You’ve just bought an investment property. You can’t wait to place your first tenants and start reaping the rewards of property ownership.
After a short period of advertising, you receive a call from your Property Manager who has a good application to present to you. Awesome! All their references check out great, they have good income to support the rent, and seem to be quality applicants.
But then you are told that they have a pet dog.
What do you do???
One of our most commonly asked questions is ‘should I allow tenants to keep pets at my property?’
It’s a difficult question, because there is no ‘right’ answer. In fact, the allowance of pets is one of the very few ways in which a property owner can legally discriminate against tenants (with the exception of service animals, such as a seeing eye dog).
According to the Australian Veterinary Association, Australia has one of the highest pet ownership rates anywhere in the world, with 62% of Australians owning a pet of some sort. It’s no surprise that dogs top the list as the most common household pet, with 2 out of every 5 households owning a dog. A distant second are cats, owned by 3 in 10 households.
So, what does this mean for you as a property owner, trying to decide if you’ll allow pets?
Firstly, not all properties are equipped to house pets. However, if your property has a decent sized, fully fenced yard, you are potentially ruling out more than half of your potential tenants if you choose to not allow pets.
Another consideration to make is that our population is aging, and companion animals will become even more important. Studies show that the number of pets in Australia has grown steadily over the last 5 years, which is not a bad thing. Pets are good for us, and important parts of our families. As peculiar as it may seem at times, nearly half of Australia’s pet owners consider their pet to be their child (or ‘fur baby’). Thus, restricting whether or not a pet is allowed at your property (so long as the property is suitably provisioned), is likely to have a major impact on your property’s rental appeal.
The reality is that you can determine if a pet is going to be well-behaved by looking at their owners. Our experience shows that a good tenant who has a history of keeping properties in excellent condition will have an equally well-behaved pet.
Careful reference checks before approving tenants in your property is one way that we work to minimise any potential damage that pets may cause. Furthermore, our lease agreements are worded to ensure that pets are kept outside at all times. Any breach of these terms gives us legal recourse should we need to take action against the tenants.