Should You Allow Pets in Your Rental Property?
Property investors and landlords across Western Australia face a lot of difficult decisions. There is a delicate balancing act between maximising a property’s potential and minimising the potential for damage. One question looms large in the minds of most property owners:
Should I allow pets in my rental property?
The upside is demand for pet-friendly property is high because supply remains limited. According to rent.com.au, only 10% of properties nationally advertise as being pet friendly. Conversely, a risk of allowing pets on a rental property is of course the potential damage.
However, dismissing pets outright can be a costly move for property investors, owners and landlords.
Let’s consider the pros and cons.
The case for allowing pets on your rental property
People with pets are willing to pay more in rent. According to a report from Animal Medicines Australia, 31 per cent of pet owners would be willing to pay higher rents or fees to secure a property. Just how much more does vary with research showing it to be anywhere from between 7 to 14 per cent in most cases.
Simply finding a pet-friendly property can be a major challenge for renters and explains why they’re willing to pay more. Only 25 per cent of properties listed on Rent.com.au specify ‘pets allowed’. Renters with pets may even stay in one place longer to avoid the headache of finding another property.
Finally, property investors and landlords are protected to a certain extent.
Western Australia is the only state that allows landlords to ask for a pet bond. This bond can be up to $260 and may be used for fumigation at the end of the lease. This is in addition to the rental bond which is for use in the case of damage, including from pets.
The downside of allowing pets on your rental property
As previously mentioned, pets can cause damage or increased wear and tear to a property. There is also the potential for noise, which can lead to issues with neighbours and unwanted disputes. The good news is that risks can be mitigated, including through Landlord Insurance which may specify damage from pets.
How to screen pet owners
Screening a pet owner, much like screening any other tenant, can provide property investors and landlords with greater peace of mind. First, request ‘pet references’ or ‘letters of recommendation’ from previous landlords or neighbours.
It’s also a good idea to ask for photos and/or videos of the pet and the house it has been living in that clearly indicates the condition of the property.
When you speak with a potential tenant, be sure to ask them the following questions about their pet:
- Has it been spayed or neutered?
- Has it caused any previous complaints?
- Does it get along well with people?
- Is it housebroken?
- Has it lived in similar-sized accommodation?
- Does it have any medical conditions?
Key considerations to make
There are a few things you need to consider before allowing pets on a rental property. For starters, think about including a “pets considered” clause in your advertisement as opposed to a “pets permitted” clause to ensure you can screen prospective tenants. During the process, be sure to understand that personal circumstances will always be different.
Animals have the capacity to cause damage even if under the watch of extremely conscientious pet owners. They can ruin landscaping, scratch up doors, leave stains and destroy flooring. Accidents can happen no matter how responsible tenants are.
It is vital to consider landlord insurance policies and if they cover damage done by domestic pets as some may exclude this. Carefully check your policy to ensure you’re covered in the event you need to repair damage caused by pets.
Change may be coming
The Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (WA) is currently under review. It has been more than ten years since this was looked at and there may be changes that impact pets and tenancies. No timeline has been provided on when the findings will be published. We’ll continue to monitor for the outcomes of this review.
Should I allow pets on my rental property?
It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons and make a decision based on your goals for your investment property. Don’t feel as if you have to make this decision alone.
If you’re a landlord or property owner in Perth thinking about allowing pets on your rental property, get in touch with HERE to discuss how we can help you maximise the property’s potential while minimising risk with an approach tailored to you and your goals.