Pet-ty claims

Novelty CatConsidering going ‘pet friendly’? The risk of damage might not be as big as you think.

Australians have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, encouraging strong debate about whether or not it is good idea to allow pets into rentals. Landlords who are considering opening up their market by going ‘pet friendly’ can take comfort from the latest RentCover claims statistics.
Since introducing pet damage cover in February this year, we’ve received one claim – and that was more to do with an irresponsible owner than a bad pet.
After vacating the property owing unpaid rent, it was discovered that the tenant’s dog (which was noted on the lease agreement) had caused damage inside the home. Destroyed carpets and scratched skirting boards in the bedroom where (it is suspected) the dog was locked in while the owner was out, resulted in a pet damage claim totalling $5,500. A further $3,500 for loss of rent was also paid.
Despite this one claim, two-legged occupants of rentals are responsible for the vast majority of accidental – and all malicious – damage. Between January and June this year, some $6,000,000 worth of tenant-related damage claims were made.
One claim for malicious damage was settled for $14,750 after a tenant took their anger at being given an eviction notice out on the property. The tenant fell into arrears, prompting the agent to issue a termination notice. Having received the notice, the tenant not only ceased caring for the home but deliberately inflicted damage. When possession was returned to the agent/owner there were holes in all the internal doors and in the majority of the walls, stained and cut up carpets and the kitchen cabinet doors had been wrenched off. 
Both claims highlight how important it is to be diligent when reviewing potential tenants. Reference checks on both two-legged and furry occupants are a must. A call to the former landlord or PM to get a feel for both the tenant and their fur babies is often a good start, while more in-depth investigations should also be carried out. Résumés for both human and canine/feline potential tenants are becoming common and can provide key information to determine the tenants’ suitability. Meeting all the potential occupants before a lease is signed can also help to highlight any ‘red flags’. 
Vetting potential tenants carefully may not be fool-proof, but it can help to mitigate risks and allay any concerns. And of course, knowing that a landlord’s investment is protected with up to $65,000 in pet damage cover should the worse happen provides a great deal of comfort too.
Our advice about insurance is provided for your general information and does not take into account your individual needs.  You should read the Product Disclosure Statement and Policy Wording prior to making a decision, these can be obtained directly from EBM.