In today's video we discuss a question we frequently get from Investment Property Owners: Do I have to Accept Pets? We discuss pets, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Service Animals in rental properties, and our Pet Guarantee. This video is one in a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for our Client Owners, Independent Rental Owners (IROs) and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Landlords.
Hello, greetings from Colorado Springs. My name is Lance Kohler and I'm the broker/owner of the Cornerstone Real Estate team. Today I'd like to talk to you about one of our Owner Frequently Asked Questions and that is: Do I have to accept pets in my rental property?
We often get asked this when on-boarding an owner or discussing potentially taking over management of a rental property with a new owner. “Do I have to accept pets?” “I don't want to accept pets.” Or “I don't like cats” or “I don't want any big dogs.” All of those are reasonable considerations. So in short -- do you have to accept pets? No, you don't have to. But there's often a “but”, or a caveat, that goes with a statement like that. In Colorado Springs, 70-80% of rental applicants have pets. So if you are not accepting pets, you're discounting a large portion of the rental market here in Colorado Springs.
The second thing to consider is that an emotional support animal or a service animal are not considered pets. So if someone presents themselves to apply for your property and they have a service animal, they might have a German shepherd that performs some tasks for them. We cannot prevent them from renting your property by law. They are allowed to rent it. So, even if your policy is no pets in the property, you still may end up with an animal -- an emotional support animal or a service animal -- in the property, regardless of your restriction.
And so with regards to emotional support animals and service animals, we use a third party vendor to verify that. That takes some of the legalities off of our personnel, our property managers. We send it to a third party and essentially someone who has an emotional support animal or service animal will fill out an application for that animal through the third party. Very similar to what they're doing with us as they apply for your property.
Another consideration is retention. Tenants with pets typically stay longer, not always, but that's generally the rule; they're going to stay in a property longer. And when I started in property management, my mentor always said that people take care of their pets, like they take care of their credit score. So we're already screening the tenants for their FICO score (for their credit score) before we allow them to rent your property. So we keep that in mind. Someone with a
high credit score, most likely is taking good care of their animal. And by taking good care of their animal, they're going to take good care of your property and not let their animal destroy your property.
You're the property owner, and we're going to abide by your wishes. We do have a few properties in our portfolio that we manage that do not accept pets, but we always recommend to owners that they accept pets in their property and just consider it a cost of doing business.
As I mentioned before, we have a screening process. I used it in relation to emotional support animals and service animals, but that screening process applies to anybody with a pet. So anyone with a pet or a service animal or an emotional support animal fills out an animal profile, essentially an application for that animal, which we keep on file and we use to approve the animal and the applicant. And that part is done through Petscreening.com, which is a company -- that third-party service that I mentioned earlier. And we also offer a Pet Guarantee.
The Pet Guarantee is really to remove some of the risk to you, the owner, and we will take some of that risk on ourselves. Cornerstone will pay up to $2,000 towards damages caused by a pet that we approved. So that's an additional benefit to you.
Contact us if you'd like to get your property enrolled. It's a new program. We've been rolling it out for our new clients as we're bringing them on. But we're also reaching out to our current clients or current owners. I did a short video just on the Pet Guarantee. So if you check back through our video blogs on our website, you'll be able to see that and get some more details.
Hopefully, this was of value to you. I appreciate you for watching. Thank you for your time. Have a great day!