Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Should I allow pets in my Investment Property

This will be a very brief post on whether a landlord should allow pets in their investment property.  Unlike things like age, gender and children, you are allowed to discriminate between tenants on the basis of pets and some day you will face the issue about whether you should allow pets in your investment property.  This post will cover the things you need to think about when deciding whether to allow pets in your investment property.

I have briefly touched on this topic before in my post on how to choose the right tenants.  You may want to have a read of that post here.

Is your property suited to pet ownership?

The first question to ask yourself is whether you are allowed to have pets on your property.  If you own the land this will never be an issue as you are the king of your castle - however if your investment property is in an apartment complex there are often rules about pets and whether they are allowed or not - do not advertise your property as allowing pets if they are not allowed.

Assuming it is allowed then it comes down to an issue of suitability.  Cats are generally easier in this sense than dogs because they take up less room and honestly are less of a mess.  Dogs require space, an enclosed area so they cannot escape and probably a bit of grass as well for all those other things. 

Check with their previous landlord about any pet damage caused

The fact is that some animals are more destructive than others and some owners are more conscientious than others when it comes to caring for your property - especially in relation to pets.  Your best bet is to call up the previous landlords when screening your tenants to find out what they were like in their previous property

Make sure you allow for and account for the pet in your lease

If you are allowing a pet on the property your lease needs several provisions
  • An extra bond specifically for pet related damage on top of the bond they are already putting in place.  There is normally strict legislation on what sort of bonds you can take from your tenant so make sure you stick to the rules
  • Provisions for cleaning when the tenants leave.  This is especially important for cats whose smell tends to linger for long after they have gone.  Put a provision in the lease that says that when they leave the property they will have it steam cleaned etc.
When you do your annual inspection CHECK for damage caused by the pet

It is better to catch issues earlier rather than later and your pet bond (described above) is more likely to cover the damage if you catch it before it gets too bad.  This comes down to being interested and involved in your property.

Finally - make sure you are comfortable with a pet being in your property

I can tell you, and other landlords can tell you, that it is not a problem having pets in your property as long as you take the right steps however if you are just not comfortable with it then they are not worth having.  If you are constantly worried about the damage that your tenants dog is going to do then you are probably going to ruin your relationship with your tenant or worry yourself unnecessarily. 

You May Also Be Interested In:
Choosing the Right Tenants
Investing In Real Estate - All Topics
Understanding Your Rights and Obligations as a Landlord
Investing in Real Estate - Don't Forget to Renew the Lease

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