How To Prepare Your Rental Property For Pets

By July 27, 2018Landlord Tips

Anyone who owns a pet will tell you; it’s just the best. Pets have a unique way of making us feel even more at home in our homes and bring a special kind of warmth into our lives. We do anything for them in return.

Unfortunately, some landlords are deterred from renting their property to pet owners because of unfounded fears that they will cause irreversible damage to a property. But in reality, you’re more likely to be left with that kind of damage from summer storms or un-screened tenants.

Renting to pet owners simply means that you have a booming market of renters willing to pay that little bit more so that their furry friends can call your property their home too.

But as any property owner knows – it’s important to make sure you’re protected regardless. So, here’s a few ways you can do that:


Choose the Right Flooring

Tiles and vinyl flooring are a landlord and pet owner’s best friend. This is because they’re the most durable flooring options for rental properties. Nobody wants to deal with carpet stains and wooden floorboard scratches are there for life. Nowadays, vinyl is available in some beautiful patterns and looks. The most popular choice is vinyl that looks like hardwood floorboards. You can simply remove that small section and replace it for next to nothing.

If you’re looking to rent your property to pet owners long-term, take out all of the carpet in your house.


Protect the Doors from Scratches

We all know that when dogs are excited to step outside they go straight to the doors. Dog scratches can do a lot of damage to doors – so it’s a good idea to finds something to cover the bases of doors like a kickplate or some hard plastic. Another option is to install a doggy door. This way there’s less antsy scratches for you to deal with and it acts as a big bonus for your new tenants.


Protect Your Lawns

It’s not exactly unheard of for a rental property’s lawn to cop a bit of damage and/or neglect over the years. But the reality is that dogs and their feces can totally destroy a lawn. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent damage to the lawn in the same way you prevent damage to a property. Firstly, you can include conditions in the lease that outline that the lawn and gardens are the responsibility of the renters. Take pictures of the lawn before the tenants move in and during each inspection so that you have proof should you need it.  If you want to go a step further – hire a caretaker to come to your property and tend to the lawns and gardens. This way you’ll have peace of mind that you’re not going to have to pay to replace the whole thing down the track.


Screen the Pets First

You’ll find that these days, people have begun creating fun little ‘pet profiles’ when applying for rental properties. These are a great way for you to screen pets before you accept the tenant. Have them send a picture and a small description about what they’re like. This way you can decide if that pet is right for your property. Let’s face it – no one really wants a Burmese mountain dog in their fully furnished shoebox apartment. Applicants that agree to do this also show that their pets are important to them. This indicates that the pets are well-cared-for and less likely to be subjected to neglect which unfortunately, is when the property damage tends to happen.


Add a Pet Deposit

When you accept a pet, it’s perfectly acceptable for you to add on a pet deposit of $300 – $500 to your normal bond to cover yourself if anything happens to the property as a result of the pet’s damage.


Conduct a Thorough Entry Report

The best way to protect yourself is to have your documentation in order. If you’ve got a property manager they will be able to conduct a comprehensive entry report using their professional experience. Otherwise, you’ll have to conduct one yourself. Take as many photographs as you can of doors, screens, floors, gardens and lawns. Take note of existing damage. This way, if a tenant contests the damages – you have proof to fight back.


Set Your Expectations

The best way to protect yourself from property damage as a result of a pet is to be clear and specific. When outlining the responsibilities of your tenant make sure you include rules that state:

  • The tenant must pay for all damages caused by the animal
  • The pet has all required licenses, shots, microchips etc.
  • The tenant must clean up all messes caused by the animal
  • You can state whether you want inside or outside animals
  • The pet will be appropriately enclosed within the property (cages for birds, correct size and height for existing fencing etc.)
  • You are free to change the conditions within reason at any time, as long as sufficient notice is given
  • Any violations may lead to termination of the tenancy.

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