Getting Familiar with Pet Screening

As more and more people opt to rent rather than buy residences, landlords and property managers have become increasingly cautious about a potential tenant’s pet. In many cities and states, pet screening has become mandatory as it helps landlords to make an informed decision about pet ownership. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about pet screening.

Finding the perfect furry companion can be a life-changing experience, but for many renters, it can also be challenging. As a landlord, allowing pets brings many benefits, like expanding the tenant pool and boosting rental income. However, it also involves some risks and liabilities. Thus, pet screening is a critical tool for landlords to make informed decisions and ensure a successful tenant-pet relationship. In this post, we’ll dive into what pet screening is, why it matters, and how to conduct it effectively.

What is Pet Screening?

Pet screening is a comprehensive process that helps landlords evaluate the potential risks and benefits of allowing a pet on their rental property. The process typically involves gathering information from the tenant about their pet’s breed, size, age, behavior, medical records, training, and vaccination status. Some pet screening services also include tools like pet-focused credit reports, referrals, and damage guarantees. The goal of pet screening is to enable landlords to make a more informed decision, ensure the pet is a good fit for the property and neighborhood, and minimize the risk of damages or complaints.

Why Does Pet Screening Matter?

Pet screening matters for several reasons. First, it can help protect landlords from potential legal liabilities or allegations of discrimination. By setting clear guidelines and criteria for pet ownership, landlords can ensure that everyone is treated fairly and consistently. Second, pet screening can help mitigate the risks associated with pet ownership in rental housing, such as property damage, noise disturbances, or pet-related injuries. Third, pet screening can improve the reputation and profitability of rental properties by attracting responsible pet owners and reducing turnover rates.

How to Conduct Pet Screening Effectively

Now that you know what pet screening is and why it matters, let’s dive into some best practices for conducting it effectively. First, create a pet policy that outlines your requirements, restrictions, fees, and penalties. Make sure it conforms to fair housing laws and doesn’t discriminate against specific breeds or types of pets. Second, use a reliable and user-friendly pet screening service that streamlines the process and automates the verification of pet-related information. Third, communicate your pet policy and screening process to all potential tenants upfront, either on your website or during the showing. Fourth, assess each pet’s temperament, training, and medical history to determine whether they pose a risk to your property or other residents. Fifth, consider charging a pet fee or asking for additional security deposit to cover potential damages or extra cleaning. Finally, monitor the pet’s behavior regularly and enforce the pet policy consistently to ensure a harmonious and safe environment for everyone.

Understanding Pet Screening

Pet screening is a screening process that landlords use to vet potential renters who own pets. It involves a review of the potential tenant’s pet’s health, temperament, vaccination history, and obedience training. The landlord or property manager will want to ensure that your pet will not cause damage to their property or pose a threat to the health and safety of other tenants.

The Pet Screening Process

The process is usually simple and straightforward. The landlord or property manager will provide the tenant with a pet screening application. The application helps landlords to understand the type of pet you have, its breed, age, gender, weight, and more. After filling out the form, a third-party pet screening company reviews the report and assigns a pet-specific FIDO score to each pet. This score evaluates their temperament and behavior. If the score meets or exceeds the landlord’s criteria, the tenant will obtain approval for their pet.

The Benefits of Pet Screening

Pet screening is beneficial for both landlords and renters. For landlords, it helps them to avoid unpleasant surprises such as pet damage and liability lawsuits. For renters, it helps them to find pet-friendly housing and demonstrate their pet’s good behavior and healthy status. Moreover, pet screening reinforces responsible pet ownership by promoting vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and proper training.

What to Expect from Pet Screening Questions

The pet screening application form may contain various questions to identify the risks associated with the pet in question. These questions may include previous animal-related complaints, bite history, obedience training, and pet hygiene records. As a pet owner, be prepared to provide truthful and thorough answers to these questions.

The Cost of Pet Screening

Pet screening costs vary depending on the location, property management fees, and individual pet. Some landlords may require a non-refundable pet fee or pet deposit. Pet screening companies also charge between $20 to $50 for a report and FIDO score. The good news is, once you obtain a pet screening report with a good FIDO score, it can be used across multiple properties, saving you time and money in the long run.


In conclusion, pet screening is a necessary step when renting with pets. By understanding the process and benefits, pet owners can make it easier for themselves and demonstrate their ability to be responsible pet owners. Remember, pet screening should not discourage you from renting a pet-friendly residence. Instead, it aims to protect both landlords and renters, ensuring a harmonious living environment for all.

As a landlord, pet screening can be a powerful tool to attract responsible tenants, minimize risks, and ensure a successful tenant-pet relationship. By understanding what pet screening is, why it matters, and how to conduct it effectively, you can set clear guidelines and criteria for pet ownership, reduce potential damages or complaints, and enhance the overall quality of your rental property. So, whether you’re a seasoned landlord or a beginner, make sure you get familiar with pet screening and take advantage of its benefits.