Why allowing pets at your property can keep you out of the doghouse

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Not a pet lover? Well statistics show that if you want a line-up of potential tenants outside your investment property, allowing pets is the way to go.

If you want to avoid being in the dog house when it’s time to make your mortgage payments, allowing tenants to have pets could increase your chances of keeping any rental property from being empty.

The numbers bark, meow and speak for themselves. 

According to the RSPCA, of the 7.5 million Australian households – 63% include a pet.

 If you care to grab the calculator, which we did, that means about 2,240,000 pets live in homes across our country. Add to that, of those 7.5 million households, about 4,725,000 are leased to renters.

That’s a lot of finger crossing and pleading smiles from renters who refuse to part with their furry loved ones.

So as a landlord, how can you cater to pet owners, while also ensuring your investment doesn’t resemble a hair ball instead of a house?

#1 - Flooring
Flooring takes the worst beating if pets are allowed in the house, so if possible make sure your property’s floors are either tile or linoleum – this makes it easy for tenants to clean up any mess and to stop pets from causing any irreparable damage.

#2 – Fencing
Is your property safe and secure? There is nothing a pet owner fears more than coming home to realise their beloved best friend is missing. If your property already has fencing either install a secure gate, or spend a little to make sure all latchings are strong and will stay shut on windy days.

#3 – Gardens
Don’t spend a lot of money on landscaping if you want to allow tenants to have pets. Simple gardens with shrubs or trees –that don’t look like pretty digging areas, will last better than elaborate garden beds that are likely to be dug up by bored dogs waiting for their owners to get home from work.

#4 – Sheltered area
Is there anywhere at the rear of your property that a pet could get out of the weather? A verandah, garage or sheltered area is great for a pet left outside. Typically dogs don’t use dog houses, so if there is a covered area – even adding shade sails (about $130.00) can help, tenants will be happy knowing their four-legged mate will be dry if a storm happens to brew up.
 
#5 – Tenant agreements
If you are happy to allow pets, but are a bit uncomfortable with them being in the house, simply add terms to your tenant agreement that specify pets are allowed, but must remain outdoors. Advise your potential tenant that regular inspections will be carried out, and that any additional pets must be cleared by the property manager. If you are leasing the property yourself, tenant agreements can be downloaded from your state’s Department of Fair Trading website.
 
There are also a number of websites that can assist pet owners find properties to rent.

The NSW Young Lawyers Animal Rights Committee has produced A guide for keeping pets in strata schemes – your questions answered which is helpful.

As well, the Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS) has a comprehensive guide to pets in the city which addresses many issues regarding pets in urban environments, including a chapter on ‘overcoming pet permissibility issues’.

We recommend creating a pet resumé for your cat: a document that includes proof of desexing, microchipping and registration; vaccination records; a reference from the cat’s vet about the cat’s health and behaviour; and references from previous landlords or neighbours.

A formal pet agreement can be made and include commitments about responsibility to make good any damage caused by the cat; parasite treatment; noise; hygiene; confinement etc. To view a sample pet agreement & pet resume guidelines, click here.
 

Links sourced from the Cat Protection Society of NSW
 

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