Should I Consider Pets in my Rental Property?

30th July 2021

If you own an investment property, it is quite likely that either your tenant or property manager has asked if you would permit pets in your property. These requests might come through whilst your property is available on the market, or after a tenant has settled in. Either way, you’ve probably asked yourself “Should I consider pets in my rental property?”.

Put simply, it is completely up to you as the Landlord to accept or deny the request. We all want to protect the quality of our investment properties as effectively as possible in order to achieve the maximum return, however there are a number of reasons why permitting pets may benefit you as a Landlord.

The main benefit to permitting pets in your property is that you open yourself up to a much larger audience of prospective tenants when your property is available. It has been reported that Australia has one of the highest pet-ownership rates in the world, with almost 62% of us owning at least 1 pet. Because of this you can potentially set your property apart in a competitive renters’ market if you are open to your tenant’s keeping a pet.

Additionally, we have seen first-hand with some of our listings that Landlords’ can often achieve premium rent when they actively market their property as being pet friendly, due to the shortage of these properties available.

A question which we have often faced, is whether or not a Landlord can request a “pet bond” in addition to the regular bond or rent received. It is illegal in NSW to request a pet bond. If you employ an expert property manager however, they can help ensure that your tenants are meeting their obligations towards maintenance of the property and pet ownership. Whilst a property manager cannot guarantee that pets will not stain carpets or create scratch marks throughout, having clear ingoing/outgoing condition reports & photos will support you should you need to claim damages from the tenants’ bond. Regular and proactive routine inspections will also help to identify and address issues during tenancy so that they do not become bigger problems. Overall your tenants are responsible for ensuring their pet does not damage the property during tenancy, and should damage occur (which is not considered fair wear and tear) they are obliged to rectify the issue.

Big news toward the end of 2020 was the announcement surrounding pet bans within strata by-laws. Following a lengthy appeal within a Darlighurst apartment block, Jo Cooper was permitted to keep her pet Miniature Schnauzer despite her strata plan’s long-standing by-law which banned pets and set the way forward for a number of changes. The NSW Court of Appeal overturned the right of strata plans to pass by-laws prohibiting a blanket ban for all animals, and now specifies that new by-laws must allow provisions for some pets. This change applies for any new strata plans which are registered, however strata plans with existing no pet by-laws can elect to implement the changes if they wish. This does not mean that the by-laws permit all pets, and these by-laws can be specific to only allow certain types of pets (e.g. cats only, or pets under 8kg) .

If you own an investment property within a strata plan (e.g. apartments & townhouses) then the by-laws and applicable application processes for pets must be followed. Should your plan’s by-laws permit pets, you as the Landlord still have the right to decline pets if you do not want them kept during tenancy. Please note however that in NSW it is illegal to refuse the keeping of a service animal that’s registered to assist a person with a disability.

In most cases people are responsible pet owners, and with clear expectations around the type and number of pets permitted most landlords don’t have trouble with pet-owning tenants.

Should you have any questions surrounding tenants with pets or any other matters relating to your investment property please do not hesitate to reach out to the Property North Agency team.