Renting With Pets

With around two-thirds of Australian households owning a pet, there are plenty of tenants out there looking for pet-friendly accommodation – a tough ask, but one that Schrags Bribie Island First National says can be overcome by being responsible.

“Landlords aren’t out to rid the world of pets, they just want to know that you are a responsible pet owner that will respect their concerns, and their property,” Lyn Petrohilos, Schrags Bribie Island First National, said.

“Responsible pet owners make excellent long-term tenants and tend to abide by the housing rules, because they know it can be difficult to find animal-friendly accommodation elsewhere and want to avoid the difficulty of having to look for it.

“So, they will go to greater lengths to look after the property and keep their landlords happy.”

According to Lyn there are a few tips pet owning tenants can keep in mind to show a prospective landlord their properties will be in safe hands.

·         Be a good neighbour.  Provide your pet with plenty of attention and exercise, so that its physical and social needs are being met.  By doing so, you will cut down on nuisance barking, one of the most common complaints of neighbours.  Clean up after your pet, preventing not just a messy smelly yard, but also a serious health issue.  Consider enrolling in obedience training and grooming.  Nothing says ‘responsible’ to a landlord and neighbour better than a well-behaved well-groomed pet.

·         Honesty.  Do not try to sneak your pet into a ‘no pets allowed’ property and do not misrepresent your pet’s breed.  Some pet friendly properties restrict certain breeds or have weight limits or restrict the number of pets allowed.  If you are not completely honest with your landlord and get caught, this just makes landlords more hesitant to rent to pet owners.  Remember, this may not just be your landlord’s rules, some municipalities have Breed Specific Legislation or Pet Limit Laws. Check with the local Council.

·         Show goodwill.  Write up a Sample Contract to present to your potential landlord stating that you agree to abide by all of the property rules including cleaning up after your pet, keeping your pet secure and supervised at all times, ensuring your pet is friendly and approachable to neighbours and to keep your pet  vaccinated and free of fleas, ticks and parasites.  If it is not in your rental agreement, offer your landlord a pet deposit to make it perfectly clear that you are responsible for any damage to the property caused buy your pet.  This will not only make a lasting impression, but show your landlord that you are serious about renting and that you will care for the property.

Landlords should also keeping in mind that a well-managed, pet-friendly rental offer can help improve their returns, broaden the pool of prospective tenants and also promote a sense of tenant safety and security.

“Responsible pet owners make excellent tenants because caring for pets takes as much, or more, effort and responsibility as caring for where we live,” Lyn said.

“What’s important for the landlord is to have a clear set of guidelines on keeping pets on the property.”