Property investors are sometimes reluctant to list their properties as being pet-friendly on the rental market. Concerns about potential damage to their property can prevent landlords from enjoying the very real benefits of offering a pet-friendly property.
Here is a list of the pros and cons to help you make a decision:
The Pros for pet-friendly Investment Properties
- Properties advertised as being pet-friendly can receive up to twice as many enquiries compared to those with a strict no pets policy.
- More applications mean your Property Manager can be super selective in choosing the very best of tenants for your property.
- Increased demand usually results in shorter vacancy periods, ensuring a steady cash flow from rent payments.
- Tenants with pets are often willing to pay more to secure a property that fits their needs.
- Once a pet owner secures a home for themselves and their furred or feathered family, they tend to be more settled and stay longer. They tend to treat the property more like their own home, less turnover also creates a more consistent rental income for the owner.
The Cons for pet-friendly Investment Properties
- Potential damage from animals chewing, clawing or digging at the property
- Potential pet smells
- Possible neighbour complaints about barking, squawking or wandering
- Increased insurance costs
What steps can you take to make your investment property pet-friendly?
Making slight modifications to your investment property can minimise the potential risk of damage or increased maintenance being caused by a tenants’ pets.
Ensure the garden or courtyard is securely fenced so that pets cannot escape. Good neighbour fencing, where pets can’t see other people or pets coming and going, may limit barking complaints.
Tiles or vinyl flooring are a lot more practical than carpet, particularly in the living areas. They are easier to keep clean and tend not to retain odours, fur or stains from any little accidents. This is both practical and attractive for both the Landlord and Tenant. Many new homes only have carpet in the bedrooms where doors can be closed to restrict pet access.
Security screens with doggie-doors have greater appeal to tenants, and therefore warrant an increase in the rental price. This will also reduce potential damage to doors and windows as the pets won’t have to scratch in order to come and go. In the case of an outside pet, security screens are more resistant to damage from a pet than insect screens.
Ensure the tenant understands that even slight damage to screens, holes or patches of dead grass in the garden will be included in the exit inspection and the property will need to be left in the same condition as when entering the lease.
Include terms in the lease requiring a flea treatment inside and out when vacating the property.
Ask for pet credentials e.g. proof of registration, desexing or references from current neighbours. Only approve pets of the size and number appropriate to the size of the yard.
Make sure the terms of the lease are clear about the type and number of pets approved and whether they are to be allowed inside or outside only. Having a photo on file of the approved pet is also recommended.
Pets in apartment buildings, units and townhouses
Keeping animals in apartments, townhouses and villas is a more complex process than allowing pets in a house.
When it comes to strata buildings, each Body Corporate can have different by-laws and options regarding the acceptance of pets in the building or complex.
Some complexes may not allow pets at all. Others allow tenants to submit a ‘pet application’, and make a decision based on the type and breed of the animal, or may only allow owner occupiers to keep pets.
With an increase in demand for pet-friendly rental properties, developers and strata managers are becoming aware of the benefits of running a pet-friendly building.
There have been some recent tribunal and arbitration decisions deeming that a body corporate cannot restrict an occupant from enjoying the company of a pet. No one wants to have their tenant in dispute with the Body Corporate, so at the end of the day the decision remains with you as the owner of the property, as long as you are acting within the bylaws and relevant council regulations which may apply.
One final consideration is to ensure that you and your property are covered by the right homeowner’s insurance. Some policy terms can change when pets in general, or some pets in particular, are permitted in your property. Do your research and make your decision from there.
As pet lover’s ourselves, we will generally recommend in favour of approving pets in our own investment properties. Who doesn’t love to come home to an excited fur baby at the end of the day?