No Pet Policy

I have a park I will be closing on soon that has a zero pet policy.  Seems it would keep out a lot of future tenants.Is this too restrictive?

Ask the present owner. If the park is full to an acceptable level then the no pet policy has not had an adverse effect.Our park has a size restriction which is far harder to enforce that a no pet policy. There are also some parks that have certain breed exclusions but this still allows some larger breeds that are much harder for owners to control than smaller dogs. The purpose of placing restrictions on dogs is not really controlling the dogs it is controlling irresponsible owners.

Our insurance requires that no do be heavier than 30 pounds regardless of breed, with no exceptions. It has been our experience that a flat “no pet” policy is not realistic if you are trying to gain or retain occupancy, as many of our best customers have small pets. Obviously, we would love to have zero pets in all our parks, as they do nothing but cause damage. But we don’t believe that we can get away with being that strict and maintain occupancy.

Few insurance companies that insure MHP’s will insure a park if the park owner allows animals over 30 lbs or aggressive breeds (Chows, pitbulls, mastiffs, rottweilers, German shepherds, Akitas, wolf hybrids, dobermans…).  Thus, if you allow any of these dogs, usually the best you can do is a buy liability coverage that excludes animal bites, which is simply a big risk.  Dog bites cause our insureds large losses every year, and insurance companies thus have very little tolerance for them as they see them as a controllable management issue.  You can try to have the dog owner carry liability insurance but most mobile home owners liability coverage forms either exclude animal bite coverages or have a drop down minimal liability limit of something like $10,000 or so.  And the cost to buy a true “dog bite liability policy” is generally $600 or more per year for a small limit of $100,000 - not enough to take care of a bad bite claim.Finally, be careful not to try to exclude either Service Animals or Emotional Support Animals.  Both are protected by Federal Law and you can get in trouble quickly (these pet owners love to complain to the authorities) for doing so.

What would happen in the event of an incident in a park whose rules stated that no dogs were allowed? Is the park owner any less liable?

Probably more liable for not enforcing their no dog rule.
If tenants live in a community with a no dog rule they expect that they will be safe from dogs which falls on the landlord to police. If the landlord does not police a no dog rule then they could be viewed as negligent.

This park unfortunately has ~20 dogs across 32 occupied lots. 5 of them qualify as vicious. Debating escrow mechanism to deal with any of the 5 tenants that decide to leave once I let them know of no vicious dog policy. Aside from that, debating charging $25 additionally monthly for anyone with a dog and requiring them to have insurance. Sounds like a bit of a mess to deal with though. Am I literally going to have to go lot by lot to figure this out?

You won’t have to, but your manager should. Give anyone with a “vicious” dog 15-30 days to comply. If they do not, start the eviction process. Same goes for pools, trampolines, junk, etc. It’s not a big deal and your manager should be helping enforce the rules by letting you know about violations.

Thanks. Out of curiosity, do you allow 30+?

Also, would the fact that the city owns and maintains the streets make any difference?

We allow what our insurance company directs us to allow. Kurt’s company handles our insurance and we’ve always been advised not to allow any pets over 30 pounds along with a long list of restricted breeds. When you take over send your letter with your new rules. Then, don’t make exceptions when you have tenants contact you about the reasons why you should make an exception for their pit bull. You really don’t have a choice if you want to insure your park.

I think there is some debate on whether parks should call out certain breeds as it’s sort of subjective and changes regularly - along with the confusion stemmed from cross breeding you can end up with a rottweiler poodle maybe? Okay maybe not but you get the gist.

A lot of people playing it safe just say no dogs over 30 pounds and keep the breed conversation out of it since most aggressive breeds are inherently not over 30 pounds anyway.

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Got it. Makes sense. Thanks to all.