A Pet Addendum to a Lease is used to modify an existing Lease Agreement to allow the tenant to keep a pet.
Landlords typically use pet addendums when the tenant wishes to bring a pet into their home and the original lease has no clauses allowing or disallowing pets (possibly because the landlord’s Rental Application did not ask questions about pets).
What is a Pet Addendum?
A pet addendum (or pet agreement) to a lease agreement is a legal and binding contract between two parties, a landlord and the tenant.
Original lease or rental agreements often do not allow pets or are silent about whether pets are allowed.
The pet agreement attaches to an existing lease agreement through an addendum or amendment. It becomes a part of the original legally binding contract between the Landlord and Tenant.
Assume the default in your lease is a no-pet policy. As a general rule of thumb, get a yes from your Landlord BEFORE you say yes to a cute and fluffy kitten or puppy.
By signing a written pet addendum, the Landlord permits the Tenant to have a pet in their home. In return, the Tenant agrees that they are responsible for the pet and any damage caused on the Landlord’s property.
Because the Landlord owns the rental, the Landlord has the final say in allowing the Tenant to have a pet.
A simple pet addendum will identify the following essential elements:
- Date: refer to the original rental agreement that is being amended or changed
- Premises: identify the rental where the pet will be allowed to stay
- Landlord: name of the person who owns the Premises
- Tenant: name of the renter who will also be the Owner
- Pet: name, type, breed, color, gender, age, and weight of the Tenant’s Pet
- Pet Fee: the Landlord may charge a one-time, non-refundable fee to have a pet
- Damage Deposit: money that is refundable or non-refundable if the pet causes no damages
- Pet Rent: additional rent regularly paid to have a pet due to increased wear and tear (review your need for a Notice of Rent Increase)
- Signatures: both the Landlord and Tenant should sign the pet addendum to be binding
As a reference, people call a pet agreement by other names:
- Consent for Pets with Conditions Letter
- Landlord Authorization Letter for a Pet
- Landlord Letter of Consent for a Pet
- Landlord Permission Letter for a Pet
- Lease Addendum for Pets
- Pet Agreement for Rental
- Pet Permission Letter
- Pet Addendum to Lease
- Pet Addendum Agreement
- Pet Rental Agreement
- Rental Unit Pet Policy
- Tenant Authorization Letter for a Pet
If you’re a tenant and want to bring a pet into your home, make sure you don’t break your lease agreement guidelines and risk receiving an eviction notice!
Bring up the idea of an addendum to your landlord and discuss it first.
Consequences of Not Using a Pet Addendum
If you do not use a pet addendum, the Landlord and Tenant could encounter the following preventable consequences:
|Lost Time||Lost Time|
|Need to find a new tenant||Need to find a new home|
|Unexpected damage control||Ask a friend to care for the pet|
|Lost Money||Lost Money|
|Need to pay an HOA penalty||Need to pay a fine or penalty|
|Clean the new carpet||Pay someone to care for pet|
|Lost Opportunity||Lost Opportunity|
|Neighbors upset at the loud noises caused by new pet||Unable to take home a pet|
|Pet injures another neighbor or someone else’s pet||Must give up your pet|
|Time spent evicting Tenant||Landlord might have said yes to a pet if you got permission beforehand|
Who Needs a Pet Addendum?
A Landlord has the right to say no to pets, but there are several reasons a Landlord might want to say yes.
Tenants with pets are more likely to do the following:
- Stay longer because fewer rental properties allow pets, allowing Landlords to reduce turnover and avoid the hassle of finding new tenants more frequently.
- Be more responsible since a person with the compassion and discipline to take care of an animal and walk their dog every morning may be more likely to pay on time.
- Pay more, perhaps even above market rates, for an animal-friendly place with understanding neighbors and a supportive community that knows how to help each other with pets.
If the Landlord allows a pet, both parties will benefit from a written Pet Agreement or Addendum that details the rules now that Fluffy has moved in.
Columbia University, the University of California Santa Cruz, and Wesleyan University offer a similar Service and Assistance Animal Policy for individuals living on campus with disabilities.
Landlords may not be able to collect a pet damage deposit for Tenants who need a service animal like a guide dog. Check your state and local laws to be safe.
State-Specific Requirements for Pet Addendums
The FHA is federal law and applies to most types of landlords, especially residential landlords. Many states have expanded the list of protected classes and imposed stricter requirements to protect those with a disability.
For example, California has its own Fair Employment and Housing Act to protect renters’ rights to support and service animals. A pet addendum to a California lease agreement can help you comply with these requirements.
Addendums for other states that offer specific protections include:
- Florida lease agreement pet addendum
- Arizona residential lease agreement pet addendum
Many states require pet addendums to accommodate disabilities, including Ohio, Texas, and Colorado.
A pet addendum form can help you comply with these requirements.
When Do I Need a Pet Lease Addendum?
People often need a Pet Agreement when they want to update their existing Lease or Rental Agreement.
The Landlord and Tenant may have initially agreed to a no-pet policy, but both parties have changed their mind.
The pet addendum documents this change to the original Lease or Rental Agreement and spells out the different rights and responsibilities of having an animal on the Premises.
If you want to adopt an animal in need, some animal shelters require a pet addendum or written letter from your Landlord to prove that you are allowed to adopt or take an animal home.
Consult the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for resources and tips for pet owners who rent.
What to Include in a Pet Agreement?
A basic pet addendum should answer:
- Who is the owner (i.e., the Tenant) and who is the Landlord allowing the pet
- What the animal looks like, such as the pet’s name, breed, color, gender, age, weight, and license or registration number, if any
- Where the animal is allowed (i.e., the Premises or “home”)
- When the agreement takes effect and when the animal can begin living with the Tenant
- Why the Landlord is not responsible for any damages caused by the Tenant’s pet
Need someone to take care of your animal while on vacation?
Make sure you sign a Pet Care Agreement.
A pet addendum can also include all or some of the following helpful details:
- As the Tenant, you promise to:
- Be responsible for your pet and their shenanigans at all times
- Be mindful of your neighbors and keep your pets from disturbing them with barking, meowing, hissing, neighing, or oinking too loudly
- Keep your animal in designated areas in your home when they are left alone
- Not leave your pet alone for too long at the risk of property damage
- Control your pet and keep them fenced in or on a leash
- Clean up after your animal inside and outside (always pick up the poop!)
- Follow the rules of any homeowners or community associations
- Be nice to your animal and others by getting them vaccinated as well as neutered and spayed
- Pay up if your dog breaks something that needs to be repaired or replaced
- Hire a cleaner for professional carpet cleaning at the end of your lease
- Pay extra for additional wear and tear and provide a pet security deposit
- Get insurance and name your Landlord as an “additional insured” in case your pet gets frisky and unexpectedly bites or scratches someone
- As the Landlord, you have the right to
- Not be sued and receive liability protection in case the Tenant’s animal hurts someone while on your property
- Say no if the animal can no longer stay or must go because the tenant violated the pet agreement
- Enforce the original Lease or Rental Agreement since the Pet Agreement does not change the basic terms and conditions agreed to by the TenantHow to Write a Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement
How to Write a Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement
Step 1 – Identify Date, Landlord, Tenant & Premises
1. Agreement Date. Write the date of the original lease or rental agreement.
2. Landlord Name. Provide the full landlord name.
3. Tenant Name. Enter the full name of each tenant.
4. Address. Note the street address of the leased or rented property, including the unit or apartment number if applicable.
Step 2 – Fill in Pet Details
5. Pet Information. Provide as much detail and information as possible to identify the pet(s). Keep in mind that the law does not define service animals as pets.
Step 3 – Write Other Agreement Details
6. Optional Information. You can include any terms the landlord wants the tenant to agree to, such as requirements for pets to have certain vaccinations.
Step 4 – Note Pet Fees
7. Pet Fees. State whether or not the landlord charges a pet fee. If yes, specify the fee amount and whether it is refundable or non-refundable.
Step 5 – Choose Pet Deposit Option
8. Pet Deposit. Specify whether or not the landlord requires a pet deposit. If yes, state the amount of the deposit.
Step 6 – Mark Pet Rent Option
9. Pet Rent. State whether or not the landlord requires pet rent in addition to the apartment rent. If yes, specify the amount and whether the rent is due weekly, monthly, or annually.
Step 7 – Note Pet Insurance Details
10. Pet Insurance. Choose whether or not the landlord requires the tenant to maintain pet rental insurance. If yes, specify if the insurance must have a minimum coverage and the amount of insurance. Also, note whether or not the landlord must be an additional insured on the policy.
Step 8 – Obtain Signatures
11. Landlord. The landlord provides a signature and date on the agreement.
12. Tenant. All tenants must provide signatures and dates on this agreement.
Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement Sample
Below you can find what a Pet Addendum to a Lease Agreement typically looks like:
Pet Addendum Example
The example pet addendum below details an agreement between the landlord, ‘Elizabeth E Goodwyn’, and the tenant, ‘Olivia E Donovan.’ Elizabeth E Goodwyn agrees to allow Olivia E Donovan to have a pet on the premises under the conditions specified.