How owners can improve ‘ruff’ situations with pet-owning tenants

How owners can improve ‘ruff’ situations with pet-owning tenants

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Two-thirds of households in Queensland own pets, but only 10 per cent of the state’s rentals are pet friendly. This untapped market of pet owners can be a goldmine, and a landlord insurer gives his tips on how to take your landlord’s property out of the dog house.

Terri Scheer says more than 600 pets were surrendered to the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) last year because their owners could not find a pet-friendly property.

“Two-thirds of households own pets, but only 10 per cent of Queensland rentals are pet friendly. The numbers just don’t stack up,” Terri Scheer executive manager Carolyn Parrella said.

“We need more savvy landlords who recognise the benefits of allowing pets and who will specifically target pet-owning renters as their ideal tenant,” Ms Parrella said.

“Allowing pets gives landlords access to a larger pool of prospective tenants, while their tenants may choose to rent the property for longer knowing they can keep their furry friends.”

While allowing pets can put a property at risk, Ms Parrella has some suggestions on how properties can be pet-proofed.

“From our experience, damage is the main fear stopping landlords from allowing pets,” she said.

“This can include soiled carpets, claw and teeth marks on walls and door frames, and damage to gardens and exterior fences.

“Making modifications to the property can help to lower maintenance and reduce the chance of pet damage. This could include backyard fencing or animal runs to enclose cats and dogs to specific areas or replacing carpets with tiles and floorboards which are easier to clean.”

If owners are uncertain about allowing pets inside the property, Ms Parrella recommends a restricted pet policy, which can include pets to be housed outside under shelter and limiting the number and/or types of pets.

Buying insurance is another way landlords can protect their property.

“An appropriate landlord insurance policy is also a must-have risk management strategy. Landlords should thoroughly check and compare policies though, as not all provide cover for pet damage,” Ms Parrella said.

Tenants can take the initiative by providing pet references from former landlords and property managers. They can also sign an agreement to get the property professionally cleaned; introduce their pet to the landlord to show how well-behaved it is; and, depending on the state, pay a pet bond.

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