Addressing Pet Policies in Your Lease Agreement

Living with pets is an experience that can bring joy and excitement to the family, but it also introduces legal considerations. Landlords must carefully craft their pet policies in their lease agreement to avoid future conflicts between them and their tenants. Doing so helps protect both parties and sets the ground rules for a clear and mutually beneficial arrangement.

What Should a Pet Policy Include?

A pet policy in a lease agreement should address the following topics:

  • Type of Pet Allowed: This section should clearly outline the types of animals that are allowed and which ones are prohibited. Make sure to define the two terms so that both tenants and landlords are on the same page.
  • Pet Fee: Some landlords require a pet fee that is typically non-refundable. This helps cover any potential damage that might be done by a tenant’s pet.
  • Pet Deposits: This is also known as a pet deposit, and can be required in addition to the pet fee. This is typically refundable if the pet does not cause any damage to the property.
  • Cleaning Policies: Include details on how the tenant is expected to clean up after their pet. This should include regular bathroom breaks, cleaning out litter boxes, and picking up pet waste from the yard.
  • Barking, Growling and Other Noises: Animals that bark or growl excessively can be a nuisance to other tenants, so including these policies to the lease helps to keep sound levels down.
  • Leash/Carrier Rules: If the property requires that pets be kept on a leash or in a carrier when outside, include that in the policy.
  • Damage to Property: This section explains that the tenant will be responsible for any damage that their pet might cause to the property.
  • Vaccinations and Licensing: This ensures that all pets on the premises are healthy and up-to-date with their required shots.
  • Breeding Restrictions: Some landlords do not allow breeding on the premises. Include this in the policy, if appropriate.
  • Sanitation & Hygiene: Include the tenant’s responsibility to maintain a clean and sanitary environment for both their pet and the rest of the tenants.

Benefits of Including Pet Policies in Your Lease Agreement

Including pet policies in your lease agreement provides numerous benefits:

1. Avoids Disputes

Including pet policies in the lease agreement helps to avoid disputes between the landlord and tenant. Everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect. This makes it much easier to address any issues that do arise.

2. Protects Both Parties

Pet policies protect both the landlord and the tenant. For the landlord, they help to prevent damage to the property and ensure that the tenant is paying the required fee or deposit. For the tenant, it provides clarity on what is expected from them and ensures that their pet is safe and secure.

3. Establishes Clear Rules

Pet policies provide clear boundaries and set expectations for both parties. This helps to avoid confusion and disputes that can arise from not knowing the rules.

Making the Most of Your Pet Policies

When crafting your pet policies, make sure that you are thorough and detail-oriented. Include everything that is relevant and cover any areas that could potentially be a source of conflict.

It is also important to ensure that the pet policies are legally binding and compliant with local and federal laws. If you are unsure of the legal requirements for pet policies, consult with an attorney.

Finally, make sure that you regularly review and update your lease agreement as needed. Things change over time and your pet policy should be updated to reflect those changes.


Creating a clear and thorough pet policy in your lease agreement can help to ensure everyone is on the same page, avoid potential disputes and provide protection for both the tenant and the landlord. Craft your pet policy carefully and make sure that it is legally binding and compliant with all relevant laws.

When done correctly, pet policies can create a clear and mutually beneficial arrangement between the landlord and tenant that both sides can enjoy. The key is to be thorough and take the time to get it right the first time. Once you’ve established a strong pet policy, you can rest assured that your rental property is well protected and that any issues that do arise can be quickly and fairly resolved.

What should landlords include in pet policies for renters?

1. Types of Animals Allowed: Specify which types or breeds of pets are allowed on the premises.

2. Pet Fee: Describe the pet fee amount, if any, and when it must be paid.

3. Restrictions on Animal Behavior: Establish rules for pet behavior, such as limitations on barking or noise levels, requirements for leashing animals in common areas, etc.

4. Responsibility for Cleaning Up After Animals: Lay out a plan for maintaining hygiene and tidiness on the property—including rules on not letting pets roam off-leash.

5. Pet Damage Liability: Make sure the policy is crystal-clear on who is responsible for paying for any damage caused by pets on the property.

6. Veterinary Records: You may require tenants to provide proof of vaccinations and other veterinary documentation before allowing them to keep pets on the premises.

What documents should landlords require from renters when setting up pet policies?

1. Proof of pet license/registration.

2. Documented proof of vaccinations and/or medical records from a veterinarian.

3. Proof of current flea and tick treatment.

4. Photo identification of pet and/or owner.

5. A signed pet agreement outlining the pet policy, rules, and regulations

6. Signed acknowledgement/release of liability and pet damage deposit agreement.

7. Signed pet rental agreement.

8. Documented pet policy that outlines pet size/breed restrictions, pet fees, and other renters rules.

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