Furry Friends can make the best tenants

Tuesday 30 Oct 2018

We know not all pet owners are perfect, but experience shows that many families with pets are excellent tenants who are often willing to pay a small amount more, to accommodate their furry friends. Also, growing up with pets teaches children responsibility as well as providing companionship, love and a great motivator to exercise, which in a world with an increasing focus on digital entertainment, is vital. ‘’I cannot express how important it is for pets to be allowed in more rental properties, I have a small dog called Lilly who is so precious to me that I would never let her go. She is my best friend and means the world to me, but I find it hard to find rentals because of her. If more properties allowed dogs it would take a great stress off people looking for a home, just because I own a dog doesn’t make me a bad tenant, so allowing pets can make a big difference to people like me.’’ Belinda and Lilly, Tenants, First National Cairns Central. At First National, our message is to assess every instance on merit when it comes to pets, and not generalise. As a Landlord, nobody wants their property to be damaged by animals, so it is often simpler just to put a blanket ban on pets. Of course, if your property is not suitable such as a small apartment, or a home which doesn’t have a fenced yard or has other non-pet friendly aspects, that would preclude you from accepting applications from people who have animals. Current legislation in Queensland requires tenants to get written permission included in their tenancy agreement to have a pet. This typically ensures they are also responsible for any damage to the property caused during their tenancy and protects the landlord from additional costs. ‘’As pet owners ourselves we believe it is only fair to allow others the privilege of having access to rentals that allow animals. We were once the people looking for rentals that allowed animals and we know how hard it is to find suitable homes, so we agreed that animals to be part of our rental agreement.’’ Ebony, Landlord, First National Cairns Central. Keep in mind that when tenants vacate, the property must be returned in the same condition as it was before they moved in, less fair wear and tear and that also, it must be fumigated at the end of the tenancy. This is particularly important in our humid, tropical environment which can be a haven for ticks, fleas and other pests. Not sure if offering your rental property to pet owners is a wise move? We put together a list to help you decide. 1.It gives you the edge. As the supply of rental properties looks set to increase, so too will the competition between landlords for the best tenants. By widening your pool to include pet owners, you will widen your audience. 2.Longer contracts. People stay longer in pet friendly homes – it’s not easy to find one you love so once you have a great tenant on board, it is less likely they will move. 3.Increase your income. Whilst nobody wants to hold a property to ransom just because you permit applications from pet owners, it could cost more to maintain a property which is occupied by animals. Whilst any damage should be covered in the rental agreement, it is fair to expect the overall maintenance cost for a property which permits pets, to be higher. 4.Better tenants! Pet owners are generally responsible people. Of course there will always be exceptions, but the chances are that your pet owning tenants will go that extra mile to ensure that their furry family don’t put a foot wrong. Ask for proof of up to date vaccinations, certificates of obedience training and a copy of their Council registration (if applicable) and you’ll soon be able to sort the good from the not so good. Do keep in mind that by law, you are not allowed to exclude a tenant whose pet is trained to assist with a disability, such as a guide or assistance dog. 5.Include a ‘pet bond’. First National supports new legislation allowing tenants to lodge an additional bond if they have a pet, to reassure the Landlord. For those tenants out there who are thinking they can pull the fur over their landlord’s eyes and sneak in a pet – think again. As tempting as it may be, you don’t want to get evicted, forfeit your bond or have a ‘black mark’ against your name. Moving your pet in by stealth will result in you instantly breaking your lease, plus your neighbours will probably know if you have a pet and depending on the circumstances, may tell your landlord, which is never going to end well.