Law Offices of Heist, Weisse, and Wolk, P.A.
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Pets can be a real nuisance and liability for the property manager or management. Beside the higher chances of damage to the premises, each year pet related injuries cost managers millions of dollars, some of which is not covered by insurance. Many insurance companies now simply disallow pets on the insured premises, and the manager must sign an agreement that pets are not allowed and if there is a pet related injury, the insurance company will not cover the claim. Most managers require the resident to sign a pet addendum or agreement which details the terms and conditions of the pet on the premises, and requires the resident to pay either a non-refundable pet fee or a pet deposit.


Ironically, the applicant for a rental is made to go through a vigorous application procedure under which the applicant’s credit, criminal background, and prior manager references are carefully checked, while the resident simply has to fill out a pet addendum and pay the required sum of money for a pet. The resident gets approved, the pet sums are paid, and the resident and his pet move into the premises. Three months into the rental, you inspect the property or have to repair a maintenance issue and you discover that the 25 pound Terrier on the application is indeed now a 40 pound Pit Bull Terrier. You were expecting this cute little dog and now are completely surprised to see this fierce and dangerous dog on the premises. Of course the resident assures you that the pet never bites, is great with children and is adorable, but you don’t agree, and if your insurance company found out, your coverage might be cut off FAST.


What Did the Manager Do Wrong?


The manager’s surprise is due solely to the fact that the pet was not shown to the manager prior to taking the resident’s pet fee or deposit and signing the pet addendum or agreement. Had the manager actually seen the pet at the application process, this never would be happening. This is purely an example of a problem that was completely avoidable if the manager simply interviewed not only the applicant, but was able to see the applicant’s pet BEFORE approval. Whose fault is it really that the resident now has a 40 pound Pit Bull? It is the property manager’s or the management’s fault. It is quite possible that the resident was telling the truth about her pet at the time of application. After all, a Pit Bull Terrier is a terrier and it could have gained 15 pounds in 3 months.


The Easy Solution


The easy solution that has been discovered by the savvy property manager and management in Florida is to have the resident fill out a pet application. The pet application deals with a number of issues, and the resident can be required to pay a fee for the pet application. The pet application is not to be confused or substituted for a properly executed pet addendum. This is the application for the pet. Like an application and approval is the prerequisite for a resident signing a lease, the pet application and approval is the prerequisite for the resident executing the pet addendum.


What Does the Pet Application Accomplish?


The pet application is the applicant’s request for permission to have the pet. The resident is not simply filling out a pet addendum and paying a fee; this is a permission based process. The pet application makes it clear that the fee for the pet application is an administrative fee and is NOT to compensate the owner for any pet damage which may occur. It is an application fee, pure and simple. The pet application makes it clear that the manager does not have to approve a pet, just like in most cases a manager does not have to approve a resident for residency. Information about the pet is provided, and most importantly, the applicant is required to bring the pet to the management office (or parking area) so the manager can observe the pet, take a photo and observe the demeanor of the pet. If the breed looks suspect, management can ask for further verification, just as with a resident. Finally, the applicant is asked about the pet’s history in an attempt to reduce liability for management. In the below sample, the pet application fee is refundable if the pet is not approved. You can modify this to make it non-refundable whether the pet is approved or not. This is up to you.




This Pet Application is made as a part of the rental application for the property located at: _________________________________, Florida. I do hereby request that my pet be approved to reside with me during the term of my lease agreement. If my pet is a “Service Animal” or a “medically necessary pet” I will notify management in writing and this Pet Application will not be applicable.


NOTE: This is a Pet Application only and not approval for a pet unless approved by Management, a Pet Addendum is executed by all parties and all sums and fees are paid according to the Pet Addendum. In order for the pet to be permitted on the premises, the pet must be fully approved by Management, a Pet Addendum signed by Residents and Management and all fees paid including but not limited to an additional security deposit, pet deposit, pet fee or additional rent as required by Management.


I understand that Management is under no obligation to approve my pet for occupancy. The following pets will not be accepted under any circumstances: German Shepherds, Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Chows or Rotweillers, any mix of the aforementioned or any other breed or mixture thereof which Management decides to not approve.


In consideration of having a pet go through this application process, I agree to pay a Pet Application fee of $__________ to Management. I further understand that the Application Fee is strictly an administrative fee paid to Management and is not considered a security deposit or pet deposit. Management requires a photo of the pet for Management’s files, a copy of the pet’s vaccination information from the veterinarian and the pet must be brought to the parking area of the Management office for inspection by a representative of Management.


The Pet Application Fee will be refunded if Management does not approve the pet.


Breed: ___________________ Name: ___________________


Weight: ________________ lbs. Sex __M ___F Age: _______


Estimated Pet weight at maturity ______________ lbs.


I do hereby certify the following:


My pet is well trained, is not dangerous to others and does not have a propensity to be vicious. My pet has never bitten, clawed or caused harm to another person or other pet, and it does not bark excessively when I am home or not home. No other manager or person has ever complained about my pet or its behavior.


My pet is not pregnant and will not become pregnant while we are residing on the premises. If my pet becomes pregnant, I will be in violation of this agreement and the pet and any offspring must be immediately removed from the premises


I agree that there shall be no other pets, other then listed above on the premises without the express written approval of Management. Should I desire additional pets, I agree to apply to Management for approval, submit another Pet Application and obtain approval prior to pet occupancy.


In the event that my pet causes damage or destruction to persons or property, I agree that all costs of said damage or destruction shall come out of our Security Deposit and/or Pet Deposit. Should the Security Deposit or Pet Deposit be insufficient to cover the cost of any pet damage or destruction, then I agree to be financially responsible for damages above and beyond the amount of my security deposit.


If the pet becomes a nuisance or causes damage or destruction to the premises or otherwise violates the terms of this pet application, Management may terminate the pet’s right of occupancy and/or my lease agreement subjecting me to eviction.


I hereby agree to the terms and conditions of this Pet Application form this _____ day of


__________________, 20____.


___________________________ Applicant






_____PET IS HEREBY APPROVED ___/____/____


______________________________ Management



  • The Curable Noncompliance Examined PART 1