Pros and Cons of Allowing Pets
My name is Russell and I’ve been a tenant for just over 17 years now and I’ve been asked to write to you on a subject very near and dear to me: allowing tenants to keep pets.
This topic seems almost taboo for many landlords and property managers I’ve dealt with in the past, the thought of allowing someone to have a pet is seemingly absurd.
The fears and concerns associated with allowing pets in a rental property are certainly valid, however whether you already have a rental property or if you’re thinking of getting into the market, here are some things to consider.
Larger prospective tenant pool: Properties advertised as being pet-friendly can receive up to twice as many enquiries compared to those with a strict “no pets” policy. Subsequently, this means more applications. This gives your property manager a much more competitive pool to select from, allowing them to choose the best of tenants for your property.
Longer tenancy: Once a pet owner secures a home for themselves and their furred or feathered family, they tend to be more settled and stay longer. The resulting lower turnover also creates a more consistent rental income for the owner. In the unlikely event that tenants do have to vacate, the increased demand usually results in shorter vacancy periods, ensuring a steady cash flow from rent payments.
Responsible pet owners = Responsible tenants: If I am mature enough to take good care of an animal, there is a good chance I will treat your property with the same respect. Pet owners will often have struggled to find a rental property that allows pets and so will generally do what they can to ensure that the landlord will continue to allow pets.
The bottom dollar: Tenants with pets are often willing to pay more to secure a property that fits their needs. This is often in the form of, purely and simply, a higher rental price. Money often goes a long way to assuaging the fears of a tenant having pets.
No need to hide the dog bed: Occasionally, when a landlord won’t allow pets, some tenants I know have resorted to sneaking them in and hiding their toys and other items during an inspection. It is better to have an open and honest relationship with your tenants. If your tenants are uncomfortable enough to start hiding a pet, what else may they start hiding from you?
Damage to the property: This is the biggest fear that often prevents a property owner from allowing tenants to have pets. Whether that be digging in the yard, scratching floorboards, chewing carpet, or even damaging paintwork, these are concerns that are certainly reasonable. Pet owners understand the risks and are often more than happy to pay for ongoing maintenance costs if such issues arise. At the end of a tenancy, tenants are responsible to repair any damage a pet causes, in the same way that they are responsible for any damage they have caused themselves.
Animals make noise: A guard dog can be an invaluable asset when it comes to protecting your family, however if the guard dog considers every person walking past or every car driving by a potential threat, then your neighbours may not enjoy being constantly informed of all these threats randomly during the day and night. Property managers can, during reference checks, find out if the prospective tenants pet has been overly disruptive in the past.
Odours: Yes, it is a fact of life that some animals smell, certainly some worse than others and it can be difficult to get rid of these odours if a tenant was to vacate the property. Pet owners appreciate the risks associated with owning a pet and will do what they can to ensure a clean property. They want the best referral they can get when applying for another property.
We know the risks, we know animals can be unpredictable and that you’ve worked hard to become a property investor. You’d rather not constantly be repairing bits and pieces through the house and by placing a responsible pet owner in your property, you won’t have to. Additionally, there is always a bond that is collected for the very purpose of any repairs if necessary.
One final point before I go, have you ever encountered a toddler left to their own devices for 5 minutes?