Tips for Tenants at Rent With Pets
How can I find pet friendly rental properties?
There is a shortage of pet friendly rental properties in Australia. Finding a pet friendly rental home can be frustrating. Most landlords have pets themselves and love animals as much as tenants. However, many pet owner landlords are cautious about accepting pets in rental properties due to affordability (rent doesn’t cover the payments), previous negative experience with a tenant’s pets, inexperience with choosing responsible pet owner tenants, difficulty getting insurance for accidental pet damage, and greater maintenance responsibilities for a pet friendly home. Responsible pet owners who pay rent on time and get along well with neighbours have a much better chance of renting their choice of home.
Flexibility in choice of suburbs is very helpful. It pays to broaden your suburb range. Areas further away from city centers tend to have more properties suitable for pets, and more pet friendly landlords.
Have a flexible budget. A recent survey by REA showed that 4 out of 5 landlords will accept pets if offered extra money for maintenance, and met other criteria like pet references or insurance http://www.realestate.com.au/blog/renting-pets-landlords-might-ok/
Consider renting a pet friendly holiday home temporarily if you have a short timeframe for house hunting. Ask for their best rate for an extended stay. Many holiday homes, hotels, caravan parks, and cabins welcome pets; and it buys you time to search for a long term pet friendly rental. Find out about cancellation policies in case you find long term accommodation sooner than anticipated. Check out http://www.lovemelovemydog.com.au/ for pet friendly holiday accommodation.
Be flexible with living arrangements. Flexibility to share a home with other pet owners increases your choices of pet friendly rental properties available.
Check the by-laws to see whether pets are permitted in the strata, and what the rules are for your pets to be good neighbours. If necessary lodge a pet application to the strata before you move in. Exciting changes in NSW strata laws are coming soon. These changes will make it easier for both owner occupiers and tenants to have pets in strata units. There are many benefits for stratas to become pet friendly http://news.domain.com.au/domain/real-estate-news/the-pet-factor-gains-momentum-20140403-360ob.html Pet friendly stratas, and pet friendly units will soon become a reality for tenants that choose to live closer to major cities.
What can I do to show a potential landlord that I am a good tenant when I'm renting with pets? How can I increase the chances that a landlord pick me over other tenants who don't have pets?
Obtain good rental references from previous landlords.
If this is your first time renting get personal references from employers, teachers, neighbours or people that know you well.
Prepare a pet resume that shows how you are responsible about looking after your pets, how your pets will respect the property, and be good neighbours.
Provide proof that you are diligent in your pets medical care eg. desexing certificates, vaccination certificates, council registration, reference from your vet, obedience training certificates for dogs, health insurance, etc.
Show the landlord that you share their concerns about cleanliness and maintenance. eg. Are your pets housetrained, litterbox trained, or obedience trained? How do you dispose of your pets waste? How often to you give flea control and worming medications to your pets? How will you take care of the property? Can you put a sheet of linoleum or vinyl on carpeted areas to protect it from pet urine and vomit?
Promote your pets! Offer to bring them to meet the landlord or rental agent to show them that your pets are clean and well behaved.
Sign a pet agreement with your landlord to show how you and your pets will respect the property. What will you do if there is a problem with your pets, or if they cause damage to the property by accident. Commit to removing all traces of your pets at the end of the tenancy, including carpet steam cleaning, flea treatment and deodorising.
Honesty is the best policy. Rent With Pets recommends that tenants communicate openly and honestly with landlords about pets. Respect that some properties may not be suitable for all pets. It is very difficult for a landlord to give a good reference to a tenant who has been caught disrespecting a "no-pets" rule. Secreting pets in unsuitable rental properties gives pet owners a bad name, and contributes to landlord reluctance to accept pets.
Show that you can afford your pet friendly rental, and pay rent on time (payslips, bank statements, tax returns, etc).
Offer a pet bond to cover any potential damage caused by your pets. This is currently only legal in WA.
Help landlords afford to be pet friendly! Many landlords are cash poor because properties in Australia are very expensive, rent may not even cover the mortgage interest and management fees. Maintenance of the property to make it safe and comfortable for tenants is a landlord's main responsibility. If your pets are likely to cause more wear and tear to the home, offer to contribute towards property maintenance, secure fences, doggie doors, etc. Offer to cover carpeted areas with a piece of rubber, vinyl or linoleum to protect the carpet from pet urine or vomit.
Offer to sign a long term lease if you are planning to stay in the area for a long time. Paying rent in advance may also give you an advantage over other tenants who don't have pets.
Is your pet a good tenant? Tips for Rental Friendly Pets
For more information here are some helpful resources for responsible pet owners and tenants:
Australian Companion Animal Council - A guide for tenants renting with pets
Renting With Pets - tips from the Humane Society of the United States
Rent With Pets tips for writing a Pet Resume and sample pet resume
Pet Rental Agreement
Australian Companion Animal Council
Cat Protection Society
Pets living in stratas