Caring for a pet is a popular lifestyle choice for many Australians – and that includes those who rent a property. However, when you’re the owner of a rental property, its understandable to feel a bit anxious about the impact pets might have on your investment. In this article, I’ll outline some of the most effective ways to ensure your property is ‘pet proofed’.
To begin with, it’s important to recognise that in Victoria, landlords are now unable to unreasonably refuse a tenant’s request to keep a pet. Refusal can only be upheld with the approval of VCAT. So if you’re investing in a rental property, be prepared in advance about how you’ll negotiate with tenants on the topic of pets.
Furnishing and equipping your rental property in such a way that pet damage is minimised is a great place to start. This gives your property appeal to pet owners (who might end up being ideal tenants!). Additionally, by preparing your home for pets, you’ll have a number of talking points when discussing pets with potential tenants.
While types of pets can vary, the most common by far are cats and dogs. So by putting measures in place to minimise damage from these two categories of pet, you’ll be well-prepared for the majority of pet owners who would like to lease your property.
Give particular attention to floors and doors because occupants (including pets) are frequently in contact with them:
- heavy-duty floors such as tiles will resist scratches and odours, so consider these for common areas such as the kitchen and living room
- dog scratch door protectors are widely available to prevent scratches from dogs on the bottom half of doors
- dog doors are also well-known for preventing scratches on entrance doors because dogs and cats will pass through them without a fuss
Bedrooms and study areas can be sealed off from pets with the use of baby gates. Installing toilet locks is also something you can do to prevent animals drinking from toilets.
There are several other practical measures you can take to equip your home for the presence of pets. This 2018 article presented by RACV has some excellent tips you can follow.
Besides the tangible ways of making your property ready for pets, there are some other things to consider before meeting potential tenants:
- check whether your home insurance includes cover for pet damage
- determine how much should be paid as a pet bond (in addition to the normal bond paid upon commencement of a lease)
It goes without saying that having a good conversation with your tenants before approving to any pets will go a long way to avoiding any unexpected issues down the track. Being an accommodating and welcoming landlord is a great approach, as long as you clearly outline your expectations. Ensure that you give the tenant an opportunity to tell you if they have any requirements.
It’s also important to take photos as part of the property condition report and also to conduct regular inspections of the property.
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