A Pet Addendum to a Lease is used to modify an existing Lease Agreement to allow the tenant to keep a pet.
Pet Addendums are usually used when the tenant wishes to bring a pet into their home and the original Lease has no clauses allowing or disallowing pets.
1. 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.
Often times, the original lease or rental agreement did not allow pets or was silent about whether pets are allowed.
The pet agreement is usually “added” to an existing lease agreement through an addendum or amendment and 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 gives permission for 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 place being rented out, the Landlord has the final say in allowing the Tenant to have a pet.
A simple pet addendum will identify the following basic elements:
- Date: refer to the original rental agreement that is being amended or changed
- Premises: identify the place being rented 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 will be returned if the pet causes no damages
- Pet Rent: additional rent regularly paid to have a pet due to increased wear and tear
- 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 first.
Sample Pet Addendum
The sample 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.
2. When Do I Need a Pet Lease Addendum?
When do you need a pet agreement?
People often need a Pet Agreement when they want to update their existing Lease or Rental Agreement. The Landlord and Tenant may have originally agreed that to a no pet policy, but now 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.
3. 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|
4. The Most Common Pet Addendum Relationships
Who needs One?
A Landlord has the right to say no to pets, but there are several reasons why a Landlord might want to say yes.
Tenants with pets are more likely to do the following:
- Stay longer because there are fewer rental properties that allow pets, allowing Landlords to reduce turnover and avoid the hassle of finding new tenants more frequently.
- Be more responsible since a person who has 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 would benefit from a written Pet Agreement or Addendum that clearly details what is expected now that Fluffy has moved in.
The Fair Housing Act also provides exceptions to a no pet policy for tenants with physical or emotional disabilities. The Fair Housing Partners of Washington State and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) offers a sample Companion/Service Animal Procedure for Tenants with a disability who need a companion or service animal. 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.
5. What Should be Included When Adding a Pet Addendum to a Lease?
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 to be kept (i.e. the Premises or “home”)
- When the agreement takes and 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.
What other details should be included in a Pet Agreement?
Aa 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 being destroyed
- Control your pet and keep them fenced in or on a leash
- Clean up after your animal whether it’s inside or outside . . . always pick up the poop!
- Follow the rules of any homeowners or community association rules that apply
- Be nice to your animal and others by getting them vaccinated and neutered/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/or 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 simply must go because the Pet Agreement has been violated and needs to be ended
- Enforce the original Lease or Rental Agreement since the Pet Agreement does not change the basic terms and conditions agreed to by the Tenant