Pet-Proofing your Rental Property

As many Victorians are becoming aware of new pet legislation, it is imperative landlords get the right advice to protect their most valuable asset. Below I’ve outlined strategies to manage your tenant’s furry friends and minimise the risk of damage to your property.

Changing Lease Conditions

Pet clauses are becoming increasingly popular in tenancy agreements Victoria wide.

Adding a clause that states that any damage to the property caused by pets is payable by the tenant is imperative to ensure pet owners are being held responsible for their pets and are doing right by their fuzzy companions.

Additionally property owners can request a higher bond for security purposes, in the event the tenant’s critter breaks something.

Flooring Choices

Avoid hardwood floors and carpets as pets have a tendency to scratch at both.

Instead opt for realistic timber-patterned vinyl or tiles.

Vinyl and tiles are:

  • Easy to clean
  • Simple to replace
  • Relatively cost effective.

If you already have hardwood floors, have a professional coat it with polyurethane; this will make the wood hardier and more durable.

Another option is to do a bit of thrift shopping and lay down large rugs throughout the property.

Additionally if you already have carpets, adding a clause that carpets must be professionally steam cleaned every 6-12 months to check any pet odours is perfectly acceptable.

Insurance for Pet Damage

Be certain to speak with your insurance broker regarding pet damage to your property.

You want to

be sure that your insurance covers pet related expenses

in the event a puppy gets bored and decides to dig up your grandmother’s prized petunias.

Previous rent reference from real estate

When conducting your tenant reference checks be sure to ask questions from previous property managers about the pet’s behaviour.

Asking whether or not the pet caused damage to the property, whether any noise complaints were filed and if it was generally well behaved can become a part of your property managers screening process.

Pet Profiling

Requesting a pet profile from your tenant is a key stone in developing a good management strategy for pets.

This profile should include:

  • What type of pet they are
  • Details of any training they have had such as obedience school
  • Vaccinations
  • Whether the pet is regularly exercised.

This will help you determine a couple of things: first and foremost regular exercise, training and vaccination information can provide a clear indication whether or not your tenant is a responsible pet owner and what type of pet they are can help you predetermine if the pet is suitable to your investment property i.e. a Saint Bernard probably won’t be suited to a studio apartment.

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