As a landlord, one of the many considerations to make when looking for suitable tenants is whether to allow pets.
Approximately two thirds of all Australians own a pet and yet the majority of rental properties have a strict ‘no pets’ rule.
A major reason for this is many property investors believe pets can devalue a home through damaged to the property such as chewed up carpets, unpleasant odours and stains and moulting of fur. However, not all pet owners can be deemed irresponsible.
Typically, pet owners will pay higher rents for the premium of having a pet friendly home, so will it work in your favour to consider adding ‘pet friendly’ to the lease?
To help you decide, here are some pros and cons to consider before deciding if your property will be pet friendly or not:
Pros of a pet friendly property
- You may be able to charge higher rent and thus achieve higher rental yields
- You will get a higher response from advertising if you mention that pets are allowed
- Due to this increased interest, your property may rent quicker and avoid vacancy periods where you are not earning rental income
- Pet owners generally stay longer as there is a limited number of pet friendly rentals available
- If tenants are mature enough to take good care of an animal, there is a good chance they will treat your property with the same respect
- If you are worried about pets damaging your investment property, you could ask for a refundable pet damage deposit
Cons of a pet friendly property
- Individual pet owners might not be very good at cleaning up after their animals
- Pets can scratch floors, chew carpets and stain floor coverings, possibly leaving unpleasant odours
- Dogs barking, birds squawking and cats wandering can become a nuisance to neighbours through noise and damage
- There is increased liability to the Landlord if the pet bites or attacks others
Making the decision whether to allow your property to be pet friendly or not should be taken into careful consideration to ensure that it feels right for you and your investment property.
Check your insurance coverage and liability for animals
If you decide to have a pet-friendly property, you should check your insurance policy to find out what type of coverage you have. Make sure you know the amount of liability coverage your policy includes. Enquire with your insurance company if there are any exclusions to your coverage, such as if they have a list of ‘dangerous’ dog breeds which will not be covered under the policy.
Include your pet policy in your lease
You should include a ‘pet clause’ in your lease and require each new tenant to sign it. This policy should clearly state your pet policy (whether or not you allow animals) and your expectations of the pet owner. Make it clear that by signing the lease, the tenant agrees to these terms and if they violate these terms, it will be considered a breach of contract.
What is a pet resume?
The introduction of pet resumes can make it easier for tenants to secure an animal-friendly rental property and helps Landlords protect their investment properties. Pet resumes are designed so animals can make a good impression. It also gives tenants a competitive advantage, proving they’re serious about the rental application and finding the perfect pet-friendly rental.
Allowing pets in rentals could provide great advantages to Landlords. Don’t just write off pet owners in fear that your hard-earned investment is going to be destroyed.
With most Australian households owning pets and with pet-friendly rentals in such short supply, the right changes to a lease agreement can open up the pool of potential tenants significantly.