For many Aussies, a house is not a home without a furry companion. In fact, more than 62 per cent of households own at least one pet – and 59 per cent of people who don’t currently have one, want one!
With around one-third of all households renting, there is high demand for pet-friendly accommodation. According to rent.com.au, more than one-third of renters are looking for a home for themselves and their fur babies. Yet many landlords and property managers (PM) are hesitant about allowing pets in investment properties. It is estimated that less than 10 per cent of rentals accept tenants with pets.
So does the fear of damage pets might cause mean landlords miss out? It is well documented that having a pet can have positive outcomes for owners including physical and mental health benefits. With happier and healthier tenants, this could mean less problems and financial hiccups for landlords and PMs.
Other benefits of allowing pets in investment properties include:
- Increased prospective tenant pool – with more applicants, the landlord/PM can be very selective and choose the best tenants.
- Competitive advantage over those who have ‘no pets’ policies (especially in inner city locations where there are fewer pet-friendly properties on offer). Pet-friendly rentals can often receive up to twice as many enquiries.
- Properties are highly sought-after and rent quickly – reducing time and costs of advertising.
- Short vacancy periods due to high demand – limiting pauses in cash flow.
- Higher rents could be realised due to short supply and strong demand. According to the Australian Companion Animals Council, pet owners are willing to pay up to 14 per cent more rent for a pet-friendly property.
- Longer lease terms – tenants tend to stay longer due to the difficulty of finding another pet-friendly property.
- Lower turnover – tenants staying put means steady rental income for the landlord.
- Better upkeep – tenants who feel ‘at home’ are more likely to look after the property and may be willing to improve the home at their own expense.
- Responsible pet owners make excellent tenants who adhere to housing rules.
- Safety and security – the presence of a dog at a property reduces the chances of it being burgled.
Ready to go ‘pets-allowed’? Help safeguard the investment by adding an addendum (pet clause) to the rental agreement to include:
- A specific pet agreement detailing how the renter and their pets will respect the property, what to do if there is a problem with the pets and what will happen if the pets damage the property or causes a nuisance.
- Detail on what types and how many pets are allowed, and where they are housed at the property.
- A requirement for professional cleaning after the renter and pet vacate the premises.
- References from previous landlords and personal references that indicate the tenant is a responsible pet owner and there have not been any previous incidents involving their pet.
- The addition of a pet bond to cover any potential damage or clean-up costs (if this is permitted in your state/territory) or additional maintenance fees.
While responsible owners would ‘make good’ on any damage caused by the four-legged occupants, there will always be some who don’t do the right thing.
At EBM RentCover we aim to be leaders in landlord insurance. How? By doing right by you. And this is why our RentCover Ultra, RentCover Platinum and RentCover ShortTerm policies provide up to $65,000 in cover for pet damage. So, while you can never really be certain your investment is secure, you can be certain we’ll be there in times of need.
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