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Are you looking to rent a new home, but worried about facing problems for having a furry housemate? We understand that it can be difficult, and don’t worry – our answer isn’t that you should get rid of your best friend.
Firstly, you need to understand the reasons why many property owners don’t allow tenants with pets in their investment property.
Firstly, it’s not because they don’t like animals. In fact, according to the RSPCA, roughly 62% of Australian households have pets.
In some cases, it may not even be their decision. If the property is in a complex, owners corporations may prohibit or restrict animals in a property.
But there are many valid reasons why some landlords look unfavourably on the presence of pets in their investment property – because allowing animals can pose certain risks.
Barking dogs can disturb neighbours or other tenants in a building, cats can scratch and damage walls and carpets. Some pets can even cause health issues by aggravating allergies.
Birds can be noisy and create issues for neighbours. When allowed out of their cage, they can cause damage to curtains/blinds, paintwork and carpet.
Rabbits and Guinea pigs are not always kept in cages and can cause damage to skirting boards and carpet.
While many of these rules are based on worst-case scenarios, they can be necessary to protect the investor's property. So, finding a home for you and your pet is all about addressing the concerns of your future landlord.
Here are a few tips to help you get your foot, and paws, through the door.
Consider if the place is pet-friendly
We’re not only concerned with helping you find a rental property that allows pets, it’s also important that the property suits pets. If a human housemate was looking at properties with you, you’d consider their wants and needs – as well as your own. Imagine your furry friend has a voice to tell you what they need in a home. What would they say? Make sure there is enough space for them to live comfortably and the environment is suitable for their breed.
Ask the property manager!
This seems a little to obvious but the quickest way to find out if you can move in with your animal friend is to check with the agency and see if it’s an option. Few listings will outright say that pets are welcome, but it’s always worth double-checking if this is a factor that can be negotiated around.
Prepare a reference for your pet
Yes, this sounds a little strange. However, if you think about it, landlords always want to know a bit about the inhabitants of their investment properties. They want reassurance that tenants will treat the property with care. Why wouldn’t a good character reference for your pet be convincing?
Not every pet is a destructive force to reckoned with, you might have the world’s most well-behaved kitten by your side. And if your property manager and landlord can be convinced of this by a great reference, they may decide to rent the property to you.
Create a pet reference that includes your pet’s age, temperament, information conveying that they’re up to date with vaccinations, desexed and so on. If you’ve lived in a rental property with your pet before, and didn’t have any issues, you may want to include character references for your pet from the previous property manager.
Assure them that you will take all measures to pet-proof the property
It’s not your pet’s fault that it can cause damage to a property, it’s just the way they are. Think about the types of small measures you can take to prepare the property for a tenant with four legs. How can you address their needs to prevent any damaging behaviour? Having a scratching post available for your cat may reduce its natural urge to attack curtain drapes. Investing in barriers to stop your dog from entering certain parts of the property, is also a good idea.
Ensure that your dog is walked daily too. They can be more likely to not damage the property if they have expended any excess energy. Walking your dog also has health benefits for you too, not just your pooch.
Share your pet-proofing ideas with the property manager and you can impress them with the forethought you've had to start planning how you would keep the property in tact with your fur baby running around.
Commit to clean
We can’t stress enough that your landlord is most concerned with maintaining the property in good condition, so they’re probably just worried that a pet could do damage to their property. To help ease their nerves, you could tell your property manager that you’ll go over and above what’s required when you vacate to remove all traces of your pet’s presence.
You’re already obliged to clean the property when you leave. However, your landlord may decide to rent to you if you commit to ensuring extensive cleaning processes are implemented to refresh the property when you’re ready to go – like deep carpet cleaning, deodorising, flea treatments and more.
In addition to this, depending on the state you are in, you may need to be prepared to pay a pet bond.
If all else fails, broaden your search
Even though everybody adores their pets, let’s face it, they can cause havoc wherever they go. While that’s part of their charm, it’s easy to understand why this creates serious concerns for landlords and can make finding a suitable rental home difficult for tenants with pets.
If you and your pet don’t have any luck after trying all these measures, you may have to extend the reach of your property search and accept different suburbs or property styles. Remember that anywhere you live will quickly feel like home, as long as you’ve got them by your side.
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