Many investors have faced this hairy dilemma, should you allow pets in your investment property? Otherwise, you could be missing out on revenue and great tenants. Long with the plague of COVID-19 came a veritable pet pandemic, with households adopting an estimated 1 million additional dogs, cats, reptiles and fish for the coronavirus society.
For investors, this has brought a whole new urgency to the question of whether or not they should allow tenants to keep animals in their homes and apartments.
Some worry that pet sizes may be inappropriate for the property, that dogs or cats may damage fixtures and fittings, or that subsequent tenants may object to a home that was once a fur cushion.
“Allowing pets to live in investment properties is a huge benefit for investors, as pet owners are often looking for longer rental options,” says Nadia Crighton, spokesperson for Pet Insurance Australia.
“There is also a safety benefit as they tend to spend a lot more time at home and dogs can deter criminal behavior around your property.
“You will also have a lot more applicants for your property,” she adds. “Australia has one of the highest pet populations in the world with over 30.4 million pets – 6.3 million dogs and around 4.9 million cats – it is a lot of people…to exclude from your potential rental pool.”
According to Animal Medicines Australia, three out of five households, or 5.9 million, have a pet, while 67% of the Australian population owns a cat or dog.
According to Tim Mumford, partner at Sydney agency Stone Real Estate Manly, many apartment buildings are becoming pets. It may therefore be more difficult for an investor to refuse animals.
“Also, the difference between the rent for a house or apartment that allows pets and one that doesn’t can be about 10 percent,” Mumford says. “It is a significant sum.
“It’s more important to look carefully at a tenant’s history and find out if they pay their rent on time and how well they have looked after other properties in the past.
“Some people with pets, we’ve found, make better tenants than those without.”
Either way, it’s always a good idea to have homeowner’s insurance – and some policies include pet damage insurance, says Laura Moody, learning and development manager at Melbourne Real Estate.
“There are a lot more pets since COVID, and there hasn’t been an increase in insurance claims for damage caused by pets,” she says. “We just find that there are always a lot more rental inquiries when a property is advertised as pet-friendly.
“And the difference in the time it takes to rent a property can be three to four weeks.”
Crighton also suggests investors ask for a pet resume and even pet references to verify that they are well-behaved and well-behaved. “Or build clauses into the rental agreement, like cleaning the carpets when they leave,” she says.
“With the lack of pet-friendly rentals, many desperate pet owners are also lying about their beloved pets, so it’s best to have transparency and know what’s going on. “