Should you allow pets in your investment?

The idea of allowing pets to live in your rental property may send a shiver up the spine of some rental providers… What if a noisy bark upsets the neighbours? What if a cat scratches the door? What if a pet … makes a mess in the property? There’s lots to think about, and it may seem easier to decline any application that comes through with a pet.

However, with more and more people owning pets today, especially dogs – some people treat their pets like their children, while others also see them as family – you may miss out on quality tenants if you don’t allow pets so this can cause quite the conundrum! In this article, we share the key upsides and downsides of allowing pets at your investment property.

Attract more tenants

Statistically – around 90 per cent of Australian households have had a pet at some time. To add to this – throughout the various stages of COVID lockdowns and restrictions on movement / working from home, getting a furry friend became very popular. Everyone was staying home more, and pets provide great company! With pet ownership continuing to be popular, allowing pets at your property will naturally open you up to a larger pool of tenants when your property is available for rent.

Think of the key benefits

Many pet owners have been refused a rental property because they have a furry friend, whether the pet is well behaved or not. While some pets out there are not ideal renters, a responsible tenant will likely be a responsible pet owner, so you can be assured that you’ll attract some quality renters. Further, with pet-friendly properties still in short supply around Australia, making your property pet-friendly may help it rent faster. You can even ask potential renters for a “pet resume” to make sure you have all the details before deciding.

Weigh up the pros and cons while protecting your property

While making your property pet friendly has the potential to attract more potential renters, there are some downsides to manage. Firstly, pets may damage a property through chewing, digging and leaving stains on carpets. To protect your property, make sure your property manager does their due diligence to check that the furry friend is well behaved. They can do this through social media checks and of course, by talking to their previous property manager / rental reference. You may also consider updating your fencing to be extra secure and change floor coverings from carpet to tiles or laminate to reduce the risk of stains (this helps with people / children created stains as well!). Setting clear guidelines from the start is also important, so the renter knows what will happen if the pet is too noisy or damages the property.

Another thing to look into is whether or not your landlord insurance covers pet damage. Some of the better quality polices now do!

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you probably know the joy it brings to your life. Current and potential renters are likely to be much the same. If you allow pets in your property while protecting yourself as best you can, you can attract more prospective tenants to your investment, and potentially have these renters become long-term residents. It’s certainly worth considering, especially once you have the right precautions in place.

The legislation in Victoria

Another thing to remember in Victoria, is that tenants are allowed to have pets. So what does this mean for Landlords? Well, a few things. If you have a tenant in your property already, and they submit an application for a pet, then the onus is on the owner to make an application to VCAT for permission to have the pet declined. This is quite a process which is best discussed direct with your property manager as there are a number of factors specific to each case you’ll need to take into consideration.

When approving applicants – as the rental provider, of course you can choose which applicant suits your investment best. You only have one investment to lease (generally speaking) so when there is more than one applicant, choosing the right application for you then leads to declining all other applicants.

We recommend reaching out to us to have a chat if you are not sure what to do when it comes to pets and your investment! Otherwise, we hope you end up with quality long term tenants!

Remember, this article does not constitute financial or legal advice. Please consult your professional financial and legal advisors before making any decisions for yourself.