Why Should I Allow Pets in My Rental Property?
In some states, pets are already required to be allowed unless there is good reason to refuse. However, in states where there is an option, many landlords still choose to not allow pets in their rental properties. There are a number of benefits to allowing pets, including:
Larger Tenant Pool
Allowing pets in your rental property means that you will open the doors to a higher number of potential tenants, as those that will not rent without their family pet will now consider your property an option.
The Competitive Edge
By allowing pets, you have the competitive edge on other local landlords who continue to adamantly state they will not. Your property will become the more attractive option, even with tenants who do not currently have a pet, as they might be considering one in the future.
Increased Rent Opportunity
Because finding a rental property that will allow pets can be so difficult, 31% of pet owners are willing to pay more to allow them to keep their furry friend alongside them, according to this study.
When tenants find your property that allows them to keep a pet, they are more likely to renew the lease rather than search for another property that allows the same freedoms. In addition, many pet-owning households are families, who generally prefer to remain in one property for a longer period and avoid uprooting.
A tenant who is responsible enough to take good care of a pet is more likely to have the transferrable skills that a landlord should look for in a tenant and can be expected to treat your property with respect.
What are the Potential Negatives of Allowing Pets?
Pets, especially dogs and cats, can certainly cause damage to properties. Fur, faeces, and foul smells may all emanate from an animal in the home. Scratched floors and chewed carpets have often been deterrents for landlords to allow pet in the past.
In addition, neighbours may be irritated by misbehaved or noisy animals, and may have noise complaints or other issues.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Property?
However, the good news is that as the landlord, you have rights. Across Australia, there are different laws around what you can and can’t do to ensure the care of your property, so make sure you have assistance from a professional to plan for any complications.
Check Your Insurance Policy
Should there be extreme damage caused by your tenants’ pet/s, make sure you have the right insurance to cover it. Some landlord insurance policies will not cover damages caused by animals, so read your policy well. If your policy doesn’t already cover pet damage, consider switching policies to a custom one that will cover you appropriately.
Include a Pet Policy in the Lease
You also will need to ensure your rental agreement clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of both sides to avoid any future altercations. You may need to get legal advice to ensure you follow all state laws of what can and can’t be included in the agreement.
You are able to ask for details about the pet prior to accepting an application, such as its age, temperament, training, other characteristics, and reasoning as to why your property is suitable for the pet. Some tenants may be able to offer pet references (yes, a real thing!) from previous landlords, vets, or neighbours. This will allow you to get an idea of any potential issues before any decisions are made.
Ultimately, we recommend allowing pets in your rental property, provided you have the right processes and policies in place to do so. You are likely to find renters more quickly, and end up with happier, more stable tenants that will continue to rent from you for years to come.