Landlords and pets – time to discuss?
PROPERTY is a significant investment and represents an enormous amount of capital for most investor owners, which is why they are highly motivated to protect that investment by banning pets.
The question of allowing pets in a rental property, whether it’s a detached house, townhouse, or an apartment, is one that most landlords don’t dwell on, with the vast majority banning pets.
Dogs and cats can damage a property, and the risk is that they leave a detectable odour in soft furnishings such as curtains and carpets, that is difficult to get rid of.
While the rental market in the southeast corner of the state is classed by the REIQ as tight, areas such as Mackay and Whitsunday, where the impact from the resources downturn is still being felt, are reporting vacancy rates of around 9%
Local agents are reporting to the REIQ that due to the uncertainty around employment
It’s possible that by allowing pets a landlord may attract a more loyal, long-term tenant
tenants are only taking short leases of three to six months, refusing to lock themselves into rental commitments for any longer in case the work dries up and they are forced to move on.
This shift means that tenants are able to negotiate more strongly with landlords about the conditions of their tenancy. And perhaps now is a good time for landlords to consider the option of allowing pets in their properties.
There is data to suggest that more than 63% of Australian households own a pet and about 53% own a dog or a cat. The Pet Information Advisory Service, an organisation focused on supporting socially responsible pet ownership, says only about 10% of Queensland rental properties allow pets. This means there is a significantly large percentage of households either excluded from pet ownership by virtue of the fact that they rent, or who are locked out of the vast majority of rental properties available.
This is an opportunity for landlords to create a unique selling proposition and, by allowing pets, unlock a large section of potential tenants.
A proactive property manager will be able to monitor pet impact on a property and will offer mitigation tips to tenants as condition of rental, to help limit risk of damage. And it’s possible that by allowing pets a landlord may attract a more loyal, long-term tenant.
Those households with pets are likely to move less often and, due to the fact that there are fewer properties that allow pets, be less likely to break leases to move within a town. There is also some suggestion that people with pets are open to paying higher rental amounts, offering some compelling reasons for landlords to reconsider their pet position.