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Top 10 Reasons a pet friendly attitude can make you money
There is no doubt Australians are pet lovers. The survey titled Pet Ownership in Australia 2013 done by the Animal Health Alliance of Australia shows that 63% of Australian households have pets.
The ABS reports that 2.1 million Australians are renters. It’s safe to say that a majority of those individuals also have a furry family member that figures into their hunt for a place to call home.
Have you opened up your properties to pet owners or have you ignored this large demographic in search of pet-free tenants only?
Every investor must decide for him or herself what is best for their investment portfolio, however it’s important to make your decisions based on fact, not long held beliefs that may or may not be entirely true.
In their report titled Guide for Landlords and Managing Agents – Tenants with Pets the Companion Animal Council uses surveys and studies of pet ownership and its impact on rental properties to separate fact from fiction.
The highlights of what they discovered is shown below.
Ten Good Reasons to Rent to a Pet Owner
- Pet owning tenants are open to paying more rent.
- Pet friendly properties don’t stay vacant long.
- Responsible pet owners are typically great tenants.
- Tenants with pets typically want longer leases.
- You’ll save on advertising costs.
- You won’t have to worry about ‘hidden’ pets.
- Most Australians care for and treat their pets like family, giving them a good environment to live in.
- Animal welfare agencies say that as much as 30% of dogs and cats are surrendered because the owners can find pet friendly accommodation.
- Using a “pets considered” option is just that – an option so you can be discerning.
- Pet application and agreement forms set out the responsibilities of each party to avoid any miscommunication.
Other interesting facts:
The American study titled Companion Animal Renters and Pet-Friendly Housing in the US discovered that:
- 25% of all rental applicants were looking specifically for “pet-friendly” housing.
- Twice as many applicants applied to pet-friendly residences compared to other housing options.
- Residences described as friendly to pets were leased in only 19 days compared to the typical 29 days for other rentals.
Finally, research from Blue Moon Research and Planning 2008 ‘Pets in the City’ report revealed that pet-friendly landlords might be able to enjoy 7% to 14% more in rent.
It’s not a stretch to say that similar trends can be found in Oz.
How to create a “pets considered” policy
- Review strata or community title by-laws to see if it’s possible to keep a pet.
- Check with your landlord insurance provider to see if they cover damages incurred by pets. If not, you can use higher rental charges to set aside a buffer for any necessary repairs.
- Make “pet-friendly” modifications such as tile or linoleum flooring, a pet door and good fencing in the back yard (if you have one).
- Have your prospective tenant fill out a pet application form, which details all of the specifics of their pet such as name, age, type and microchip number.
- Once you’ve accepted their application, they can sign a pet agreement form which sets out how the pets will be managed on the property that deals with cleanliness, care of the pet and injuries to third parties.
- Pets damage properties
The US data referenced earlier debunks this myth. Researchers discovered that any difference in the damages between properties with pets and those without was minimal.
In fact, they discovered that damage costs were higher in households with children compared to those with only pets.
Despite this fact, 63% of US landlords that prohibit pets did so based on no personal experience!
- Two pets are worse than one
It may seem like a logical conclusion, however anyone who has owned a pet realises his or her need for companionship.
Animals that can keep each other company while your tenant is away are much less likely to get into trouble than those left alone.