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Puurrrfect for pets?

By Shannon Callanan

With higher than average rental vacancies across Australia, now might be the time to widen your appeal by allowing a pet.

While changes to legislation over the past few years have clarified many of the grey areas in property management, the issue of pets is still not well regulated in comparison.

According to the Australian Veterinary Association, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with approximately 63% of people in Australia owning a pet. But a quick search on realestate.com.au you’ll see there’s few pet friendly properties available – approximately 10% of homes advertised according to the “Rent with Pets’ website.

Responsible pet owners usually also make great tenants. They value having a property where they can keep their beloved pet, therefore will likely be longer term tenants minimising wear and tear on moving in and out and they will usually pay a premium rent as well as care for the property.

So why the aversion from Landlords? Firstly, in some states like us here in Victoria, Landlords can’t take a ‘pet bond’ as it is illegal according to Consumer Affairs Victoria. We believe if more Landlords were able to take a pet bond, more would allow pets. The minimum bond which is usually around 4 weeks can be ‘chewed’ up pretty quickly if there’s pet damage. But on the plus side there are Landlord Protection Insurance out there now which allow for pet damage.

So how can you protect yourself if you were considering advertising a property with a pet? There’s a few things you can do:

Stipulate what type of pet, age of pet and whether the pet can be inside or out. (Not all tenants have dog and cats, the next most popular pets are birds and fish). The lease should clearly state the animals name, age and breed. You don’t want Daisy the Poodle who was listed as “one dog” on the lease to turn into Wally the Wolfhound somewhere during the term of the lease, and have no recourse against the tenant.

Request pet references from previous Agents/ Landlords covering such items as how long the pet was in the property, any damages caused or noise disturbances for neighbours just to name a few. Stipulate conditions relating to the pet on your tenancy agreement, for example, ensuring a flea control is completed upon tenant vacating ad repair lawns and gardens. As a client of Ray White Warrnambool, we automatically cover these items for you in the tenancy agreement.

If your property is part of a Body Corporate/ Owners Corporation, it’s usually written in the Body Corporate rules that a pet must be approved by the Body Corporate prior to moving in, therefore it’s important to seek approval before advertising the property.

If your property is struggling to find new tenants, widening your audience might be something to consider now.

If you would like more information regarding pets in properties feel free to contact myself today on 0413 050 606 or email shannon.callanan@raywhite.com. 

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