Pet friendly rentals in demand
May 06, 2015 at 7:17 PM
Finding a rental property that will take your pet is almost impossible in Auckland. This was reported in the Herald and stuff.co.nz recently and we see this problem every day.
What can you do if you are a tenant with a pet?
- Ensure you check with the Property Manager or owner (before you meet them at the property), if your pet will be able to come with you? No point wasting everyones time and although this property may not be right, the manager may have other properties that are pet friendly.
- Just as renters CVs have become increasingly popular with savvy tenants, pet CVs are growing in popularity. Include details about your pet, type, breed, age, prior references, grooming (think trimmed claws to protect wooden floors), what happens to the animal when you are at work (doggie daycare?), license, registration and training certificates. I think its a nice idea to include a photograph too.
- Offer to pay 2 weeks rent upfront and 4 weeks bond.
- Consider offering a longer lease. Property owners value security.
What about if you own a rental property?
If you have a rental property, you may consider choosing a tenant who has a pet. This goes against most of the advice out there. Here are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider a pet.
- Pet owners struggle to find rental property and in our experience (and probably due to the difficulty finding properties to take their pets) they stay in their homes longer. That's less lost rent in vacancy and less potential damage from moving furniture in and out of the property.
- Most pet owners are settled and many are families. Owners often ask me how to secure a quality long term tenant or even a family. I suggest they allow animals or at least allow me to present quality applications to them possibly with pets.
- Pets are not normally the problem, its their owners that cause problems. Chances are if your prospective tenant has great references and has taken care of their property in the past, they will likely take good care of their pets. Most of our properties with pets receive a full bond refund at the end of their tenancy.
- Most pets can't do much damage (at least not as much as a human). Lets be honest though, there is always risk in any investment. So what should you be prepared for if you let to a tenant with a pet. Issues you may have include; damage to lawns & gardens, marks from claws (carpet, vinyl, wooden), possible chew marks on door frames and skirting boards, pulls and tears in curtains (especially chiffon). Each of these maintenance items is easily repaired and at the tenants cost.
- Pets rarely do as much damage as children and furniture. Believe us, we do hundreds of bond refunds every year and far fewer are pet issues in comparison.
- Noise and numbers. Now these are the only things you need to be really careful of when considering pets. What does your council accept (Auckland has rule that more than one dog needs neighbours permission) and how do they deal with noise complaints? If you have a very tricky neighbour who has complained in the past about noise, I wouldn't suggest a dog that barks.
- Age. Kittens and puppies (although cute) will cause more damage than mature (and trained) cats and dogs.
- Fish tanks. If it's over 50L consider discussing placement of the tank. Most people think nothing of allowing tenants to have fish. BUT, 50L of water on a multilevel or carpeted property can do some serious damage. We once had a tenant with a fish tank on the ground. A cleaner pulled the vacume cleaner and it smashed in to the side of the tank. The tank cracked and water flooded the entire lower level of a 3 bedroom house. Insurance company was on hand to remove all items from the house, clean the floors and damaged furniture, then dry and replace items.
- Exit. Ensure the tenants flea and deodorise carpets after each tenancy.
So how can you make your property appealing to pet owners?
- Fencing - if your backyard is partially fenced, consider fencing the rest of it (great for families with young children too).
- Discuss pets with your property manager and get their advice.
- A cat door is a great addition. Consider letting the tenant put one in at their own cost if you don't already have one.
Pets can be great tenants if given half a chance.