Recent Home Living Property Culture The Team North Shore Living
Recent Home Living Property Culture The Team North Shore Living

Leasing your North Shore property to a pet owner

Written by Matthew Bourn
If you own an investment property on the north shore or anywhere else, having it tenanted is a priority.

The best tenants are clean, responsible, quiet and on time with the rent. They are loyal… but they don’t scratch the doors or chew on the furniture!

Of course, your human tenants aren’t likely to engage in this type of behaviour; it is animal residents who can be destructive without regard for the value of the property they are in. With this in mind, should you allow a tenant to have animal company?

Rules about pets in rental properties in NSW

As the landlord, it is your right to include a clause restricting pets in your residential tenancy agreement. The Department of Fair Trading’s standard lease agreement has an additional clause re pets that you can cross out if it isn’t applicable. It is worth noting that The Tenants’ Union believes that a restriction clause on pets is a breach of your tenants’ reasonable peace, comfort and privacy; however, this has not been fully tested before a court or tribunal.

Permission doesn’t end with you, however. If your property is in a strata building, there might be by-laws about keeping animals. They might be banned altogether or pet owners might have to request permission in writing. Small dogs and cats might be allowed but big dogs prohibited.

Be clear on your pet guidelines

If you are happy for your tenant to have a pet, there are ways to avoid ending up with a damages bill.

For example, make it clear in your terms that the owner is responsible for any scratches or stains caused by the animal. You might also request your tenant pay for a regular steam cleaning of the carpets in the property.

Set expectations about how often droppings are cleared from the garden and how they are disposed of. You could include a clause about noise complaints: if the neighbours are fed up with a noisy dog, it has to go.

Vetting pets

Just as tenants are interviewed and provide references, you can assess a pet’s suitability to reside in your property.

‘Doggie resumes’ include references from past neighbours and vets. Your property manager can request to meet with the animal. It is generally easy to determine if a dog is uncontrollable or likely to wreak havoc. It could be an idea to request a photo of the dog or cat so it can be checked later if the same animal is still residing on the property.

Puppies, while cute, tend to be highly destructive without supervision. Find out how old the pet is and how likely it is to be left at home for long hours. These factors can make a difference to the way your property survives having a pet in residence.

If your property backs onto a nature reserve, think twice about allowing cats or request your tenants keep their pet indoors so it doesn’t cause a disturbance by killing wildlife.

Pros and cons of allowing pets

Being pet friendly might help you secure a longer-term tenant who is willing to pay a premium. Pet owners do tend to be more ‘settled’ and stay longer with pets, as its a bigger upheaval to find another pet friendly landlord.

On the other hand, wear and tear could be a factor if pets live in your investment property. They can make the place smell, shed hair that is hard to get rid of and have ‘accidents’ that stain your carpet.

Some landlords request a ‘pet deposit’ in addition to the bond. This is kept aside with the tenants’ agreement that they will forfeit money in the event of damages.

If you have a good property manager, they will take photos of your property before the tenant and their dog or cat make it their home. This will make it easier to confirm whether the pet has caused issues which will cost money to fix.

Need help leasing out your North Shore rental home? We’re here to help.

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