Atlanta Property Management Blog

Do You Really Need a Pet Screening Service?

System - Thursday, December 2, 2021

In the 2020's, more tenant have pets than ever before, especially since the Pandemic. 

Pets are proven to be helpful at enabling people to live healthy, productive lives but the big question is should you hire a pet screening service before allowing a pet to live in your property?

What is pet screening?

Pet screening is like a background check on a tenant’s pet dog, cat, or other animals. The screening process should help the landlord get an overall picture of the pet’s behavior, health, and care. Pet screening is necessary for new tenants and existing tenants who submit a pet request.

Many landlords carry out the pet screening process themselves during the interview with the tenant. Typically, the pet should be present so that you can observe the animal’s behavior. The pet screening application should include the following information:

  • Pet’s name
  • Details about the pet’s breed, size, weight, gender, and age
  • Previous addresses where the pet owner has lived
  • Medical history, including vaccinations, health issues, and vet contact information
  • Behavioral problems such as noise complaints, reported aggression, or biting
  • House-training

It’s vital to remember that the pet screening process should allow you to confirm the facts the owner provides. This means contacting previous residences where the owner and pet have lived. Additionally, you should check the animal’s medical history.

You should make sure your screening process is impartial. This helps avoid issues with owners of certain breeds feeling victimized or discriminated against due to the type of animal they own.

What about screening service animals?

It is against the law to screen a tenant’s service animal or emotional support animal. According to HUD, an assistance animal aids, performs tasks, or provides emotional support to help a person with a disability. Under the law, an assistance animal isn’t classed as a pet; therefore, no pet deposit or fees apply. You also can’t refuse housing to someone with a disability who has a service animal.

In 2020, HUD published guidelines on the rights of someone with a disability to have a service animal. According to the guidelines, housing providers can “request reliable documentation when an individual requesting a reasonable accommodation has a disability and disability-related need for an accommodation that are not obvious or otherwise known.”

Additionally, the type of service animal should be “commonly kept in households.” Therefore, barnyard animals, monkeys, and other non-domesticated animals are typically not considered assistance animals.

There are certain circumstances in which landlords can refuse a service animal. For example, if the animal is illegal in your state, the animal is a threat to other tenants, or the owner doesn’t take responsibility for noise issues or waste.

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Contact JD Homes

At JD Homes, we specialize in all phases of property management, including pet screening, so you don't have to do any of the day-to-day management of your rental property yourself.

To learn more about the property management services that we can offer you, contact us today by calling (770) 506-2630 or click here to connect with us online.