Benefits of making your rental property pet-friendly
In Australia, it’s fair to say that we love our pets, with over two-thirds of households now including a furry family member. From 2019 to 2021 pet ownership rates increased significantly – from 61% of households to 69% – led by a surge in dog ownership during the pandemic.
This boom in pet parenting in turn increased demand for pet-friendly rental properties across the country. But while some states have made it easier for tenants to rent with a fur baby in tow, in many areas it can still prove challenging to find a rental that accepts pets.
Given this, if you are an investor there are plenty of benefits to be gained by making your rental property pet-friendly - ranging from attracting a larger pool of long-term and reliable tenants to reducing the risk of animals being surrendered to animal shelters. In this article, we outline the main advantages of accepting tenants with pets, along with some key considerations when allowing four-legged occupants.
Advantages of pet-friendly rentals
More applications & quicker lease times
Due to their being in short supply, pet-friendly properties usually attract a lot of applications and in turn, can rent faster. Landlords get a large pool of potential candidates to choose from, increasing the chances of finding someone suitable and renting the property in a shorter time frame.
Pet owners make great long-term tenants
Pet owners understand the difficulty of finding a suitable home with a pet in tow, and generally look for longer rather than short-term leases as a result. To avoid having to find a new place and move again, which can also disrupt their pet, responsible pet owners are known for abiding by the rules and maintaining their rentals to a high standard.
This is a win-win for both parties, as longer leases also avoid the hassle of finding new tenants while reducing advertising and vacancy costs for landlords.
You may receive a higher rent
In areas with a high demand for pet-friendly rentals, being open to accommodating tenants with pets in tow may allow you to achieve a higher rent compared to similar competing properties that don’t allow pets, particularly if your home ticks pet owners’ boxes by having a good-sized fenced backyard and being away from a busy road for example.
Considerations when allowing pets in a rental property
You generally won’t need to make major alterations to make your property pet-friendly, but it’s worth considering floor surfaces before allowing pets, especially if you will be renovating an investment property before putting it on the market.
Tiled floors are ideal as they are highly durable, scratch-resistant and easy to clean. Floorboards are similarly easy to clean but can potentially become scratched, while if your property has carpets you may want to stipulate that professional cleaning and pest treatments are carried out before the tenant vacates.
Homes with outdoor areas appeal to pet owners, especially if they are fully fenced. A cat flap or doggy door giving animals easy access to outdoor areas is a useful addition in properties advertised as pet-friendly, but landlords are not obliged to include one.
Small properties can also suit pets
It’s not just standard houses on quarter-acre blocks that suit pets, smaller properties without large backyards such as a unit or townhouse can suit cats, small dogs or even larger non-energetic dogs like a greyhound or basset hound for example.
Add a ‘pet clause’ in the tenancy agreement
To clarify the responsibilities of tenants living in your property with pets, it can be a good idea to include a ‘pet clause’ in your tenancy agreement stipulating the tenant:
- Pays for any damage caused by the pet
- Responds to any complaints about the pet
- Removes faeces from lawns and gardens
- Organises and pays for professional carpet cleaning and/or pest treatments before vacating the property
Request a ‘pet resume’
Before accepting any fur tenants you can request to first see the animal’s 'pet resume'. This gives an overview of everything you need to know about the pet which can include the pet’s photo, breed, age, size, temperament, vaccination and microchip details along with a reference from a previous landlord and/or vet.
Make sure you’re insured
If you decide to make your property pet-friendly check your landlord’s insurance policy to ensure you are appropriately covered for any damage caused by a pet living in the property, and any exclusions or limitations to your coverage.
Give yourself options
If you are not sure about allowing a pet or only want certain types of pets in your property, then advertise the property stating ‘pets considered on application’. This allows you to consider a pet on a case-by-case basis and means you are not obliged to accept one.