Should you allow tenants with pets?

Many landlords are divided on whether they should allow tenants to have pets on their properties. Although pets pose a risk of causing damage beyond normal wear and tear, landlords could miss out on a great tenant if they turn down a pet.
So, should you allow tenants with pets? Well, it’s entirely your own decision but here are some points that could help you make your decision.

Tenants with pets stay longer.

As it can be difficult to find a rental that allows pets, tenants are more likely to renew a lease or sign one that is longer. There are a few reasons behind this including that it is harder to move when you have pets, and once you’ve found a flat that actually allows pets you’re generally not in any rush to go through that process again. This saves a huge hassle of finding new tenants and is also beneficial for the tenant-landlord relationship as there is more time to get to know one another.

Increase in prospective tenants.

If you allow tenants with pets then it will most likely attract more people to your property. Opening your house up to pets means you open your house up to another market of tenants. This is good as your home is more likely to be rented and you can avoid the annoying in-between period of having an empty house: An occurrence that can be financially straining for some landlords.

Carpet damage and damage beyond wear and tear.

The main reason most landlords do not allow tenants with pets is because of the damage they can cause. This is especially in relation to the carpet. Carpet stains and rips can cost landlords a lot and the risk of experiencing both is increased with pets. Although it would seem as though the tenant is responsible for covering these costs, this is not always the case as seen with Foxton landlord David Russ and his carpet horror story. In September 2016, Russ was denied 3,000 dollars worth of compensation to replace the carpets of his rental that had been ruined by dog urine. Although Russ had outlined in the tenancy agreement a no pets allowed policy, the tenant was still not seen as liable by the Tribunal. A year later Russ appealed his decision in the Palmerston North District Court where he won. The District Court Judge said he thought the Tribunal was wrong for deeming the damage “unintentional” and ordered the tenant to pay Russ $3790 dollars in compensation.
While Russ was eventually rewarded his money, his case explains the caution that landlords have around tenants with pets. However, it also shows that having a no pets policy in your agreement does not necessarily mean tenants will abide.
Remember, although some pets can cause damage to a rental, so can tenants. It is completely dependent on the individual and how they treat your home. This is something that is difficult to know from first impressions and so it is fair to consider pets with tenants if you are up for it.

Before you say yes…

Before deciding whether you want to allow your tenant to have their pet, it might pay to:

  • meet the pet.
  • set some pet clauses in the tenancy agreement.

Meeting the animal will give you an idea about the level of care that the tenant provides and also how the pet behaves. This will be a great indication of how the tenants will care for your home and whether or not the pet poses any risk of damage at all.
Setting clauses in your tenancy agreement is essential if you allow tenants with pets. For more info on why and what clauses to include, see this article.

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