Interestingly though, despite the fact that research shows that many people are willing to pay more for a pet-friendly property, are more likely to stay in their rental for longer and that pet-friendly rentals generally rent faster, many landlords choose not to promote their properties as pet-friendly.
If you own a rental property and are considering whether you should be letting it to tenants who have furry friends, here are some of the important things to remember:
If your property is part of a strata or community title, then it is imperative to check if pets are allowed on the property in terms of the corporation's Bylaws. If pets aren't permitted or if there are restrictions on the type of pet allowed, you may be able to ask the body corporate to make an exception - but that process has to be completed before you make any commitment to a tenant with pets.
Western Australia is the only state which requires payment of a pet bond or pet deposit. According to the WA Department of Commerce, a pet bond may be charged if a tenant is permitted to keep pets capable of carrying parasites which can affect humans. The pet bond must be no more than $260 (unless the weekly rent is more than an amount set by regulation) but tenants must not be charged a pet bond for an assistance dog (e.g. guide dog). For more details on the pet bond, visit the Department's website.
Property owners or property managers can draw up a pet policy to be signed by themselves and the tenant. This agreement can be tailored to the specific property type (e.g. apartment) and can include any specific procedures that tenants need to follow, such as a stipulation that the pet can only stay outside or isn't allowed into certain areas of the home. The agreement can also cover a landlord's specific requirements in terms of the tenant keeping the property free from pet waste, odours and pet hair. Stipulations in terms of noise from pets (e.g. dogs barking), pet's behaviour, damage to the property caused by the pet and keeping the peace with neighbours can also be included.
Landlords should also be aware that the inclusion of pets on a property may affect their insurance cover. Not all policies cover damage caused by domestic pets - so it is important to check with your insurer before making any commitment.
Australia is a nation of pet-lovers and there's little doubt that landlords can expand their pool of possible tenants and increase their rental income by making their properties pet-friendly. What's more, with rental yields at record lows and supply outstripping demand, landlords who are amenable to tenants with pets may well be at an advantage.
There are also plenty of resources available to landlords as to how they can prepare for pets in their investment properties, notably the guidelines put out by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) in conjunction with the Australian Companion Animal Council and the information contained on the website of the Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC).
If you are considering making your investment property pet-friendly and need some professional advice as to how to best go about it, give our property management professionals at Time Conti Sheffield a call. We have been at the forefront of real estate and property management in Perth for 60 years and will have all the answers and advice for landlords on renting to pet owners. Visit our website, www.timecontisheffield.com.au or call their 24-hour telephone number, 08 9362 5333.