Many Brisbane West landlords are unlikely to open their properties to families with pets, which means they are probably losing out.
A 2013 survey of Australian landlords looking to purchase an investment property showed that only 23% of Queensland landlords are likely to allow pet owners to rent their homes, a statistic that is disappointing for a large number of tenants who seek rental properties that allow pets. If we compare that with the proportion of Australian households who own a pet – 5 million of the country’s 7.6 million homes, or an impressive 65% – then it’s easy to see that there’s not enough to go around.
What does this mean for landlords?
The advantage to landlords who offer pet friendly rentals in Brisbane is clear: their property becomes a sought-after home. With more pet owners than pet friendly houses to rent, accepting pets should increase the likelihood of your house being let.
There are obvious concerns when you think about pets: are they going to tear up the carpet or dig up the lawn? Will the property be properly taken care of? While reasonable care should be taken, of course, it’s more likely that you’ll have good tenants when you open the door to pets. Aside from the statistics, some of the less-known advantages of offering a pet-friendly rental in your Brisbane property include:
- Higher rent: The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) acknowledges that pet owning tenants are often prepared to pay higher rent in order to keep their four-legged friends.
- Longer leases: The ideal tenant for an investment property owner is one who is willing to stay, and pet owners are less likely to move than those with no ties. Pet friendly rentals encourage applications from tenants who both recognise how hard it is to find another property that will take their animal, and whose pets do not cope well with the disruption of a move. Pet owners, in short, will probably stay.
- Responsible tenants: Despite the obvious fears, it is widely shown that pet owning tenants are likely to show consideration for your property. As Vice President of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), Dr David Neck observes:
“A tenant with a pet is, by definition, a person who has to think about and care for another being on a daily basis. This will translate into an appreciation of their surrounding neighbours and their landlord”
And whether they have pets or not, tenants still have a responsibility of care towards your property which can be secured with a bond.
So what should you consider?
If you’re thinking about a pet friendly rental in Brisbane, it is of course sensible to lay down some rules. It’s wise to ask your property manager to help you negotiate with the tenant so all your needs are met. Consider the following when making your choice:
- Cost: You may find you have some initial expenses that a normal rental won’t have, such as pet doors and secure fencing. Easy-clean flooring may also help. Such overheads can be a basis for charging higher rent, but you will still need to stay competitive when setting your price. It’s worth remembering the long-term benefits of keeping happy tenants for a number of years.
- Setting limits: Just because you hand your property over to pet owners doesn’t mean you can’t stay in control. You have the right to stipulate how many pets they may keep, and what kind. Just communicate this clearly well in advance.
- Get it in writing: The Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC) offers sample Pet keeping agreement forms that landlords and tenants can use. Your property manager will ensure that the relevant clauses are written into your contract and all pets should be formally noted in the lease.
- Inspect your property regularly: Regular inspections by you or your property manager will communicate to the tenants of a pet-friendly rental that you’re paying attention and that you’ll stick to your guns. It also gives you ample opportunity to nip any problems securely in the bud.
If you think offering a pet friendly rental in your Brisbane property may work, but you don’t want to open the floodgates, then a “pets considered” policy may work as well. This allows you to consider individual requests without being obliged to say yes.
So should you offer a pet friendly rental?
Brisbane’s outer Western suburbs are an extremely popular choice for landlords purchasing investment properties. The large family-friendly plots and attractive older houses are popular with families, and children often wish to have pets. Having a “pets considered” policy when you rent out your Brisbane investment property will give you an added attraction in a competitive market.
As a local boutique property management company in Brisbane’s Western Suburbs, Colleen Miles Property Management has a strong local presence in Karalee, Chuwar, Karana Downs, Mt Crosby, Kenmore, Brookfield, Chapel Hill, St Lucia and Indooroopilly, and a wealth of specialist experience in our field. If you’re considering allowing pets but would like more advice, please Contact Us to discuss your concerns.