The idea of allowing pets into your rental property can be scary, but pet-friendly properties are in high demand across all Australian cities. According to the Animal Health Alliance, close to 5 million of Australia’s 7.6 million households have pets, a third of whom are renters, representing one of the highest rates in the world.
However, there are not enough pet-friendly rental properties to meet the demand. Landlords who have heard horror stories or don’t want to tolerate the extra risk simply have a ‘no pet’ policy. As a result, many renters are being forced to give up their pets, with one fifth of animal surrenders in NSW and Victoria resulting from owners who are unable to find a place where they are allowed to keep them.
In response, state governments are reviewing their Residential Tenancies Acts and are considering changing the rules around pet provisions so that ‘no pet policies’ are the exception rather than the norm. But landlords need not worry, renting to pet owners comes with definite benefits.
How Would the Changes Work?
Changes to the rules are still under consideration so nothing is definite so far. However, the government is considering a “pet bond”, which would allow landlords to charge tenants with pets a yearly fee for property maintenance.
The REIV think a pet bond would encourage more landlords to allow pets in their properties, most of whom don’t accept pets because of the damage that can be caused and the fact their landlord insurance policy often doesn’t cover it.
Currently, a lot of landlords impose a strict no-pet clause and can evict tenants if they bring in a pet. The exception is assistance animals, which are not regarded as pets. Landlords cannot violate housing rights for the disabled who require an animal for their well-being.
Benefits of Renting to Pet Owners
Recent research indicates that having a well-managed pet friendly rental can be a competitive advantage simply because of the demand and sheer lack of supply. Opening your home for pet owners means you have access to a bigger pool of tenants.
Pet owning tenants can make very good tenants and are generally willing to pay more rent. Additionally, pet-friendly properties tend to rent out faster. This is because pet owners know it can be difficult to find pet-friendly housing and want to avoid house hunting. They’re more likely to be appreciative of their current housing and respectful to the property itself.
US research also suggests that households with pets stayed in rental properties longer than other tenants. This means landlords can enjoy secure, longer-term rent. Longer leases means less advertising and vacancy costs.
How Can Landlords Protect Their Pet-Friendly Rentals?
Spill-proof, easy to clean floors and a well-maintained, secure fence are the main features necessary in a pet-friendly home. It’s a good idea to sign a Pet Keeping Agreement with the tenant where they agree to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and sanitation as well as monitoring noise and disturbance to other neighbours.
Both parties should have clear expectations about the pet. They should be formally noted on the lease and if any additions to the house are required, like a kennel, this should be negotiated beforehand. Landlords can reasonably restrict the size, type and number of pets. You can draw the line at a Shetland pony in the backyard.
Most importantly, you should have a good property manager who does regular inspections and ensure your landlord insurance policy covers any damage to the property caused by pets.
Quality Property Management in Geelong
Hayeswinckle Property Management keeps up to date with all the relevant legislation and use our understanding of the local market to achieve great results for our clients. If you’d like a great property manager to look after your investment property or would like more advice about becoming a pet-friendly rental, get in touch with our team today.