RESIDENT SIGNING A PET ADDENDUM WHEN NO CURRENT PET
The Pet Addendum
When a resident moves in with one or more pets, we strongly recommend that the manager use a pet addendum, an agreement that can provide for the collection of pet fees and/or pet deposits, and also lays out the full regulations concerning pet conduct. We also strongly recommend that the manager “interview” the pet before authorizing it, to make sure the pet is friendly enough, not excessively loud, and does not violate any breed or weight restrictions in place.
No Current Pets, But a Pet Addendum is Signed?
Some managers have all residents at move-in sign a pet addendum, even if the resident does not have a pet a move-in. This is a practice we strongly discourage. Typically, when a resident at move-in does not have a pet, the pet addendum will indicate zero pet fee and/or zero pet deposit. Although there may be a reference on the addendum to “no pet at this time”, the resident may be able to successfully argue that the agreement was an implied authorization to obtain a pet at a later date, and at no charge. This use of the pet addendum at move-in may also hamstring your ability to screen out an undesirable pet, particularly if some dollar amount is referenced in the pet fee or pet deposit section.
The manager’s standard lease should simply indicate that no pets are allowed without prior written authorization. If you then become aware of a resident obtaining a pet after move-in, you can give a Seven Day Notice of Noncompliance with Opportunity to Cure for an unauthorized pet on the premises. You can explain to that resident the only way you will authorize the pet will be conditioned upon a pet agreement being signed, along with collection of charges you normally would assess for a pet. Otherwise, you will continue to view the pet as unauthorized, and will terminate the tenancy, if necessary.
The Common Pet Discovery Mistake
A common mistake made by managers when discovering an unauthorized pet is to cite unpaid pet fees or pet deposits on a 7-day cure notice, particularly if the manager is not even willing to authorize the pet because of breed, weight or disturbance issues. If you actually collect some pet fee or deposit, you are authorizing the pet. Even if the unauthorized pet is one the manager would be willing to authorize, the resident has typically not yet agreed in writing to pay the pet fee and/or pet deposit. The resident has failed to comply with the lease by not getting prior written authorization for the pet, and that is what the cure notice should cite.
The Pet Interview
One last point about pet interviews: frequently, we have clients tell us they believe a resident has an unauthorized breed, or that a pet appears to be over the allowed weight limit. It is usually much more difficult to deal with this problem after the pet has been authorized, as opposed to simply denying authorization of the pet initially.
- The Curable Noncompliance Examined PART 1
- THE CURABLE NONCOMPLIANCE EXAMINED PART 2
- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION – WHAT IT IS
- THE WRIT OF POSSESSION AND THE FULL UNIT
- WORK ORDER COMPANY POLICY AND THE LAW