A Furry Dilemma! Should You Allow Pets At Your Property?

Many investment property owners express concerns to us about pets, and it is certainly an individual choice. However, if you choose to allow tenants to have a pet (with clear guidelines stipulated in the lease) it greatly increases your chance of keeping the property tenanted and reliable returns on your investment.

A pet-loving tenant is more likely to stay in your property where they can live with their pet, rather than endure the challenging hunt for another home where their furry friend is allowed. Further, if your property does become vacant, allowing pets will make it very appealing to other tenants with pets.

According to the RSPCA, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with approximately 63% of households owning a pet. 39% of households own a dog resulting in a staggering 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia. Cats come in second at 29% (3.3 million).

If we look at the local data, there are around 29,000 leased properties in the Illawarra1 and over 18,000 of these are likely to be home to a pet. That’s a lot of keen and potentially suitable tenants that you may be rejecting on the basis of their pet. So if you are interested in allowing pets, what can you do to protect your property?

1. Applications - ensure you or your Property Manager get the applications in writing from prospective tenants. If possible, obtain “pet references” for that pet from previous landlords. In addition, you as the owner shouldhave final approval on which tenant is selected.

2. Pet Agreement - we recommend a formal Pet Agreement as part of the Tenancy Agreement. This document should clearly specify the requirements and special conditions associated with that pet.

3. Regular Inspections - it is very important to carry out thorough inspections three times a year to ensure the pet is not causing damage.

Careful tenant checking at the start of the tenancy,combined with a clear Pet Agreement and thorough, regular property inspections should result in a win-win tenancy for the landlord, the tenant, and the pet!

 

A Pet Agreement should include:

  1. Name and description of the pet. If the pet is given away or dies and the tenant wants a new pet, a new request must be submitted.
  2. Any confinement restrictions. If you want a dog kept outside or a cat kept indoors at night, then you can specify these requirements.
  3. When the tenant vacates the property they must organise professional carpet cleaning and professional flea treatment, and provide you with receipts for these services.
  4. The tenant is responsible to make good any damage caused by the pet to the property or garden, and clear away all pet excrement.
  5. The pet must be removed if it causes any disturbance or complaints are received.
  6. A breach of the Pet Agreement constitutes a breach of the Tenancy Agreement, which means the landlord may end the Tenancy Agreement with 14 days notice in writing.

If you would like to discuss allowing a pet at your property, we’d be happy to help - give us a call on 02 4228 2555.

1 ABS 2011 Census data

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