The Steps You Need To Take When Allowing Pets
Are pets allowed in your investment property? There are a number of benefits to having a pet-friendly property rental. Essentially, you open up your market to a larger pool of prospective tenants.
According to Animal Medicines Australia, 62% of Australian households include a pet with 38.5% owning a dog, 29.2% a cat with the rest having either fish, birds, reptiles or small mammals such as mice. Families also typically seek pet friendly properties.
Before you even begin to prepare your investment property to be pet friendly, you must ask yourself if it's suited to pets in the first place.
If you own a unit, the decision usually depends on strata bylaws. If your strata scheme allows pets, you will still need to assess the property. If it’s small and has no outdoor area, it may not be suitable for dogs. Also, consider the area surrounding your property. Will pets impact the neighbours?
Once you’ve decided you want to allow pets in your investment property, the next step is to review your insurance. Even with the most responsible pet owners, animals have the potential to cause damage. Scratches, stains, ruined landscaping are just some of the problems you might face. Does your insurance cover this? A lot of insurance companies now have a pet policy, which will protect you in the case of damage caused by a tenant’s pet.
Prospective tenants should complete a comprehensive pet application form as well as supply a photo of their pet.
You should also ask potential tenants questions such as: Has it been desexed? Does it get along with people? Has it lived in similar-sized accommodation? Has it caused previous complaints? You may even ask for a “pet resume” or a letter of recommendation for the pet from previous landlords or neighbours.
Legislation varies in each state on pet accommodation in rental properties. In Queensland, for example, landlords must give permission and are free to refuse requests. However, the state government is introducing major reforms to allow for easier pet ownership in rental properties. Meanwhile, in NSW, there are no laws prohibiting pets, but a landlord’s consent, animal type restrictions and optional professional carpet cleaning are terms still required to be put into the agreement.
Landlords and property managers should make sure to include a clause in the tenancy agreement to ensure expectations are clear and that the pet owner is responsible for any damages caused. This also includes flea treatments at the end of the tenancy.
While there are costs that come with allowing pets, there is also much to gain. Pet owners are willing to pay more rent and they often tend to be longer-term tenants.