Ultimate Guide to Pet Screening

Last Updated: April 2024

Pet Screening

Pet screening is a systematic rental property screening process undertaken by landlords or property managers to assess pets accompanying tenant applications. This process often includes evaluating various pet attributes and compliance with property policies to ensure they fit within the community guidelines. The goal of pet screening is to identify potential issues and ensure a harmonious living environment for all tenants and their pets.

How to Perform Pet Screening

Pet screening typically involves a series of steps designed to evaluate a pet and its owner in the context of a rental application. Below we take a look at the common 7 steps involved:

1. Pet Application

The tenant provides detailed information about their pet, including type, breed, size, age, and behavior traits.

2. Documentation Review

The landlord or property manager reviews provided documents such as vaccination records, spay/neuter certificates, and, if applicable, pet licenses to ensure the pet’s health and legal compliance.

3. Pet Interview

In some cases, a meeting or “interview” with the pet may be conducted to assess the pet’s behavior and compatibility with the rental environment.

4. References Check

Contacting previous landlords or property managers to inquire about the pet’s behavior and any issues during previous tenancies.

5. Pet Policy Agreement

The tenant must agree to the property’s pet policies, which could include rules regarding noise, leash requirements, waste disposal, and restrictions on areas within the property where pets are allowed.

6. Pet Deposit/Fee

When applicable, agreement on a pet deposit or non-refundable pet fee to cover potential damage caused by the pet. This is typically separate from the standard security deposit.

7. Pet Addendum to Lease

Incorporating all agreed-upon terms into a pet addendum to the lease agreement, making it a part of the binding contract between the landlord and tenant.

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Pet Screening FAQ

What is Pet Screening?

Pet Screening

Pet screening is the process landlords and property managers use to assess the suitability of allowing a tenant’s pet in a rental property.

Yes, pet screening is a legal and common practice among landlords and property managers to ensure compatibility and safety within rental properties. However, it must be conducted in accordance with fair housing laws and cannot unjustly discriminate against service animals or emotional support animals.

How is the Pet Screening Process Different for Service and Support Animals?

For service and support animals (i.e. assistance animals), the pet screening process focuses on verifying the animal’s status as necessary for the tenant’s health or disability support, rather than assessing pet-related policies or fees. Depending on jurisdictions, Landlords sometimes cannot charge pet deposits or fees for service or support animals but may require documentation proving the animal’s status and necessity for the tenant’s well-being, in compliance with fair housing laws.

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