Allowing pets on your property

25 July 2016

Insights and advice for property investors & home owners.

Allowing pets on your property.

Most people love animals and some can’t live without them. From a landlord or property investor’s point of view, however, pets don’t always make the perfect tenant. Scratching, chewing, barking, moulting, urinating – the list of potential problems goes on. On the plus side, allowing pets on your property usually means that you have more tenants to choose from and that your tenants are more likely to stay for longer. So should you or shouldn’t you make pets welcome on your property?

The cons of allowing pets

“The main worry is that the pet is going to wet the carpet and it’s quite hard to get rid of the smell,” says Philippa Hurst, Property Manager from Quinovic’s Kent Terrace office. “You can get it professionally cleaned but the smell can linger and then you have to get a special deodorising treatment.” This is problematic because the Residential Tenancy Act doesn’t allow professional carpet cleaning to be a clause, even when there is a pet.

Pet fur can also be quite difficult to remove, while carpets, polished floors and furniture can be damaged by scratching or gnawing. “If you’ve got dogs,” Hurst says, “you’ve got the issue of barking and annoying the neighbours, and if the dog’s outside, they can dig up the garden. They’re the things that put people off.”

The pros of allowing pets

Pet-friendly properties can be hard to come by, especially in cities. “Some owners are more flexible with having cats, but dogs are a bit of a rarity,” Hurst says of her experience managing Wellington properties. This means that by allowing pets you’ll have a bigger pool of tenants to select from. Plus, because pet-friendly properties are hard to find, the tenants you choose are more likely to make themselves at home for longer. For properties that are difficult to let, Hurst says, “it can be a bit of a drawcard if you let people have a pet”.

Tips for landlords and property investors

If you’re contemplating giving pets the nod, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that your property is pet-friendly – fully fenced and equipped with a cat door.
  • Add a pet clause to your Residential Tenancy Agreement. This is something Quinovic can help you with.
  • If you’re a unit title or cross-lease property owner, check the terms of your body corporate rules and leases to see if there are any restrictions on keeping animals.
  • Consider what kinds of pets your property is suitable for. A small unit is not ideal for a large dog, for example.
  • Would you prefer an outside dog only? How many pets will you allow? Decide on what types of pet you want to allow and work out guidelines around these.
  • When doing your reference checks, ask questions about how the tenant’s pet has behaved in the past.
  • Take the maximum bond (equivalent to four weeks’ rent) to protect yourself against any possible damage caused by a pet.
  • Inspect regularly to avoid surprises down the track.
  • Be sure to market your property as being pet friendly, highlighting all of its pet-friendly features (cat door etc) in your advertising.

Talk to the experts in property management

Quinovic has a default ‘no pets’ policy, but we suggest allowing pets on a case-by-case basis, simply because this means you’ll have more tenants to choose from. Philippa Hurst stresses, however, that it depends on the type of property you have. “If you’ve got an apartment, it’s not fair on the pet or on you.”

If we’re managing your property and you choose to allow pets, we’ll work with you to help you to protect your investment. As well as adding a pet clause to your Residential Tenancy Agreement, this includes carrying out regular inspections and taking extensive photographs of your property to help identify any damage caused by pets.

If you have any questions or want advice around a specific pet, talk to us.

The experts in property care and return

Find out more about our proven Customer Care and Return Systems, or for more information about allowing pets on your property, get in touch with us now.

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