For millions of Australians, pets are part of the family. In fact Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world - about 62% of households have them. Understanding the attachment that people feel to their pets, many places — restaurants, hotels and stores — are increasingly allowing furry friends to come eat, sleep and shop. Landlords are too often stuck between wanting to be inclusive of personal lifestyle choices while maintaining good condition of their precious rental investment.
While allowing pets at your rental property gives you access to a broader pool of potential tenants, it also comes with additional risks, so planning ahead, communicating well and creating a pet addendum are essential.
Here are 2 things to think about when considering a tenant with a pet:
1) Market demand
Sure, the family that has 2 "medium" sized dogs may not be what you envisioned when you looked ahead to a perfect, stress-free tenancy, however you have to ask yourself what the demand is in your location right now. If they've applied for your house and your property manager recommends them (passing vigorous background, employer and other checks), you should seriously consider accepting them!
Waiting around for the perfect tenant to apply and accept the offer of taking residence in your investment may take weeks or months and the lost income on your house is something you won't be able to get back. Fido may end up scratching a doorframe, but losing thousands of dollars in rental income due to a vacant house doesn't make financial sense.
While most landlords would agree a pet will subject the property to more wear and tear, what they may not consider is every person on the application also adds wear and tear to a property. A single adult with a lapdog may well be the best option when compared to a large group applying for the same property!
We want your property to stand up to multiple tenancies with the least wear and tear possible, preserving the capital value.
Here at Steadfast, our unique price range technique often results in pet owners offering a greater weekly amount for the property, resulting in hundreds of dollars more return throughout the year, out of pure goodwill and expectation that there may be some inconveniences sustained to the property through their pet ownership.
2) Establishing a pet addendum
This is where your property manager's experience is critical. They want the best for your property and they'll be building an ongoing relationship with the tenant, so they'll be sure to set fair and reasonable guidelines in the addendum to the original tenancy agreement that you'll also have the chance to agree to. This helps to set the boundaries from day one and it includes things such as clauses that deny the tenant the right to bring any extra pets on the property (apart from those originally applied with). You won't be seeing that tabby cat turn into a family of pitbulls under our watch.
Each situation is different and we can't make blanket statements on such a broad subject but we've certainly seen great success for both landlords and tenants when communication and trust is established in a pet-friendly environment, involving an experienced Property Manager.