March 2013 Moms

***Important** NPR: Rent to a pit bull owner?

Hi ladies....I need your feedback.  We have a house that we are trying to sell but in the mean time we are willing to rent it out.  We've been renting it out to a great family for 6 months while their house is being rebuilt but at the end of August they are out and if we don't get someone in there soon we will have a double mortgage.  If you don't remember I'm still looking for a new job so obviously this is an issue.

 

Anyway - to the point.  We got a call from the realtor saying that there was a group of three men (early 30s and 1 in mid 20s) that has a pit bull.  I still need to call the insurance company and see if there's additional insurance policies they can get to cover the dog but currently they won't cover the dog.  

This has been the first interest in renting the house in almost 2 months.  What would you do?  Would you rent to them?  Do any of you know a way to make sure that we would be absolutely not liable for any harm the dog does?  Thanks a ton ladies!! :D


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Re: ***Important** NPR: Rent to a pit bull owner?

  • Can you take an extra security deposit for the dog and write it in the lease that they are responsible for any damage the dog does?
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  • If the insurance company won't cover the dog, don't rent to them.  Apart from the damage to your house, you never know what you might be held liable for if the dog were to attack a neighbor or anything.  I know American pits get lots of bad press and they're in fact usually great dogs, but they are also very high energy and depending on their temperament can cause a lot of damage to your home or to a neighbor.  It makes me sad to say this, because my next door neighbor has a pit that I absolutely adore, but sadly, pits are a no-guarantees breed.
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  • I would still rent to them. There are a lot of well behaved (and well treated i.e. not used for fighting) pit bulls. I would still rent to them, but make sure that any damage done by the dog is covered by insurance, not just in the event that the dog would bite, but also in the event that the dog chews on the door or something. I would also include in the lease that the dog's owners are responsible for any fees (citations, repairs, etc.) that are incurred by the dog.

    I am fairly certain that as long as it is in the lease that the dog's owners are responsible for the dog that you should be covered from liability, but I would still check with the insurance company and possibly even call the local police department to check.

    GL! :)

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  • image lynn3yb00:

    I would still rent to them. There are a lot of well behaved (and well treated i.e. not used for fighting) pit bulls. I would still rent to them, but make sure that any damage done by the dog is covered by insurance, not just in the event that the dog would bite, but also in the event that the dog chews on the door or something. I would also include in the lease that the dog's owners are responsible for any fees (citations, repairs, etc.) that are incurred by the dog.

    I am fairly certain that as long as it is in the lease that the dog's owners are responsible for the dog that you should be covered from liability, but I would still check with the insurance company and possibly even call the local police department to check.

    GL! :)

     

     

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  • I'm an Insurance Agent, so I can chime in a little bit. Insurance can differ widely from state to state so take this with a grain of salt.

    I'm an independent agent, which means I work with multiple companies. Out of all of the companies we work with only one would write a landlord policy that lets tenants have pit bulls. Their premium is double what you would see in a standard policy. It would be really hard to find a company that would allow this.

    As far as if your tenants (or their dog) causing damage to your property, that would not normally be covered by your landlord policy.

    You could insist that they get renters insurance that includes personal liability for the dog. They may have a hard time finding it with a pit bull, but it would put the burden back on them.

    Again, I only know about the states we work with so keep that in mind. Overall, I would not recommend renting to them.

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  • I'd also check with 'pit bull' laws that some states are passing.  As much as I don't like blaming a breed on their behaviour or lack of training.  There is stilll some new laws and insurance policies that are being written with 'pit bull' clauses.
    Kim Mom to DD - 9 Twin DS - 6 Missing my march baby and trying to pick up the pieces.
  • My husband and I own a property management company and there are always mixed emotions when it comes to renting to prospective tenants with any dog.  It comes down to whether or not you want to take the risk that this dog my cause additional damage to your home.  You also have to consider the possibility of it peeing/pooping in the home as well as bringing fleas in to the home.  The behaviour of the dog is all going to be dependent on its owners.  If you get a good sense that the humans willing to rent the home are controlled, responsible and take really good care of the pet and it appears to be well trained than you might be more willing to accept it. Given that they are three young males, I'm going to be stereo-typical here, it doesn't sound like an ideal group that you would want to rent to.  What we've also started enforcing is that we tell our tenants that they must have up to date paperwork for shots and a proof of a license for the pet. That is a very good indicator of how responsible they are for their animal.

    If you do decide to rent to them, I would include a separate agreement that they would have to sign stating some of the following things (I'm taking this from a seminar we went to)

    • an additional deposit collected to be used for any damage caused by the pet, to be returned after so many days after vacated if there are no damages.
    • they are not allowed to have any additional pets other than stated on the agreement and are not allowed to "pet-sit" other pets.  Any offspring from the pet must be removed within 30 days of birth.  Any animals found on site other than those in the contract will be removed at the owners expense.
    • agrees to have identification tags on the pet and comply will all municipal bylaws regarding pets
    • Pet will be on a lease of maximum length or otherwise under tenant control, never left unattended when outside of the unit.
    • Restrict the pet to any areas of the home that you may not want them in
    •  Tenant agrees to clean up after pet immediately both inside and outside..
    • Abide by all local, city or state ordinances, licensing, health requirements
    • Pet shall not cause any sort of nuisance or disturbance to neighbours.
    • Tenant agrees to immediately pay for any damage, loss or expense caused by the pet
    • failure to comply is grounds for immediate termination of the rental agreement

    That's a lot of info I guess, but should help!!

    Good Luck with your decision! Personally I would hold off for a different dynamic of tenants where you don't have any doubts.  Having to pay another month of the mortgage on the home is much cheaper than the headaches and cost of repairs from a bad tenant.

     

     

     

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  • We have three duplexes we rent out (in Utah).  We've had these for 12+ years now, and we are very, very dog-friendly.

    However, our insurance will not cover pit bulls, rotweilers or boxers, so we will not rent to people with those dogs.  I know that (at least in Utah) if one of those dog breeds did in fact cause harm to a person or animal on our property, we would be liable and our insurance wouldn't cover it.  We would be totally on the hook.  We are not willing to take that risk.

    I have nothing against those dog breeds - but (as a dog owner with a very social dog) I do find that *some* of the people who want to own those breeds are the very people who cause the most harm by training bad habits.  It is not the fault of the dogs, but irresponsible owners.  

    My advice, don't take the risk.  It could cost you a lot more in a lawsuit later.

    Good luck.

    ETA: for any tenant with a dog, we give them an option for our security:

    1) they give us a $300 dog deposit, completely separate from their security deposit.  All but $50 is refundable if there is no damage (the $50 will be for mandatory carpet cleaning to remove doggy smells)

    2) or "pet rent" - which is about $50 per month for a $900 rental unit, non refundable.  This  works for people who don't have the lump sum in advance.

    Katie

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  • image Stellarpuppy:

    We got a call from the realtor saying that there was a group of three men (early 30s and 1 in mid 20s) that has a pit bull. 

    Pit bull?! What about that fact that you are considering renting to 3 single guys?! I'd be more worried about partying than a silly little pit bull! Can you meet all four potential residents in person and get a better judgment on the guys and the dog?

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  • I agree...I would be more worried about the tenants then the dog. We have rental's that are dog friendly and never had problems. We do not care what breed it is (although one is a condo and they do not allow over 25lbs). Does the rental have a home owners association that says anything about dogs ?

     I care much more about the people renting (rental history, background, salary, etc). People destroy a property way more than any dog in my experience.

     And I always require a non-refundable pet deposit to cover the extra cleaning at move-out.

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  • Thanks so much for all the advice everyone.  I've contacted my insurance company and they are going to look into it and see if there is any way we can get additional claims or whatnot to see if they will cover it.

    I'm not too worried about the guys.  One is a bank loan officer, another is a head hunter and the other is in industry.  I will definitely want to interview them prior to renting since there are a lot of potential issues going on.  

    Honestly at this point if we could burn down our house and just take the money and run we would do it.  The house is holding us back from so many things that we want to do and it's just sitting there costing us thousands.  If we don't get some one in there as soon into September as possible we will have a double mortgage basically (we are renting an apartment that is the same as our mortgage! UGH!) and we just can't afford it.  We need anyone to take over the house.  It's frustrating too since we bought the house thinking of spending the rest of our lives in there and now it's a source of stress and pain.  I just want to be done with it but the market sucks and we can't get someone to buy it.   

     

    I'll keep you ladies updated with what we hear.  Hopefully it's good news. 


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  • Insurance company just called and they will definitely not cover for a pit bull.  There was one that would but would not cover liability which is exactly the issues we would be worried about.  So it looks like it won't even be possible to rent to them.  Thanks for all the advice though ladies!  Hopefully we get someone in there soon.

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  • First I want to say that just because they own a pit bull does not mean that the dog will do any more harm than another breed of dog. My DH and I had a pit bull for 10 years. We would still have him but unfortunately he passed away last September from an awful heart disease. He was the sweetest dog I've ever had and my family has owned many different breeds of dogs over the years, including many labs and an American Eskimo. We were never concerned with him being a "liability" just because he was a pit. It is all about how you raise the dog. Of course there are some pits out there that give all others a bad name. These dogs are raised to be mean so that is all they know.

    Granted, neither you or I know this dog so we can't say for sure how his temperament is nor how he was raised. I would just write it in the lease that you are not responsible for the dog and he will not be covered under the homeowners or renters insurance policy. Treat it as you would for any breed of dog. He is the owner's responsibility. When we rented for several years with our pit we knew that he was our responsibility and we would never expect him to be covered under the homeowners insurance policy.

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  • 1. You need to do your research on Pit Bulls.  Read the book about Michael Vick's dogs... it will change your view on pit bulls forever.  They used to be known as "nanny dogs" because they're so fabulous with children.  Unless they have some a$$hole breeding fighting dogs, they are one of the sweetest breeds.

    2. Look at these adorable doggies (first 2 are from friends, 3rd one is floating around the internet)

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    3. I'd be way more worried about the 3 guys than the dog.

  • Just saw the news about your insurance- that's too bad.
  • image Sparkles01:

    1. You need to do your research on Pit Bulls.  Read the book about Michael Vick's dogs... it will change your view on pit bulls forever.  They used to be known as "nanny dogs" because they're so fabulous with children.  Unless they have some a$$hole breeding fighting dogs, they are one of the sweetest breeds.

    2. Look at these adorable doggies (first 2 are from friends, 3rd one is floating around the internet)

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    3. I'd be way more worried about the 3 guys than the dog.

    Thank you for posting this! I officially love you. I miss my pit so much. There are some bad ones out there but most of them are the sweetest dogs. I wish mine was alive long enough to really get to know DD. We still show her pictures of him so she can know how awesome he was. I wish the poorly trained ones didn't give the others such a bad image. 

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  • image Mrs Babs:
    image Sparkles01:

    Thank you for posting this! I officially love you. I miss my pit so much. There are some bad ones out there but most of them are the sweetest dogs. I wish mine was alive long enough to really get to know DD. We still show her pictures of him so she can know how awesome he was. I wish the poorly trained ones didn't give the others such a bad image. 

    I would 100% get a pitbull if there weren't so much hassle involved (from the stereotypes, of course).  It's already hard enough for us to find someplace to rent with the dog we have (50lb lab/beagle mix).  I can't imagine how hard it would be if we had a PB.  Plus, cities are putting "no bully breed" laws into effect, which is just total BS.  So frustrating because they really are the best dogs.

  • image Sparkles01:
    image Mrs Babs:
    image Sparkles01:

    Thank you for posting this! I officially love you. I miss my pit so much. There are some bad ones out there but most of them are the sweetest dogs. I wish mine was alive long enough to really get to know DD. We still show her pictures of him so she can know how awesome he was. I wish the poorly trained ones didn't give the others such a bad image. 

    I would 100% get a pitbull if there weren't so much hassle involved (from the stereotypes, of course).  It's already hard enough for us to find someplace to rent with the dog we have (50lb lab/beagle mix).  I can't imagine how hard it would be if we had a PB.  Plus, cities are putting "no bully breed" laws into effect, which is just total BS.  So frustrating because they really are the best dogs.

    We have talked about getting another one some day when DD and the new baby are old enough to pick one out. We live in the country to no laws about them here. Before we bought our house it was really hard to find a place that would allow a large dog, they didn't even care that he was a pit. We always had to rent houses instead of apartments. I agree that it is very frustrating. In a few more years people will move on to hating a different "bully" breed and they will leave the pits alone...or so I hope! 

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  • That stinks about the insurance! I was going to say also that you should get a feel on the dog. Most likely, hes a loveable little guy who occasionally wrestles with one of his owners...you can tell a lot with how they react to you as a stranger and how they treat him. Sorry to hear and hope you have luck soon!
  • So good to see other pit bull loving mommies =) They really are the sweetest dogs if raised "normal". All dogs can be mean if raised that way. Unfortunately some Pit Bulls are raised that way because they have the built & frame to be good fighters. 
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  • I personally would be more concerned with the 3 single guys part rather than the dog. You can require a stand-alone liability policy for the dog as part of your rental agreement - they run a few hundred dollars a year. I would also ask for current vet records showing the dog has been neutered and is UTD on shots - you know, showing that the dog owner has his $hit together. We had to provide these when we were renting with our non-pitbulls. If that's all rosey, I'd take an extra pet deposit and call it a day on the dog issue.

    EDIT: You should be requiring the renter carry insurance as well for liability no matter who is renting the property.

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  • Exactly, require that they have renter's insurance. Put it in the lease. That is what we do with our tenants.
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  • I'm sorry you ended up in this situation.  I had a house that I ended up having to rent out (at a loss) for a few years because of an unexpected change in jobs/location.  For whatever it's worth, I wouldn't have rented to anyone if they wouldn't be covered by the liability insurance, not because I have anything against pit bulls, but no one wants to end up going bankrupt because someone comes on their rental property and has a "slip and fall accident" or gets bitten by any kind of dog.        
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  • I can assure you that my 25lb beagle does more damage than most family raised pitties I know.  Not directed at you, OP, but I think it such a shame that states, communities, and agencies put blanket bans on certain breeds of dogs.
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  • That was what I feared.  I work for an insurance law firm and have seen the clauses in the policies of some litigants.  As wrong as it is, it's not worth breaking. 

    Kim Mom to DD - 9 Twin DS - 6 Missing my march baby and trying to pick up the pieces.
  • My chihuahua is meaner than my pit! Any rules about renting to Chihuahuas?

    I'd get extra deposit, as you should with any pet. 

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  • Can you ask for a reference on the dog?  I know it sounds crazy but maybe you can talk to their former landlord and ask if there was any damage caused by the dog in the past? 

     Also, you can put a clause in the lease covering any damage and include and extra security deposit. 

    ETA: Replied before I read your comment on the insurance policy.

     


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  • Personally I'm not a huge fan of pits.  I've seen some that are as sweet as can be and I know of others that went completely into the back of my friends' garage and attacked and killed their two small dogs and almost them too.  We also had a family dog when I was younger that was a real bastard around people when they came and left the house and was sweethearted inbetween.  Pits just scare me (I'm not a huge fan of big dogs in general any way.  Can you tell from my mini schnauzer in my profile pic? :P)

    image mal922:
    I'm sorry you ended up in this situation.  I had a house that I ended up having to rent out (at a loss) for a few years because of an unexpected change in jobs/location.  For whatever it's worth, I wouldn't have rented to anyone if they wouldn't be covered by the liability insurance, not because I have anything against pit bulls, but no one wants to end up going bankrupt because someone comes on their rental property and has a "slip and fall accident" or gets bitten by any kind of dog.        

     This is really what it comes down to though.  The reality is we can't even consider if we have no liability.  If we were able to get liability I would TOTALLY be considering them (with interview of course because of the whole 3 single guys) but I can't put myself up for potentially becoming bankrupt for anything that goes wrong.  Hell I probably went farther than other people by actually checking to see if there was some way to get liability but they just won't do it.  

    Plus all I can think about is my neighbors newborn that is less than 2 months old and a potential attack.  Unfair or not...it's still not an insignificant probability that it might happen. 


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  • My God Dog is a pibble and is way more loving than my crazy border collie, but even still, if your insurance won't cover the dog, it would be a no go for me.
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