As a landlord, it would be unsurprising if you’ve found yourself feeling hesitant when it comes to accepting pets into your rental property. It’s not uncommon for property owners to have the same concerns. Potential for damage, issues around liability, and worries about hygiene, odour and noise, are common. While these are all valid anxieties, it’s important to know that not allowing pets in your rental property may cost you in the long run.
Consider this – most pet owners consider their pets part of the family and wouldn’t contemplate renting without them. Furthermore, a 2022 report by Animal Medicines Australia found that 69% of homes across Australia are now home to one or more pets.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why accepting pets in your rental may attract more renters, especially those willing to rent more long-term. In this blog post, we’ll explore the advantages of renting to pet owners and offer tips for landlords to ensure the safety of their rental properties.
Benefits Of Allowing Pets In Your Rental
You May Attract More Tenants
Accepting pets in your rental property can attract a wider pool of potential tenants, as many pet owners struggle to find pet-friendly housing. The above-mentioned report by Animal Medicines Australia found that one of the primary barriers to renters and apartment dwellers acquiring one pet or expanding on their current animal family was constraints put in place by landlords, body corporates and strata laws.
Another report by Animal Medicines Australia entitled Pets and the Pandemic, found that there had been an increase in pet ownership from 61% – 68% from 2019 – 2021, with 70% of all pet owners surveyed saying that owning a pet had improved their lives during Covid-19. With the rise in pet ownership and the strengthening of animal-human bonds, it’s clear that more and more Australians are investing their time and money in pets. By opening your rental property to pets, you can enter a previously untapped market and quickly increase your chances of finding a suitable tenant. In fact, many qualified tenants won’t even consider renting property unless they can do so with a pet. Additionally, many pet owners are willing to pay higher rent to secure rental properties that accommodate their furry friends.
Improving Quality of Life
The Pets and the Pandemic report also found significant connections between pet ownership and mental health. In fact, in conducted focus groups, it was almost unanimously agreed that participants experienced great emotional and social benefits from owning pets and even advocated for non-pet owners to experience it for themselves.
Pets can provide companionship and security for tenants, especially those who live alone. By accepting pets in your rental property, you can promote a better quality of life for your tenants and increase overall satisfaction with their living arrangements. On top of that, a happy tenant is much more likely to renew their lease and recommend your rental property to others. And so, by allowing the flexibility of pet-owning to renters, you help to ensure a healthy relationship with your tenant and may even convince them to stay longer.
Addressing Potential Downsides
Of course, there are a number of potential downsides to allowing pets in your rental property. Obvious downsides to consider include:
Noise complaints – such as barking
Damage to the property – such as urination on carpets
Odours – such as from litter boxes and lack of appropriate grooming
Injuries to other tenants or neighbours
While these issues can be a cause for concern, the majority of them can be combated by a proper tenant screening process and by making pet-specific stipulations to your rental agreement. For example, you may restrict the ownership of certain aggressive breeds of dogs as well as the number of pets allowed in your rental. You may even choose to only allow cats on the property, rather than dogs, or vice versa, as well as advising that any damage to property will be deducted from your tenant’s deposit. Other guidelines you may consider in your tenancy agreement include those regarding waste cleanup and pet behaviour.
Placing stipulations such as these in the rental agreement allows you to give your tenant a degree of freedom when it comes to pet ownership, keeping your property desirable and ensuring tenants are happy, while giving you peace of mind.
As mentioned, a thorough tenant screening process is vital to ensuring you don’t encounter pet-related issues with future tenants, and it’s advisable to hire a Property Manager to carry this out, as well as the overall general management of the property.
Legal Considerations For Landlords Regarding Pets
There are legal considerations that landlords should be aware of when accepting pets in your rental property. Some states have specific pet-related laws and regulations that must be followed. For example, in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), “a lessor can apply to refuse a tenant’s request to keep a pet at a rental property under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997” (ACT Government). However, if you do give consent to keep a pet on the property, you are legally allowed to place certain conditions on your consent. Furthermore, if a tenant disagrees with a decision you make regarding pet ownership, they may apply to ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to resolve the dispute.
As mentioned, these stipulations apply to ACT, so it is advisable to consult your state or territory’s government website for the correct legal information. By taking legal considerations into account and implementing proper precautions, landlords can successfully rent to pet owners while protecting their rental properties.
How To Market Your Rental Property As Pet-Friendly
To attract more tenants, consider marketing your rental as pet-friendly. You can do this by advertising on pet-related websites and social media platforms, as well as including information on your listing. Be sure to mention that your property is pet-friendly, and if you’re working with a property manager, inform them. You can even add information to your listing about what makes the local area ideal for pets, such as the locations of nearby veterinarians, dog-friendly cafes and restaurants, or top dog parks.
Think about installing amenities in your property that show you are open to renters with pets. Consider adding a cat flap, low-maintenance flooring, and fencing off the garden to create a dog-friendly play area. You should also consider including photos of the property’s outdoor space or trails in the area to immediately communicate that your property is open to all. By taking just a few small steps, you can open your property to a host of trusted candidates.
If you’re a property owner feeling anxious about renting to pet owners, it might be time to reconsider your thoughts on the matter. Landlords who are willing to take the necessary precautions can actually expand on their pool of potential candidates. By carrying out a thorough tenant screening process and adding pet-specific prerequisites to your rental agreement, you can ensure tenants are happy while minimising potential issues. Additionally, marketing your rental property as pet-friendly can attract more tenants and even ensure that they choose to stay longer.
Managing a rental property can be a lot of work, especially when you are working around a busy life schedule. At Jonny Warren Properties, we take the hassle out of property management, leaving you free to enjoy what matters. Contact us here or call us on 0431 797 891. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com.