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Affordability of Pet Friendly Rentals

 

Why are some pet friendly rental properties so expensive?

                                          

Poor Affordability of Properties in Australia

Homes in Australia are very expensive compared to other countries, especially near capital cities. http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/news/australian-housing-still-least-affordable-in-the-world-despite-recent-improvements-fitch/2013010958698  As the government doesn't have enough public housing to meet the rental demand, most rental properties are privately owned.  Due to poor affordability, approximately two-thirds of rental properties in Australia are negatively geared, which means the rent is not enough to cover a landlord's mortgage payments and rental expenses. 

 

 

High Maintenance Costs of Pet Friendly Rentals

Some properties advertised on Rent With Pets charge higher rent for tenants with pets compared to without pets.  This reflects the higher cost of maintaining a pet friendly home.  A landlord's first obligation to tenants is maintenance of the property. Many landlords need to recover the cost of maintaining a property occupied by animals, otherwise they simply can't afford to accept pets! eg. replacing urine stained carpets, sanding scratched floorboards, fixing chewed doors, filling holes dug up by dogs, patching up fences. Due to the high cost of homes and high interest rates in Australia, the rent may not even cover mortgage interest, let alone maintenance costs of having animal tenants.  Property management fees can also be more expensive if a property manager needs to attend to a pet friendly rental property more often for maintenance, or investigate concerns about a tenant’s pets.

 

Rent With Pets recommends a few simple renovations to make rental properties more pet friendly, and decrease the cost of property maintenance for landlords.

 

Insurance


Most landlord insurance does not cover accidental damage to homes caused by pets. Terri Scheer is the only landlord insurance that currently covers pet damage up to $500, which is quite inadequate for most repairs. The company doesn't allow landlords to buy additional insurance to cover pet friendly rental properties for damage exceeding $500. If accidental pet damage exceeds the bond money + $500, landlords have to pay out of pocket for the repairs.

 

Pet Bond

Landlords in most Australian states (except WA) are not allowed to charge a “pet bond” to cover the higher costs associated with accepting pets in rental properties. The pet bond is restricted to $260 in WA. Pet loving landlords are left with the options of refusing to accept pets, charging more rent, or losing money through repairs.

 

Pets are Part of the Family

Since many tenants consider pets as part of the family, landlords also consider pets as additional family members/tenants on a lease.  The more people and animals live in a pet friendly rental property the more time and money is needed to maintain the home to a standard that is safe for all tenants to live in.
                                                

Obligation to Allow Pets?

In Australia, landlords are not required by law to accept pets in rental properties.  In fact, a property owner is not even obligated to rent the property to any tenant at all. Accepting pets in a rental property is a privilege that pet friendly landlords choose to offer their tenants.  Only through compensation for the higher costs of offering this privilege, can some landlords afford to accept pets.  Pet friendliness is like any other desirable rental property features offered by landlords (air conditioning, built in wardrobes, furniture, bathroom renovations, secure fences) that tenants would expect to pay higher rent for. Paying for the privilege to enjoy a home with pets is much better than not being able to have pets at all.  Enjoying a comfortable home with the furry members of our family is great value for money.