Should I Rent My Property to Tenants with Pets?

May 1, 2017

When we meet with new clients, one of the questions we ask our landlords is: “will you rent to tenants with pets?” Many new landlords are reluctant to allow pets to live in their rental property, imagining the worst-case scenarios. While the potential for property damage is higher when pets are present, there are many reasons why allowing pets can be hugely beneficial. In today’s post, I’ll discuss the benefits of allowing tenants with pets and give you some pointers to help minimise your risk.

Benefits of renting to pet owners

There are a few key reasons why you should consider renting your property to pet owners. These include:

  • Bigger tenant pool - When you open your property to pets, you’ll have a larger pool of tenants to choose from. With nearly 50% of tenants owning some type of pet, there is certainly no shortage of people looking for pet-friendly properties.
  • Keep your tenants for longer – Pet owners know that it is more difficult to find rental accommodation that will accept their pet, so they tend to stay longer in rental properties than non-pet owners.
  • Charge more rent – If there are few properties that rent to pet owners in your area, you may be able to charge slightly higher rents.
  • Responsible tenants – Owning a pet is a lot of responsibility. If someone is mature enough to responsibly care for their animal, then they are more likely to be responsible when it comes to caring for their rental home.

 

Renting to pet owners

It’s natural for landlords to be reluctant to rent to pet owners, but if you take the time to carefully screen your tenants and set clear expectations, the decision to allow pets in your rental property can work out well for you in the long run. The following outlines our recommendations for renting to pet owners.

  1. Ensure you have a pet friendly home and then market these features. For example, you may install a cat door or high fencing on the property to keep pets safe and comfortable. If you have done these things, be sure to highlight them in your rental listing.
  2. Specify the type of pets you’re willing to take. You’ll need to take the size of your property into consideration when making this decision. State the types of pets you will accept in your rental listing.
  3. Get to know prospective tenants and their pets. When you meet with pet owners, ask additional questions about their pet. For example, you’ll want to know whether the animal primarily lives indoors or out. For dogs, knowing the breed of the dog will help you understand the pet’s energy levels and potential for causing a nuisance to neighbours or damaging your property.
  4. Add a pet clause to the tenancy agreement. At First Avenue Property, our tenancy agreements contain an additional section pertaining to pets when we rent to pet owners. This goes over the expectations for the pet owner and responsibilities should an incident occur.
  5. Plan for regular inspections. You should be doing this anyway, but it’s especially important for properties where pets are present. If you notice any pet-related problems during an inspection, make your tenant aware immediately so they have the chance to rectify the problem.
  6. Ask for four weeks rent for the bond. New Zealand law permits landlords to ask for up to four weeks rent for the security bond. While many landlords ask for less, we think it’s a good idea to request the full amount if pets are present. This helps ensure that there will be enough money available to deal with any damage after the tenants move out.

Get our help 

At the end of the day, the decision to allow pets in your rental property is a very personal one. We can see many benefits for allowing pets, but we also understand hesitance about accepting animals. If you’re unsure about which scenario is right for you, we encourage you to contact us today. One of our experienced property managers will take time to speak with you about potentially accepting pets and help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

 

Photos

Walking my owner by Pedro Ribeiro Simões, CC BY 2.0

Dreams of a house-cat by  Bridget Leyendecker, CC BY 2.0

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