Thursday, November 16, 2017

The rise of the fur babies… now impacting tenancy rights

We now live in a world where Doggy Day Care is becoming the norm and households are spending more and more on their pets... $12.2 billion annually in fact! So it's no wonder this trend has crept its way into the rental market, and there are now new laws in place surrounding a Tenant's rights to have a pet.

Last month in Victoria, new laws were introduced where a Landlord can no longer apply a blanket 'no pets' clause in their rental leases. If a Tenant applies with a pet, Landlords will have to grin and bear it, or they may face going to the Tribunal. Landlords will still need to provide consent 
to the application, however they can only deny a request in certain circumstances. 

So what if this was to also change in 
South Australia?

For the 'glass half full' kind of people, this is not all bad. If 83% of people own pets, you will be (by default) increasing your Tenant selection pool dramatically. With more applicants interested in your property, you could expect to see your rental amount rise and your returns improve. 

The risk of course is how well behaved the fur baby is, and what damage could be caused to the property. It is not uncommon for pets to cause stains to carpets or curtains, and scratch wooden floorboards or window frames if left inside for long periods of time. Another challenge, is whether the bond amount collected would be enough to cover any possible corresponding damage at the end of the tenancy. 

Re-introducing Pet Bonds (currently these are not allowed in South Australia) or agreeing on additional inspections at a rental property upfront, are options that may help find middle ground so Tenants and Landlords both feel comfortable with the arrangement in place.

These laws are not here yet, but if you are considering allowing pets in your rental property, we suggest adding 'pets negotiable' on your property advertising. You might also want to ask that any Tenants applying with pets include a photograph of their pet(s) at the application stage. This will ensure that you know what type of pet you are agreeing to. 

If you are diligent with routine inspections and your Tenant is made very aware of their responsibilities to maintain the property, having pets in a rental property is definitely doable, as long as the right checks and balances are in place.

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