Pet Screening: What Is It and Why Do Kitsap County Real Estate Investors Need It?

The Joseph Group Apr 2021

Ian Joseph

“Clients first!” – is a huge part of the DNA that Ian Joseph and his Team have established at The Joseph Group. This motto helps them focus on striving for the highest level of customer experience, for their clients (landlords) and customers (tenants). In fact, Ian strongly believes that in life, family and business, you must strive to give more than you receive. “You can have everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." - Zig Ziglar

When turning your former home into a rental or buying an investment property in Kitsap County, you'll face plenty of decisions throughout the management of the property. From handling maintenance to choosing renters and setting the ideal rental price, maximizing the income from a rental property requires making smart decisions and applying best practices for success.

Should you allow pets in your properties? Whether it's a destructive animal or the potential for a nuisance pet, we understand the concern when offering pet-friendly properties. However, many investors enjoy the benefits of pet-friendly properties and the boost to their bottom lines.

With a pet screening process, investors can minimize risk and select quality renters and pets for their properties. What is pet screening, and why do you need it? Keep reading to learn more from our expert Kitsap County property management team!

Cat with myopia

Screening Applies to Pets, Too

Pet-owners are often excellent renters who renew their lease and take good care of rental homes. With quality renters who stay for more than one lease term, investors make more money! However, allowing pets into your property can also usher in a new set of problems.

The idea that a dog living in your Kitsap County rental property destroys the floors, walls and yard can become a reality without a pet screening process. Much like you screen applicants to find the best residents—and avoid the bad ones—pets in your rentals should pass a screening process, too. 

Rental property owners must be careful when screening pets. Screening people for your properties requires following Fair Housing laws and avoiding discriminatory actions. When applying a pet selection process, investors must also avoid anything that a potential renter could perceive as discriminating against them or their pets.

Follow the Rules

Pet screening (legally) can be tricky. A Kitsap County property management company helps rental property owners follow the rules when setting criteria for pet-friendly properties and selecting renters with pets. If you're not a "pet person," it can be challenging to let personal preferences get in the way of knowing and following the laws for animals in your rentals.

Work with a property manager to make sure your criteria and selection process follows Washington State rules about banning certain dog breeds. While your criteria can include specifics about allowed pet breeds (and species), be careful about being too selective and risking a claim of discrimination.

Criteria can include maximum weight allowance, no history of aggressive behavior, up-to-date vaccination records, and a clean bill of health.

Start With a Pet Application

Your pet screening process should start with a pet application, just like your selection process for human renters. Responsible pet owners should have no problem providing critical information to confirm their pet's qualifications for living in your rental. Work with a Kitsap County property management company to set up an application that includes:

  • The pet’s name, age, breed, and gender
  • Behavior history (note any reports of bites, attacks, or noise complaints)
  • The pet's weight
  • Vet history (vet contact information, a complete record of exams, confirmation of current vaccinations, and details about health issues)
  • Prior two years of addresses where the owner has lived with the pet
  • Confirmation that the pet is house trained

Don't stop with receiving this information. Contact the vet and prior rental property owners to confirm the pet's information is accurate. 

While screening pets can't prevent all pet-related problems, it's the best way to minimize risks and benefit from pet-friendly properties. Make sure renters sign a pet addendum in addition to the lease and understand the rules for owning pets in your rentals. Encourage renters to maintain a renter's insurance policy for an additional layer of protection if a pet causes damage. 

Handsome guy is drinking tea sitting on the floor near the couch

Service Animals Are an Exception

What happens with a renter has a service animal? Kitsap County rental property owners must allow renters to bring assistance animals into their properties—without going through the pet screening process.

To comply with the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), service animals are an exception to pet criteria and addendums. However, most assistance animals are well-trained and well-behaved. In most cases, these animals are low-risk for potential property damage or disruptive behavior. 

Manage Pets (and Renters) With Expert Kitsap County Property Management

An expert Kitsap County property management company makes it easy to navigate pet screenings and policies for your rental properties. We understand the laws and how to manage renters (and pets) to maximize your income while protecting your investments. 

Joseph Property Management focuses on delivering the best service in Kitsap County! Whether you offer pet-friendly properties or not, we conduct extensive screening for all applicants to place the best quality renters in your properties. Good renters and excellent pets can help investors maximize their real estate investment income! Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about how you can benefit from pet-friendly properties.

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