A growing number of apartment landlords are allowing tenants to have pets even in small buildings. While this is good news for tenants who consider their pets to be members of the family, pets are still limited by number, weight, breed, and even species.
For example, apartment allowances generally max out at two dogs or cats 20 pounds and under, and many landlords specifically prohibit rabbits and other animals that like to chew on baseboards, walls, and wood floors.
Due to the potential for damage, landlords are smart to restrict the allowable number and kind of pets. However, some landlords are too lenient about enforcing their own rules to the detriment of other tenants. For instance, most landlords require tenants to pick up after their dogs whether they defecate on the sidewalk or in the grass. Some landlords don’t enforce this rule and tenants get upset.
Landlords struggle to catch violators
Without security cameras in place, it’s hard for landlords to catch violators who abandon their dog’s poop. That’s why one landlord in the Albany area went to extreme measures to find out which tenants weren’t picking up after their dogs.
The landlord ordered all residents to bring their dogs in for a cheek swab DNA test to identify the non-compliant tenant(s). The landlord promised to fine the guilty party and if they didn’t pay the fee, their lease would not be renewed.
A fine seems like a reasonable consequence for inconveniencing others and making it difficult for other residents to enjoy sidewalks and grassy areas. In fact, there should be progressive consequences for violating the rules. Tenants want to live in a peaceful, clean environment. A constant need to avoid ‘land mines’ makes the environment less enjoyable.
Enforcing pet policies tells tenants the landlord cares about the property
Unfortunately, un-retrieved dog poo is a common problem and it’s other tenants who pay the price. Some tenants always pick up after their pets, but they shouldn’t have to feel like they’re the only ones who care about keeping the property clean. They also shouldn’t be in a position to choose between living in a dirty environment or picking up after other people’s pets.
When a landlord enforces pet policies to the letter, including pooper-scooper rules, tenants know the landlord cares about the cleanliness of outside common areas.
The existence of pickup rules creates enforcement expectations
Landlords need to enforce their pet regulations to maintain the expectations they’ve set for tenants. Say a tenant who doesn’t own a pet signs a lease agreement with strict pooper-scooper rules. They’re going to get the impression that the landlord really cares about the property. That tenant won’t worry about accidentally stepping in anything. If it happens once, they’ll pass it off as an anomaly. If it happens repeatedly, they’ll get upset and wonder why the landlord isn’t doing anything about the problem.
Tenants have every right to expect pooper-scooper rules to be followed and enforced. Some landlords even provide poop bags around the property to make it easy for tenants to clean up after their pets. However, some tenants ignore the rules and bags.
Enforcement requires catching violators
Unless someone takes their dog for a walk in the woods, it’s inappropriate to leave dog waste on the sidewalk for others to step in. It might seem okay to leave it in the grass, but what if kids decide to play in the grass?
It’s time for more apartment landlords to start enforcing all of their pet regulations, not just the rules pertaining to the size and quantity of animals allowed in the building. While it’s important to control how many animals each tenant can keep, it’s even more important to maintain a clean and healthy outside environment for all tenants to enjoy.
Strict pet regulations only work when enforced
It makes sense for landlords to only create pet policies they’re going to enforce. Allowing tenants to get away with violating one rule opens the door for entitlement. Once a tenant knows their landlord isn’t going to enforce what seems like a major rule, they might attempt to sneak by with other rule violations including paying rent late and getting out of late fees.
The only rules that work are the ones that landlords enforce. There are plenty of lease violations apartment landlords can overlook without issue. However, overlooking pooper-scooper rules affects the entire complex. Enforcing this one rule just might be the key to keeping all tenants happy.