Renting with Pets: Quick Tips

October 10th, 2012

Anyone considering renting with a pet in Australia or New Zealand could be in for a big surprise – It would appear that even though we are supposed to be a nation of pet lovers, Landlords are not so in love with your pets as you!  

Renting with DogFinding rental properties that allow pets can be rather daunting and frustrating to say the least.

Today’s rental market is very competitive, and Landlords have legitimate concerns about opening up their properties to pets.  They may have had a bad experience with irresponsible pet owners, and can be worried about complaints from neighbours, or it could be that they are just not sure how to deal with pet-owning renters.

As it is, many tenants face difficulties finding the right place for the right price. But when you own a pet – the competition almost always wins. There are two landlords’ misconceptions you need to overcome:

  1. If I rent out my property it will be destroyed.
  2. If I rent out my property to tenants with pet, it will DEFINITELY be destroyed.

With such a large proportion of people in the tenant market having pets, landlords and property investors could be limiting the number of potentially excellent tenants by having this mindset.

This situation causes many pet owners stress, at being unable to find a property where pets are welcome.   This results in pet owning tenants having to resort to desperate measures, such as giving up their pet or keeping them hidden from the landlord – which is never a good idea.  Moving house is cited as a major reason people surrender pets to Shelters and Welfare organisations every day.

Here are some quick tips that will save you time looking for a pet-friendly rental:

  1. Make this your first question to the estate agent: “Are pets allowed on the property?” It will help avoid wasting time on enquiring about a property where your pet isn’t welcome.
  2. Speak with the property manager / owner, rather than with the receptionist at the estate agency. A receptionist can only look up the property listing on a computer, and it may not say anything about pets, in which case some receptionists could incorrectly assume pets were not allowed. Talking to the property manager is always a better idea, because they know the landlord and the property better, and are actually interested in renting that property out and will try and assist you, including ringing the landlord to find out about their pets policy.
  3. Know that the chances of finding a studio, a flat or an apartment that allows pets can be  worse than trying to find a house that is pet-friendly. Most forms of the higher-density living come with a body corporate “strictly-no-pets” policy. Houses, on the other hand, offer a much better chance of “yes-to-pets” policy, especially if they have a back yard and no wall-to-wall carpets.
  4. Finding a pet-friendly rental is not the end of it – then you need to convince the landlord that you are their best choice of a tenant. Landlords and estate agents find the following especially persuasive:
  • Pet cover letter, describing the breed, size and age of the pet along with its nature and habits of your pet including any training it has received. (Cute photos are very helpful!) Also if it is has been neutered.
  • Vaccination and Council registration certificates.
  • Written references from previous landlords, neighbours or estate agents.
  • How long you have owned the pet.
  • How often you treat your pet for fleas, and how often it is bathed and exercised.
  • How much time your pet will be spending alone (if a Dog).

Offer of a pet-bond that is intended to cover any damage that your pet might cause might be that magic key to your new rental house.Offer the company can do an inspection at a pre-arranged date after move in date, to check how the pet is settling in.

You may also want to write into the contract that you will do the following:

  • Let off flea bombs in the house every six months and at the end of the tenancy.
  • Have the carpets professionally steam cleaned and any dog/cat stains removed at the end of the tenancy.
  • Finally, if any surface of the house has been damaged by the dog/cat during the tenancy, you will make good the relevant damage.

Be honest; don’t try to sneak your pet in, as keeping an animal in violation to a no-pets rule could find you subject to a tribunal notice, and / or eviction.

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