How to Handle a Pet Deposit as a Landlord

One of the questions you’ll have to decide as a landlord is whether to allow pets. Many landlords explicitly prohibit animals because of the potential for damage to their Santa Cruz property. Because of this, allowing pets can expand your pool of eligible applicants. Pet owners who rent are more likely to stay in a unit where they can keep their pet, which decreases turnover. If you decide to allow pets, consider how you want to handle the security deposit. California law prohibits charging a specific pet deposit. This means you would have to charge a larger security deposit for all tenants, regardless of whether they had pets. This eliminates the perceived unfairness of a pet deposit. If the deposit gets to be too large, it might also shrink the number of people who are eligible to rent your property.

Keep in mind that just because you allow some animals, you don’t have to allow huge breeds or those with a reputation for destruction. A very clear pet policy, detailing the number of pets allowed, their size, and species is critical. You might also consider putting a clause in the lease agreement stating that all pets are subject to landlord approval. This might save the headache of repairing damage done by a poorly-behaved animal. Be sure to consult with your Santa Cruz property management company about the wording of a pets clause. You need to maintain fairness, stay within the law, and protect your property.