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Many rentals explicitly specify a ‘no pets allowed’ policy. But are landlords doing themselves a disservice by closing the door on a substantial number of pet-loving tenants?
Australians are a nation of pet-lovers and we have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world.
According to the RSPCA, about 63 per cent of households own pets with the total number nationally estimated at 33 million. Dogs are by far the most common with an estimated 4.2 million in Australia – which translates into a lot of furry friends!
These figures highlight an important issue for owners of investment properties: that is the question of whether or not to make your property pet-friendly.
Let’s take a look at some of the positives of having a pet-friendly investment property.
As a general rule, someone who has a pet will be responsible. After all, they’re committed to the welfare and wellbeing of their pet, so they should have the maturity to treat your property with the same degree of care and respect.
Pet-friendly rental properties aren’t always easy to find, so it’s highly likely tenants who have pets will stay longer in the property because it will be harder for them to secure another property where their pet is welcome. That means lower turnover of tenants and consequently lower vacancy rates.
Wider pool of tenants
Given that such a large proportion of the population are pet-owners, it’s logical to assume that a pet-friendly rental property could help to increase the pool of prospective tenants. Again, this could mean reduced vacancy rates – and more stable rental returns.
It’s also not uncommon for pet-friendly rentals to attract higher rents. It’s also not uncommon for landlords to ask for a pet bond from the tenant that would cover any flea treatment or cleaning expenses.
It’s likely that responsible pet owners will be home-centred. In other words, they will be focused on creating a stable home for their family and their pet and will spend time at your investment property in order to be with their pet.
If you own an investment property or are considering buying one, it’s worth doing some research into rentals in your property’s area to see if there’s a demand for pet-friendly accommodation.
It’s also worth speaking to a reputable property management company in your area to get a professional opinion about the question of pets and, if you’re going down the pet-friendly route, to get their expert advice on drawing up a pet policy or agreement.
For example, as the landlord, you may want to see and approve the pets personally, check the vaccination records and establish whether the pet has been trained, whether it barks frequently, etc.
The property management company will help you work out the specific guidelines for any pet policy, such as if the pet is to be housed outside or allowed inside, whether the pet is legitimate in terms of any by-laws or property regulations, noise considerations and so on.