Should you rent to people with pets?

If you’ve previously been against allowing tenants with pets, you might want to rethink your stance – having them might not only allow you to increase your rent, but attract reliable tenants who want to stay long term.

Australians love their pets

The RSPCA estimates that 63% of Australian households have a pet. And out of the remaining 37%, over half have indicated that they would like to have a pet sometime in the future. While states like Victoria have made it easier for people to rent with pets, other states like South Australia, allows the decision to be made by the landlord.

The ‘no pets’ clause of tenancy agreements have been a mainstay for many years as it has been considered a good idea to protect an investment from damage. However, thinking is starting to change in this area as opens up the door to a wider range of tenants.

Since so many Australians either already have a little friend, or wish to adopt one in the future, more potential tenants will be interested in your property and since they can keep a pet on the property, be more willing to stay beyond the duration of the original lease and keep it well maintained. It also reduces the likelihood that tenants will bring pets onto your property without permission, which is bad for everyone.

Potential for higher rents

In Australia, you are unable to charge a pet bond to cover potential damage (except in Western Australia). But, there is an opportunity to increase rent to offset any risk of damage. If a tenant with a pet is looking for a property, they would be willing to pay that extra bit more to ensure that their furry or feathered friend can come with them as well.

You can also protect yourself by including a pet clause in your lease. This works to protect your investment in the case of any damage, as the tenant will be obligated to rectify the damage done at the end of the lease. You can further protect yourself by ensuring pets are included in your landlord insurance policy.

Problems pets can cause

Although pets increase the potential for higher rents and a larger array of tenants, it does come with its drawbacks. It can be risky to allow pets on your property. Animals can do a wide range of damage, from clawing/chewing doors, doorframes and floor, through to destroying the garden.

Some landlords have implemented strategies to reduce risk by excluding large dogs or pets which are considered to be destructive. However, if the tenant has rented with a pet previously, a search of the tenancy database by your property manager will be able to flag any historical issues.

You also need to take in consideration what type of type of property you have. If you own a unit, for example, strata bylaws might prohibit pets. If they are allowed, you may want to consider whether a pet is suitable based on their needs. An active breed of dog would likely grow bored and restless in the confined space, but a small, inactive dog or a cat might be perfectly happy. It’s best to judge these things on a case-by-case scenario.

Discuss it with your property manager

Most property managers, have a wealth of experience when it comes to renting with pets, so they will be able to guide you on whether having a pet rental is right for your individual circumstances. Yes, fur-babies can cause issues, but there are a number of benefits which make it an important option to consider.