the questions you should ask during a pet screening process:

  • What is the type and breed of the pet?
  • What is the pet’s age, height, and weight?
  • How long has the tenant owned the pet?
  • Does the pet have any formal training?
  • How is the pet’s behavior with children, tentants, and other pets?
  • Does the pet have a microchip?
  • Is the pet spayed or neutered?
  • Is the pet insured, registered, and vaccinated?
  • For dogs, how well do they behave on a leash during walks?
  • For cats, does the cat strictly stay indoors?


After receiving an application form and a completed pet questionnaire from a potential tenant, you can arrange to meet face-to-face with them and their pet.

What Pet Clauses Should You Include in Lease Agreements?

Pet policies help landlords maintain habitability standards and hold their tenants accountable for additional payments or damages. In your lease agreement, we recommend providing a clause that covers the types and amount of pets allowed, and the fees and deposits that tenants must pay.

We also recommend landlords to ask pet owners to submit updated pet records during lease agreement renewal. This ensures any risks continue to be kept at a minimum.

How Should Landlords Handle Pet Fees and Deposits?

Keeping a pet-friendly rental can always come with the risk of pet-related damages. In Virigina, landlords can charge for a pet deposit to help to mitigate these risks. However, if the pet is a service or emotional support animal, you are not allowed to charge a deposit.

Here are the three types of pet fees you can charge:

  1. A one-time fee is usually non-refundable and paid by the tenants at the start of the lease. This will cover any pet-related wear and tear.
  2. Pet rent is paid on top of the monthly rental fee, where pet owners pay an extra charge for keeping a pet in the rental unit.
  3. A pet deposit is added to the security deposit in order to cover the cost of any pet-realted damages. This is collected by landlords at the beginning of the lease period.

Bottom Line

Accommodating pets can be risky and stressful, especially if you are a first-time landlord. However, with a professional property manager at your side, such as RedSail Property Management, you will have little to worry about.

We have been in the property management industry since 2016. With our years of experience handling tenants with pets and conducting pet screenings, we have the expertise and knowledge to handle this process smoothly while maximizing your rental income.