Should you allow Renters with Pets?

They say a dog is man’s best friend (as are cats and birds too!).

But for many renters in NSW, strict by-laws in many buildings have been forcing tenants to choose between their furry, scaled and feathered best friends and keeping a roof over their heads.

Often, the enforcement of these laws by strata committees is carried out despite the expressed wishes of the landlord to allow the tenant to keep their pet.

So, how do we address this debate as a landlord?

Holding onto Reliable Tenants

For many landlords, finding a reliable long-term tenant who always pays the rent on time and maintains the property in an exemplary condition is not so easy.

When such a tenant does come along, a property owner may decide to take a more lenient approach to the renter having a small dog or cat, as long as the pet doesn’t cause any damage to the property.

Somehow when it comes to pets, the default position seems to be a ban without looking into the specifics of the animal in question.

As a landlord, you are protected

Despite concerns that a pet may damage property, tenancy laws in NSW already have provisions that a renter is held liable for damage to a property as a result of their own actions, a guest’s actions, or the behaviour of an animal they own. Landlords would be within their rights to withhold bond money to repair any damages caused by a pet. This extends to steps required to remove any animal odours too.

The default position to ban pets is resulting in renters finding it very difficult to find accommodation that allows them to keep their beloved animals. And as the number of households living in rental accommodation increases in Sydney, this problem is becoming more acute.

NSW Tenancy Laws

Tenancy legislation in NSW doesn’t have any provisions regarding pets, leaving it to individual landlords and buildings to determine what they prefer.

For most buildings, the default position is to ban pets, resulting in just 2% of rental properties in NSW allowing animals! Yes, 2%.

Recently, the NSW government introduced a recommended by-law for buildings to adopt, should they wish. This allows pets in apartments provided tenants seek permission. While not mandatory, in buildings where this by-law is adopted, a tenant cannot be refused to keep a pet in most circumstances.

With such strong demand among renters to find pet-friendly accommodation, and with Sydney’s vacancy rates creeping higher within a difficult market right now, landlords are increasingly open to the suggestion that tenants be allowed to keep a companion animal.

It may be worth considering pets to increase interest in your investment property to help you get it rented sooner. There’s a much more likely chance of finding a quality tenant if you open your property up to more people.

How does Upstate help landlords?

At Upstate, we have many years of experience assisting both landlords and tenants in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, many of whom have had to address the issue of allowing pets.

As expert managers of investment properties, we are committed to finding reliable, long-term tenants on behalf of landlords and we regularly monitor the properties to ensure proper maintenance.

If you’re a landlord open to the idea of your tenants keeping pets, we can assist in ensuring appropriate rules are incorporated into the lease agreement, so every party is clear on their rights and responsibilities.
We also will run the tenants through your expectations and requirements so that they’re aware of what standards they need to meet; all to make sure your home is well looked after.

Trust us – there are some fantastic tenants out there with great rental records that have a pet, and with it being such a growing segment within a difficult market, it may be worth considering.

If you’re a prospective tenant in search of a pet-friendly home, speak with us to find the right property for both you and your animal friend. We are committed to ensuring tenancy rights are fully respected as well.

Give us a call on (02) 9971 9000 we look forward to chatting with you soon.

Signing off (and always here to help),
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