Pets, Animals & ESAs
Our mission in being "pet friendly" at ARC is to help prevent families and pets from facing homelessness due to limitations on pet friendly housing at and near the beaches.
Therefore, all animals, pets and ESAs must be spayed or neutered by 6 months of age and documentation of the spay/neuter and shot records must be included with the property application or forwarded at the time of obtaining the pet. There will be absolutely no breeding or studding in our homes. All cats and dogs including service animals must be on monthly flea, tick and worm prevention to minimize infestations.
Animals found living in the property not listed on the pet addendum in the lease, not spayed/neutered, not up to date on shots and any dogs without a current canine liability policy (see below) listing Atlantic Restoration Council, LLC as "additional insured" - will be determined an immediate and irreparable breach of lease.
Animals may not be left unattended for any extended length of time in our properties. Leaving animals unattended overnight or more than 8 hours during the day will be considered a breach of lease. No animals will be teathered, left outside or tied up. Fences must be kept in good repair, by the tenant and cats and dogs must be microchipped. Dogs must wear a tag with the owners' number. Pet waste must be removed from the property including the yard. Any damage to the property will be taken from the security deposit and if it exceeds the security deposit, will be billed to the tenant. See Animal Addendum in the lease for details on more extensive rules and regulations.
All City Codes regarding animals must be adhered to, including; No Barking, No More Than 4 Animals per Home, No Neglect or Abuse.
All HOA Codes and Restrictions must be adhered to (when applicable) and Mayport Landing tenants must also register and have their pets approved by the Mayport Landing HOA (they limit to 2 animals per home and have breed restrictions).
ESA letters must be from a Florida licensed Chapter 491, 490 mental health professional, on letterhead with contact information, and ESAs must be mentioned in the application to rent and added to the Animal Addendum.
"Number of Animals: It is unlawful for any person to own, keep, or harbor more than 4 cats and/or dogs over the age of four months within the corporate limits of the City of Jacksonville."
Animals and A/C handlers
The A/C handler is one of the most expensive appliances in the house. The cost of replacing an A/C handler by far exceeds the forfeiture of the tenant's entire security deposit.
Therefore, ARC does not incur the responsibility of animal hair accruing in the A/C handler. If the tenant is housing any animal, including an ESA or Service Animal, the tenant therefore agrees to maintain the A/C lines, coils and replace the filter every 2-4 weeks.
Some AC returns are located on the floor in a main living area, sucking up all of the pet hair, dander, dirt, pollen, sand and dust that the animal walks in from outside. This creates a lot more wear and tear on the A/C unit and can clog the unit entirely, making it harder to run effectively, or in several cases has deemed the entire unit inoperable.
The tenant housing an animal is responsible to add a cup of white distilled vinegar to the line (usually located near the indoor unit) every month, and to professionally clean the coils and lines every 6 months. Receipts of this general maintenance should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, as should the monthly or bimonthly (depending on the animals) photo of old and replaced filters.
Dogs, ESAs and Liability
At ARC we are very pet and ESA friendly and generally allow all sizes of dogs (excluding HOA and insurance restrictions). Therefore, we require tenants to obtain renters' insurance and in the cases of having dogs, regardless of the loving temperament of the dog, we mandate an animal/canine liability policy (if animals are excluded from your renters insurance, some do exclude them and some do not). Refusal to obtain renters insurance that does not exclude canines (such as State Farm) or a canine liability policy will exclude you from leasing from our company.
As stated in the lease, unlike a personal homeowner's policy, we as corporate Landlord's are not covered for our any of our tenants' possessions or for any damage incurred by their pets, service dogs or ESAs. Property owners insurance companies specifically exclude dangerous breed dogs, including all types of Pit Bulls/Staffordshire Terriers and police trained dogs, passing the burden and cost of the renters insurance with animal liability onto the tenant directly. See below link for an insurance list of dangerous dogs. However, some renters insurance policies (like State Farm) may not exclude damage from dangerous dogs breeds from their coverage.
Landlords are not permitted to obtain animal or canine liability insurance for a tenant's dog, the policy must be purchased by the dog owner directly. Landlords are also not permitted to purchase renters insurance which may not exclude canines/may include them (see your policy page if it also covers canines), which also must be purchased by the tenant directly.
The Landlord should be added as an additional insured for no extra cost. A copy of the policy indicating the Landlord as an additional insured must be forwarded via email, mail or fax to this office with your application to rent one of our properties and will be referred to in your written lease. Cancelation of the policy before the end of lease or failure to provide a copy of the policy naming Landlord as additional insured is considered a breach of lease.
If my dog bites someone what might it cost me out of pocket if I don't have an animal liability policy?
It is hard to estimate the amount of damages because of the number of variables, however, 3 recent Florida cases that had the following results:
1. In December 2002, a Broward County jury awarded $203,500 to an 8-year-old girl who was attacked by a dog and had facial scarring and emotional distress. The attack occurred at the dog owner's home.
2. In March 2006, a Pasco County jury awarded $200,000 to a 7-year-old boy who suffered from a dog bite to the face. This attack also occurred at the dog owner's home.
3. In November 2007, a Broward County jury awarded over $80,000 following a dog attack at a marina. The award was reduced because the jury found that the plaintiffs were 25% negligent.
Again, every case is different, and those recoveries were based on the facts of those particular cases.
An elderly victim's family also recently sued a dog owner in Florida for a barking dog that "scared her" and later resulted in a heart attack and her ultimately her death, despite never touching her.
In 2011, a Washington State Superior Court jury awarded a $2.2 million verdict to a woman who was attacked by two neighborhood pit bulls near her home in Tacoma, Washington. The woman sued the dogs' owners whose homeowners' policies were unfortunately limited to $100,000 each.
Therefore, an animal liability policy should cover the tenant for a minimum of several hundred thousand dollars, as private medical bills are so exorbitantly high in the U.S., driving up award settlements which are court awarded in effort to offset the victim's incurred medical costs.
As medical costs soar into the hundreds of thousands easily, and a single trip to the ER generally starts at $5,ooo out of pocket excluding any treatment, liability policies should provide adequate coverage to meet those exorbitant costs to the injured party. A few hundred dollars a year could save you several hundred thousand dollars or millions in damages.
Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding this or any issue.
Possible local insurance agents familiar with Renters Insurance and Canine Liability Policies:
Sam at State Farm, (904) 641-6844 (for renters insurance that includes dog liability and adds the Landlord as an additional insured at no extra cost); Sandra at A&B Insurance for canine liability; and Lisa at Caton Housey. See articles to the right for suggested questions to ask about your policy.
Animal Fee: Our pet fee is $250/dog for dogs over 2 years old and $500 for medium to large breed puppies (under 2 years old and over 10 pounds).
The tenant is also responsible to clean the coils and flush the lines of the A/C every 6 months in addition to changing the filter monthly and vacuuming off the return for accrued dog hair.
Dog hair build up in the A/C unit leads to very costly expenses (several cases have cost $5,000 in damages) when the above is not followed, and is therefore, at the tenant's expense.
Photos, receipts, and documentation of the changed filter is due every month with the rent, and proof of the coil cleaning and line flushing is due via email every 6 months. Failure to submit this documentation is considered a breach of lease.
What if my dog has never bitten before?
Dangerous animals who have bitten before are excluded by the HOA and are ineligible to lease, due to liability insurance and safety issues. City laws apply.
Unfortunately, with dog bites or attacks there is always a first time. Dogs seem particularly unpredictable around children.
In a personal story, we had a German Shepherd growing up who was always loving and sweet around children. One day, she just snapped and bit an 8 year old girl she had known her whole life, and had to be destroyed. There were no previous signs of aggression.
Many dog attack cases share similar circumstances. Dogs get old, develop pain, get spooked and protect their owners, all of which can cause them to unexpectedly attack. Sometimes they see children as other dogs and attack.
Though cost is the least damaging part of an attack, a liability policy can help offset massive costs that the dog owner may incur in a suit.
14 Dog Breeds Blacklisted by Insurance Companies
Do Renters Insurance Policies Cover Pet Liability?
Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites?