Add 10 Rules to Plug Loopholes in Your Pet Rules
Almost every site that allows pets has a set of pet rules, usually in the form of a lease addendum that covers such issues as picking up pet waste, preventing nuisance problems, and keeping pets out of prohibited areas. But many pet rules don’t cover other important issues, such as a resident’s abandonment of a pet, a resident leaving a pet tied up outside his unit, or a resident’s attempt to replace one pet with another or bring home additional pets. We’ve put together 10 rules to add to your current set of pet rules to plug any loopholes you may have. And we’ve given you Model Language you can use to add these rules to your tax credit site’s pet rules lease addendum. Make sure you show the language to your attorney before using it.
Rule #1: Resident May Keep Only Described Pet
Make sure to describe the specific animal the resident may keep, and say that the resident may keep only that animal. And require the resident to get your consent if he wants to replace or add a pet. If you don’t, the resident may replace an acceptable pet, such as a house cat, with an unacceptable pet, such as a Doberman, or he may bring home too many pets. Also, say that fish aren’t covered under this rule. It’s unreasonable to ask a resident to seek your approval every time he wants to replace a goldfish.
Resident may keep only the pet or pets described below, with no substitution or addition of other pets without the prior consent of management. Fish are not covered under this rule.
FOR DOGS & CATS
Pet’s name _______________________
Color & Weight ____________________
FOR ALL OTHER PETS
Pet’s name _______________________
Type of pet _______________________
Total # ___________________________
Size of cage, etc. ___________________
Rule #2: Resident Must Get Prior Consent for Pet Offspring to Live in Unit
Require the resident to get prior consent for his pet’s offspring to live in his unit. Otherwise, you may end up with six dogs living in one unit.
No pet offspring may be kept without management’s prior consent.
Rule #3: Small Indoor Pet Must Relieve Itself in Designated Area
Most standard pet rules say where pets can relieve themselves outside the unit, but they don’t say where pets such as cats and small dogs that use litter boxes and wee-wee pads can relieve themselves inside the unit. You don’t want these pets relieving themselves in areas covered by carpet or hardwood floors. So limit the areas where such pets can relieve themselves, such as in the kitchen or bathroom.
Pets that must relieve themselves inside the unit, such as cats and small dogs, may urinate or defecate only in these designated areas: ________________________________________
Rule #4: Resident May Not Tie Up Pet Outside Unit
Many lawsuits have started after a pet that was tied up outside a resident’s unit got loose and bit someone or caused property damage. So ban the resident from tying up his pet anywhere outside his unit on your site.
Pets may not be tied to any fixed object anywhere outside Resident’s unit, except in fenced yards (if any) set aside for Resident’s exclusive use.
Rule #5: Resident Must Not Feed Pet Outside Unit
Food or water left outside a unit can attract bugs, vermin, or other animals. So ban the resident from leaving food or water for his pet outside the unit.
Pets must be fed inside the unit. Pet food or water may not be left outside unit at any time.
Rule #6: Pet Must Be Inoculated
Require the resident to get the pet inoculated and to update the pet’s inoculations with booster shots when necessary. Also require the resident to give you proof of the inoculations by giving you a statement or bill from a vet or a humane society clinic.
All pets, as applicable, shall have rabies and distemper inoculations and such booster shots as needed. Residents shall provide proof of said inoculations and booster shots by providing a bill for these services from a veterinarian or a humane society clinic.
Rule #7: Resident May Not Construct Facility to House Pet Outside Unit
You don’t want a resident to build a facility, such as a doghouse or bird aviary, to house his pet in a common area. So ban the resident from constructing any facility for his pet outside his unit.
Resident may not construct a facility to house a pet outside the Resident’s unit.
Rule #8: Resident Must Not Leave Pet Unattended for More than 24 Hours
A pet left unattended for a long period of time may cause damage to the unit by scratching on walls or floors or relieving itself in unauthorized places. It can also cause a nuisance for other residents by barking or meowing excessively. So say that the resident can’t leave his pet unattended for more than 24 hours. Also say that if this happens, staff may enter the unit to rescue the pet and transfer it to a local humane society at the resident’s expense.
Resident must not leave a pet alone unattended for more than 24 consecutive hours. If this happens, staff may enter the unit and transfer the pet to a local humane society or a similar facility at the Resident’s expense.
Rule #9: Resident Must Be Home or Pet Must Be Restrained During Inspection and Maintenance Calls
A pet can make it difficult or even dangerous for your maintenance staff to do its job. So require the resident either to be at home during inspection and maintenance calls or to cage or restrain the pet if the resident can’t be home.
Resident must either be at home or have the pet restrained or caged during inspection and maintenance calls.
Rule #10: Resident Must Appoint Third-Party Caregiver
To avoid problems of abandonment if the resident gets sick, dies, or simply skips out on the lease and leaves a pet behind, ask him to give you the name and contact information of a third party who can take the pet in an event of an emergency.
Resident must supply the name, address, and telephone number of an individual who will upon one hour’s notice remove and care for the pet in the event of Resident’s sudden illness, injury, death, or other absence.