What is your pet policy?

When I run ads we get a lot of people asking if we allow pets, there currently is a no pet policy. I’m considering allowing dogs under 30 lbs.

What is your pet policy and why? Extra rent,extra deposit, renters insurance?

If I did I think I’d require a letter from a vet stating it’s up to date on shots and such and also stating the weight.


How are you going to enforce it? This is a serious question.

Our rules only allow for small dog breeds as defined by American breaders. Pit Bulls fall into medium size breeds so are therefore eliminated.
Not that small dogs are less likely to be a problem but generally speaking most people can restrain all small breeds. Dogs must be on a leash at all times and never to be left outside unattended. When a dog owner proves to be a problem we ban the dog from the community, report it to animal control or what ever is necessary to eliminate the problem.

You need to talk to whoever provides your insurance because they are the ones who ultimately will determine the minimums for your community. If the insurance company advises you that you can only have dogs that are “X, Y, Z” breeds and less than “x” lbs, then that’s where you will need to be to cause the least amount of problems. You can always enforce rules that exceed your insurance company’s recommendation, but never the other way around.

Our general pet policy is that we allow dogs that are 35 lbs or less and breeds that are not classified as dangerous breeds by our insurance provider. Additionally, we very rarely allow any pets in any of our rental homes. If a tenant fails to adhere to this, they will be non-renewed.

I would also like to add that you need to use your head a little on this. If the tenant has a fat little weiner dog that weighs 37lbs, then you probably don’t need to concern yourself with this. However, if the tenant owns a large breed puppy, then you may need to get involved before it becomes a problem. Your manager should be letting you know these things and you’ll need to make decisions on a case by case basis for each issue that comes up. As an aside, I may be borrowing Greg’s policy for future aquisitions. The small dog breeds definition would make a policy even less grey than the 35lb rule.

I think Charles is right on. Here’s the basics should you decide to allow tenants to have dogs:

  1. No agressive breeds of dogs (Pit bulls, rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Akitas, Chows, Mastifs, Wolf Hybrids…)
  2. No dogs over 35 lbs
  3. No dogs who have bitten or attacked or started to attack a human
  4. All dogs must be in the owners control at all times and on a leash while in the park
  5. Dogs may not be tied up outside without direct human supervision

Exceptions must be made for Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals, unless that animal proves to be a danger to others in the park. You can’t require deposits for these animals or insurance. You can have them sign the “Service or Emotional Support Animal letter from Tenant” form located on our website www.mobileagency.com/insurance-forms.html that confirms in writing the animal is what they claim it to be. And as Charles mentioned, there’s likely no harm in allowing a great tenant with a 12 year old docile Golden Retriever to stay in the park.

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Kurt - Question:

If you allow one exception for the 12 year old Golden Retriever, aren’t you opening yourself up to potential charges of discrimination?

What are the insurance rules on exotics? Many years ago in Florida we sold a home in our community and the new owner and resident showed up with an Ocelot. Our rules allowed cats and no one, including me, even thought about a weight limit on cats. Now its all those pythons, etc.

You are the expert on this, so I welcome your thoughts.

Personally, I would rather no one had pets in a land lease community. Too many things can go wrong, and the homes are too close together. I own and ride horses on a regular basis, but I wouldn’t try to keep them in the yard of a single family residence inside city limits, even if the law permitted it. Either I live in the country, or I keep the horses somewhere else. I and my wife Donna also like big dogs, but if we didn’t have the space for them to run and play, we would never consider having them because it isn’t fair to the dog.

In Illinois it is a license violation if the pet leaves fecal matter in common areas, so that adds to the problem. Realistically, banning all pets is a marketing barrier that is hard to overcome.

If you have a pet rule any exceptions to that rule makes the rule unenforceable. Allowing the little old lady with the large old dog into the community will prevent you from ever being able to have a pet restriction. Every dog owner would argue for an exception and legally you would not be able to deny them.
Weight limits are not realistic either. I prefer going by the American standards set for small breeds although I would also prefer a no pet rule. Enforcing pet restrictions and owner responsibilities regarding pets is the most difficult, irritating and time consuming park rule to enforce.

I agree completely with Ken on this. I’m passionately an animal lover as I’ve had horses, cats, dogs, and even a pet raccoon. My family regularly participates in adopting rescue Shelties and rescue race horses. However, I hate pets in my rental properties. Cats have caused me to replace more carpets than I care to remember and I’ve been bitten by my own tenant’s dogs on more than one occasion. We generally try to curb the pets in our properties but it really narrows down our perspective tenant base. I hate generalizations, but generally speaking, we’ve had most of our people live on either side of two extremes. They either own a pit bull that is sweet (bullshit) or a small yippee dog. I’ve found that it’s been easy for me to make a decision on a tenant when it comes to their pet based exclusively on my past experience and the fact that my decisions on pets haven’t been challenging. However, I’ve never run into a man-eating cat, a giant snake, or even an old docile lab or retriever! Considering we have 530 spaces in FL, I’m holding out hope to run into a tenant with a gator at some point just to have something more to contribute on this subject! This is a great learning experience for all involved on the nuances of tenant-pet drama.

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I think that’s the one sentence here that sums it all up very well.

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