Landlords who reject tenants with pets could be missing out on increased profit, according to one landlord insurance provider.
With about two-thirds of 7.5 million households owning a pet, only 10 per cent of rental properties actually accept pets.
By not accepting tenants with pets, Carolyn Parrella, executive manager at Terri Scheer Insurance, said that landlords are missing out on an “untapped property investment strategy”.
“Allowing pets provides landlords with a much larger pool of prospective tenants. Meanwhile, their tenants may choose to rent the property for longer knowing they can keep their furry friends,” Ms Parrella said.
If tenants have pets, risk of damages to a property — e.g., damage to carpets and curtains or blinds (such as claw or bite marks) and to outdoor areas like fences and gardens — is heightened. But according to Ms Parrella, landlords could mitigate these risks.
“Landlords could ask that pets live outside the home or limit the types and sizes of pets that they accept,” she said.
“There is a range of modifications that landlords can make to their property that not only reduce maintenance and the risk of damage but increase the property’s value.
“This could include backyard fencing or secure animal runs to enclose cats and dogs to specific areas, or replacing carpets with tiles or floorboards which can be easier to clean.”
The risk mitigation does not have to be one way either, as landlords and investors could suggest periodic professional cleaning to remove hair and odour, as well as having the landlord meet with the pet to prove it is sufficiently well behaved and trained.
In Western Australia, landlords can also ask for a pet bond in addition to the already existing bond. Some other states and territories, while not on an official basis, can request for more than four week’s bond, which could be in part for a pet.
Ms Parrella added that the right landlord insurance policy can mitigate pet damage risk further.