Should I allow pets in my rental property?

Photo of a girl and her cat looking at each other

If you’re a landlord that allows pets, then you are in hot demand, as traditionally many landlords are reluctant to accept pets into their properties. For the astute landlord, this means a greater pool of potential tenants to choose from and tenants that are likely to stay put for longer.

If you’re wondering if you should allow tenants with pets, but are unsure what to do, here’s a few tips to help you ensure your investment is protected.

1. Decide on type of pets and areas they are allowed access to

Before renting to tenants with pets, it's a good to do your homework. Think about what pets you will accept and what guidelines they may come with.

You may want to think about:

  • What type of pets do think will work with your property? Is your property well fenced?
  • Do you want an inside or outside pet?

Knowing the type of tenants you want will help with marketing your rental property and attracting suitable tenants.

Important: Unit title and cross lease property owners

Landlords who let their unit title or cross lease properties should also check the terms of their body corporate rules and leases to see what restrictions there may be on keeping animals.

2. Market your property - with pet owners in mind

Once you have an idea of the type of pets you would accept and what guidelines these may come with, your property can then be marketed appropriately.

Marketing tips for attracting tenants with pets:

  • Highlight the fact that you will allow or consider pets. Speak to your property manager about the best way to go about this
  • Emphasis what makes your property pet friendly. With all property marketing, the more you clearly state the benefits, the better. For example, tenants with pets will require a well fenced property or a cat door.

3. Treat all tenants and their pets as individual cases

It's worth considering tenants with pets on a case-by-case basis, and trying to learn as much about them and their pets as you can.

There are many trustworthy and reliable tenants who are responsible pet owners. It is recommended that each application is viewed on a case by case basis.

Helen Hodgson Barfoot & Thompson Property Management Operations Manager

4. Ask extra questions

When you’re screening tenants with pets, it’s a good idea to ask a few extra questions. Your property manager can help you with the screening, but here are some ideas of questions to ask.

Key questions to ask tenants with pets

  • What type of pet do you own?
  • How many pets do you have?
  • Are they inside or outside pets?

Additional questions for dog owners

  • What breed is your dog? You can use this information to do a bit of homework on the typical characteristics of that breed
  • What size is your dog? Although bigger dogs don’t necessarily cause more damage it’s important to know whether or not the size of your section can accommodate the breed of the dog and whether the existing fencing is appropriate
  • Do you walk your dog? Dogs need exercise in order to get their energy out and allow them opportunities to explore - a dog that isn't walked is more likely to use its excess energy doing things like digging up your yard.

5. Meet the pet

It’s a good idea to meet the animal first, especially if it’s a dog, so that you can assess its personality. Talk to your property manager about the best way to go about this.

6. Reference check

At Barfoot & Thompson, we have a rigorous tenant selection policy. Your Barfoot & Thompson property manager will complete reference checks, including a credit check which will assist you to choose the most suitable applicant. If the tenant has been allowed to have their pet at a previous rental, your property manager will also be able to ask their referee suitable questions around this.

7. Add a pet clause to the Tenancy Agreement

Barfoot & Thompson has a specific pet clause that they add to the Residential Tenancy Agreement, just ask your Barfoot & Thompson property manager to arrange this for you.

8. Take the maximum bond

The maximum bond that can be claimed is an amount equivalent to four weeks rent. To reduce the risk, it’s recommended the maximum amount is asked for.

Important: It’s unlawful to take any more than the equivalent of up to four weeks rent.

9. Do regular inspections

Your property manager will conduct regular inspections to ensure there is no damage to the property, caused by the tenant, their guests or their pet. If damage has been caused, your property manager will go through the process of seeking remedy. If the damage is not found until after the tenant has vacated the bond can be claimed to cover the cost of repairs.

Talk to your property manager for more information and tailored advice.

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