Rental Basics in Fort Worth>Question Details

Bp56691, Home Buyer in Fort Worth, TX

As a first-time landloard, should I allow an indoor pet? If so, how do approach the pet deposit?

Asked by Bp56691, Fort Worth, TX Wed Nov 28, 2012

I purchased a house and have a few extra rooms available. To speed up my real estate career I have been asking around for roommates for additional income. After finding one, I discovered the owner had a great dane that is housed indoor. These are supposed to be good indoor dogs; however, I have laminate flooring in some parts of the home. Also, I have no awning to dry the dog when it rains. Therefore, it will shake and be wet when entering the house if it's wet outside.

Do landlords typically have issues like this? How should the pet deposit be handled if I decide to move forward with this arrangement.

Thanks in advance for the assistance

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Robert McGuire’s answer

What is your real estate career. Starting out as an investor or becoming a licensed Realtor? First, the pet deposit should be negotiated at the time of signing the lease. It can be whatever you determine it to be after taking into consideration all of the potential problems and damage that could occur. Pet deposits are common in landlord-tenant agreements. Second, thiis is not a rental where you are an absentee landlord. You will be living with this huge pet on a day to day basis. Getting extra income is one thing, but your personal comfort should be the first priority. From the tone of your question, I don't think this is a good fit for you. One of the first things to learn as a landlord is not to just accept the first potential tenant that walks up with cash in hand. Take the time to think through all of the issues before accepting and signing on the dotted line.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Direct - 303-669-1246
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2012

Don't get me wrong. I have and appreciate them BUT...

The choice is yours, unless it is in a deed restricted community and then the decision will be made for you.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend it. There's just too much potential for damage. Even with a "pet allowance" the damages can far exceed the money collected. Being a landlord comes with too many headaches anyway.....Why not eliminate this one from the beginning? You'll sleep better...........

1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2012
We generally do not accept large dogs as the damage can out way the benefits. If we do accept a pet we charge a pet "FEE" you will also want to check with your insurance provider as some do not cover liability for dogs. My best advice is to be patient and wait for the right tenant.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2012

Honestly it is entirely up to you and you alone. With the assistance of a seasoned agent I would imagine the chances of finding a great tenant is increased dramatically. However, with pets you just never know. Typically I request a $300 pet deposit and a monthly pet fee of $10 per pet. I would recommend a weight restriction on animals. Every animal is different however in todays market you can afford to be picky when selecting tenants. Contact me for more info.

Keller Williams Realty
Real Estate Consultant
Joseph Fernandez
cell: 817-975-7258
off: 817-635-1157
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 3, 2012

Hopefully I have not offended someone by my attempt to give my personal edvice in the matter of a pet deposit and what taking on a large dog might incure.

Keller Williams Realty
3xUS Army Veteran
Joseph Fernandez
cell: (817)975-7258
off: (817)635-1157
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 4, 2012
#1. You need to be very careful about renting rooms. This may not be allowed by your city, so you could have an illegal lease that is not enforcable with someone living in your home.
#2. You could be in violation of the HOA rules and regulations if you live in a community with an HOA.
#3. As a landlord I never allow pets. No deposit can cover the easy damage a pet can do. What would it cost to have your laminate replaced? What does it cost to fill in all the holes dug in the yard and the damaged fence ( I saw today.) Probably not that much, but the hassle factor of having to find someone to haul in dirt, resod the yard, replace the damaged fence, etc is just not worth the deposit the tenant doesn't care about.
I can't imagine living with someone else's dog in my house. Wouldn't work with me.

If you want to be a landlord, rent your whole house and go get an apt. You just put way too much at risk getting roommates. If you do go this route, get an attorney to draft your lease. Don't buy one on the internet, or get one at Office Depot. Get YOUR attorney that YOU pay that knows the laws in your area to do it for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 30, 2012
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
As a Property Manager, I've found that you may limit your prospective tenants by not allowing pets; that being said, you absolutely have the right to discriminate here and advertise that pets may be allowed on a case by case basis (i.e. small dogs only, small to medium sized dogs and only spayed/neutered de-clawed cats, etc.).

For tenants with multiple pets or home owners who are a little skiddish about allowing pets, I usually recommend the home owner charge an additional refundable $250 pet-deposit (on top of a nonrefundable $250 pet-fee) for a little more peace of mind. At the end of the lease, the $250 pet-deposit is refundable provided there is no damage caused by the pet(s).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 29, 2012
The question pertains to someone renting rooms in their own home. Your answer is for renting the entire property. It's good information but in my reply, I suggested a "no pet" policy because the one asking the question has "a few extra rooms available", not one room. What you do for one you pretty much have to do for all. If you accommodate one tenant with a dog, you may end up with a "few extra" pets and the risk that each one may cause damage. If you have multiple pets then it becomes problematic to determine the cause of damages. It becomes a pile of potential problems. My parents has several income properties and I help them manage them. If it's a single tenant or family renting a house, a pet or two is no problem with the recommended deposits suggested in your reply. When there is a roommate situation and several tenants with different pets, it never worked out. For us, deposits were always disputed in a multiple pet scenario. Now, no pets, no problem. I believe that applies here
Flag Thu Nov 29, 2012
One of my closest friends, a Real Estate Broker, rented rooms in her home for a while. Her basic rule on pets. No Pets. Simple. Not intended to be mean but it was for everyone's comfort and to ensure the property didn't suffer unnecessary damage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 29, 2012

You seem to be getting a variety of answers to this question about pets. But you are not talking about being a "landlord"; you are talking about a ROOMMATE! These are two totally different situations.

As a roommate, you gotta set your boundaries right up front. It has become a question of what YOU can live with now. So if you are not comfortable living with a dog, go look for another roommate.

As a "Landlord", there may be different considerations. First of all, please understand that there is NO such thing as an "outdoor pet." All families will let the dog inside when the weather is bad, or whenever they just want the company of the pet. So don't fall for that line!

My personal opinion is that small dogs can do just as much damage as large dogs. The weight of the animal is really immaterial. Many big dogs are much better behaved than many small dogs. Behavior is determined by training, not by size. So, as the Landlord, you've got to decide what you can stomach, and how badly do you want that perticular tenant in your house. So many families have pets that you will severely limit your pool of potential tenants by restricting the house to "no pets." Perhaps a better approach is to charge a significant deposit up front for any dog or cat.

But if you are new to being a landlord, you really need to think about how you are going to word your lease in advance. Put in special provisions the behavior you expect from your tenants, and make the consequences clear so they know what happens if they violate the terms of the lease. For example, you may want to reserve the right to terminate the lease and kick the tenant out if you don't like what their dog is doing. I suggest you go inspect the place that the tenant lives in BEFORE you agree to rent to them. That way you can see exactly how they live, and what their dog has done to the current yard/house that they live in. Put stiff penalties into the lease for damage caused by an animal, and then inspect your property frequently to see how the animal is behaving. Ask the neighbors if the dog is barking too much. And remember, "barking" is not obvious damage, so you will need to word that violation very carefully in the lease.

Most tenants will just move out and forfeit the deposit. So make sure you get enough money up front to make you happy when they leave you with damages to repair.

Good luck!

Rick DeVoss

ULTRA Real Estate Services

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
I have owned a rental property for 12 years and never allow any pets. The light beige carpet is still in great shape. The vinyl in the kitchen is about time to change and we've only needed touch up paint this last year. I actually needed to paint the exterior before the interior. I am a firm believer in saying no to pets and setting the standard that you expect shoes off and the home to be well cared for. I just don't need to experiment with pets because I have a nice house in a nice neighborhood in a good school area. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that if you give renters and inch, they take a mile.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
I am definitely not a dog person (cats rule!) but I have allowed dogs twice in my no-dogs rental. Once it was fine - a very sweet Boston Terrier that caused no problems. I wrote him a glowing reference when my tenants relocated. The other time was a larger dog and he barked more than promised. Dog owners tend to be overly optimistic about how their dogs act. Often their barking is worst when the owner's not there. Plus it can make it difficult when you go to rent again and have to deal with the dog during showings.

My experience has been with an apartment - not with rooms in my own home. I can't imagine a pet deposit or monthly charge that would make it ok for me - but that's for you to decide. If a pet does damage I would think it could easily cost more than the typical pet charges. And then there's the quality of life issues with noise, smells, and the condition of your yard to consider.

One thing that I've found challenging but have really tried to do is to not leap at the first show of interest in my rental. There will be someone else that will be a better fit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
Most people's pets are like their children. The pet may be very spoiled, but the owner is completely clueless. Unless you are an absolute pet lover, I would advise against renting to anyone with pets. The pet may shed or it may like to sleep on your couch or eat at the table with you or it may bark too much. You run the risk of so many things bothering you. Pet deposit can run $250 and up or it can be an extra $20 or more added to the monthly rent. The amount is negotiable and it is up to the landlord. However, no pet deposit will make up a situation that you are not happy with.

Nadine Cius
Realty Icons/Mortgage Icons
2425 West Loop South, Ste. 200
Houston, Texas 77027
Direct: 713-412-0217
Fax: 281-500-4067
Your One Stop Real Estate Consultant Group!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
Good Afternoon
There are no hard or fast rule for allowing pets this is a case by case basis. This is an area where you have to decide what you are comfortable with. Judging by the tone of your email you do not seem very comfortable with the idea, in which case it is probably best to say no. Best of Luck to you!

John Straub
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2012
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