Many landlords automatically dismiss tenants with pets. They would prefer not to deal with the potential wear-and-tear issues, including damage to carpets, smells and scratches. Dogs, especially can leave smells, dig up gardens and annoy neighbours.
It might, though, be worth thinking beyond the potential damage. Here are some reasons to consider allowing pets:
1. You’ll widen the potential tenant pool. Around two thirds of Australians own pets. If you don’t allow pets, you’re competing for only one third of the tenant pool. If you do accept animals, you’ll have more tenants to choose from and your vacancy times may well drop as a result.
2. Your tenants may actually stay longer. Because it’s difficult to find a property that accepts pets, your pet-loving tenants may stay with you longer than your animal-free tenants.
3. Your tenants may be happier. Many people also feel more secure with a dog in the house or yard.
If you do decide to allow pets, consider:
- Asking to see (or having your property manager ask to see) the pet before you sign the lease. Check out how the dog behaves and how the owner manages the pet. Ask to see its medical and vaccination certificates.
- Asking referees about the pets. Did former landlords have problems? Was there damage? Did the neighbours ever complain?
- Putting pet-specific conditions in the lease. For example, clearly state where dogs can be housed.
- Checking with your insurers. Some require pets to be disclosed. Check whether damage from pets will be covered.
- Making your property pet-friendly. Do you have shade and appropriate fencing?
- Advertising. Let prospective tenants know you’re pet-friendly. Put up fliers at local vets’ clinics and dog clubs.
Note that Victoria does not allow you to ask for a pet bond or deposit.