Dangerous Dogs: What Landlords Need to Know

You’ve found the perfect tenant, performed a tenant screening check, signed all the paperwork and removed your unit from the rental market…then you see his three “babies”, a trio of growling pit bulls perched on your patio. Pets of any type are a tricky proposition, but some dogs can actually be dangerous to you, your property and your other tenants. Learn more about what you can and can’t do to protect yourself from tenants with dangerous pets.

Allowing some pets, but not others: As a landlord, you can choose to rent to people with pets, or bypass them entirely. Most pets are harmless and enhance the renter’s enjoyment of your home, but some breeds or particular dogs can be troublesome or impact your other tenants. Choosing to rent to owners of specific breeds is your choice, and restricting some breeds doesn’t make you an animal hater or an awful person; in some cases, it just makes you a savvy landlord.

Consider restricting certain dangerous dog breeds in the following situations:dangerous dogs

Your city has a breed ban in place: If your city or town is one that has chosen to ban select breeds, you have to comply with the law. Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherds and Dobermans top the list of banned breeds, but there are about a dozen that are banned by communities that use Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). If you are renting your home to a pet owner, you should be familiar with your area’s breed specific laws; a quick call to your county animal control office should give you an idea of what to expect for your area.

Your insurance company charges you more for some breeds: Some homeowner’s policies refuse to cover specific breeds entirely, while others charge a hefty premium. If your tenant’s dangerous dogs or other pets will end up boosting your insurance costs for years to come, it may be best to avoid the situation entirely. Your insurer can let you know what breeds it considers dangerous and will charge extra to cover.

You’re worried about liability: While there are no actual laws that property owners are always liable when a tenant’s dog injures someone, there are plenty of cases that have ended up with liable landlords. From having knowledge of a particular dog’s aggressive tendencies to failing to repair gates or fences, landlords have been found liable for thousands in damages when it comes to dog attacks.

Your own peace of mind: You may be a dog lover and even have dangerous breed pets of your own, but you never truly know how a dog will react to a new home or situation. You also have no way of knowing how your tenant has raised his pet, or even where the pet came from. Some rescues have come from terribly tragic circumstances and may be more prone to act out of fear or aggression than others. If renting to a tenant with a dangerous breed will give you nightmares, cause you extra stress or simply make you afraid to visit your property, don’t do it. There are plenty of renters with small or benign pets that can rent your property without causing you undue stress.

If you don’t restrict breeds and you do rent to a tenant with so-called dangerous dogs, there are some ways to protect yourself and some potential issues to expect. If you have a tenant in place who owns a large or aggressive dogs, they may scare away other potential renters. If the dog in question is aggressive towards other animals, you may run into noise ordinance issues if the dog in question barks whenever another pet walks by the home.

Your lease is your best protection against dog-related issues. Screen your tenant thoroughly and meet the dog in question. Make sure that you write in the specific breed and the specific dog you are allowing, and spell out the consequences of poor pet management. If a neighbor or other tenant has a complaint, be sure to follow up; failing to do so could cause you to be held liable in court if a problem occurs. Taking extra precautions during the application and leasing process can protect you, your property and your other tenants in the long run.

– See more at: http://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/property-management/latest-news/dangerous-dogs-landlords-need-know/#sthash.thKEgCUY.dpuf

Cary, Raleigh, Morrisville, Durham, Holly Springs, Apex, Garner rental homes and property management

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Red Flags: 5 Warning Signs a Good Tenant is Going Bad

stamp warning with red text on whiteYou’ve done all the right things — screened your tenant well, created and signed a comprehensive contract and met all your responsibilities as a landlord, but what happens when a previously good tenant goes rogue? Here are some warning signs that your tenant may have trouble ahead and what you can do to protect yourself or minimize your risk.

5 Signs a Good Tenant is Going Bad:

1. A turbulent romantic life: While your tenant has every right to privacy, a string of overnight guests can spell trouble down the road. If your tenant is sharing the keys to the property, another adult will have access to your building — an adult you have

not screened or even met. People meet, fall in love and decide to live together every day, and that’s a great thing — but it can spell trouble for your property. Most tenants won’t realize that they have an obligation to let you know that they have moved another person onto your property. If you have a good lease, there is likely a requirement that you be informed of all new tenants. Check your lease and proceed from there to ward off any potential problems.

2. A new arrival of the four footed variety: Your tenant’s tired old Basset Hound passed away, and after a period of grieving, a new puppy has been chosen. The problem here lies with breed and activity level. If you approved an older, sedate, non-threatening breed, you have the right to know that a new pet has been purchased, and what to expect from that new animal. Your lease should specify the pet that was allowed, and if a new pet has been acquired, it will need to meet your guidelines. Admire the puppy, but check your lease and make sure you ask some questions about his parentage and where he’ll be living during the day.

  1. Your tenant is moving on: Rental properties are transient residences, but even the best tenant can fall short of funds or lose track of time when they are moving from one place to another. While most move-outs go smoothly, some tenants can adopt a “nothing to lose” attitude as the big day approaches. If you’ve got a tenant that is planning to move, keep a closer eye on the situation than you normally would, just to be sure you are paid in full and that the property is left in acceptable condition.

4. Trouble in paradise: Having a new boyfriend or girlfriend move in can be a red flag — but so can a spouse or significant other who is on the way out. Shouting matches, frequent reports of trouble by other neighbors and other displays of a relationship in trouble should be a red flag for you as well. You face two potential problems when a relationship is on the rocks — damage to your property and a loss of tenant income. If the breadwinner moves out — or even if the person paying half of the rent moves on, the remaining tenant will struggle to pay the bills. Make sure you know who is living in the property and be aware of any unexpected move outs or departures.

5. Financial crisis sets in: If your tenant is facing some financial stress that is not impacting his ability to pay the rent, you should still keep a closer eye on the situation. People who are repeatedly having issues paying the utilities or experiencing cutoffs are living very close to the edge, and a single misstep could result in the rent not being paid. If you notice that you often have utility workers in and out of a unit on a monthly basis, they may be turning off and restoring services and signifying that a problem lies ahead.

While you may not be able to ward off every problem, as much advanced notice as possible will help you protect your property and your investment. If you do notice one or more of these warning signs, simply being more aware of the property and making sure that the lease and property rules are being followed may ward off a problem or give you peace of mind.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for all your property management needs. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

– See more at: http://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/property-management/red-flags-5-warning-signs-good-tenant-going-bad/#sthash.LPRzk7wh.dpuf

Red Flags: 5 Warning Signs a Good Tenant is Going Bad.