When it comes to allowing pets in rental properties, there are a few grey areas to consider. Here’s what you need to know.
When deciding whether to allow pets in your investment property, you’ll need to weigh up the risk of damage with the potential to increase rent. If you do decide to allow pets, it’s a good idea to develop a pet policy that sets out guidelines you expect your pet-owner tenant to follow. And if damage is caused, you can work with your property manager to take action to ensure the damage is fixed or you may request that the tenant vacate the property.
Should you make your property pet friendly?
Allowing your tenants to have pets will likely attract more interest in your property and may justify a bump in the rent you can charge. However, you need to weigh up the risk of any potential damage a pet may cause to your property and any noise complaints that may come from surrounding neighbours. Your property manager will be able to advise you on whether pet-friendly properties attract higher rent in your local market and whether the risk is worth your while.
What is a pet policy?
If you do choose to allow pets in your property, it’s a good idea to work with your property manager to develop a pet policy. This will set out any guidelines you expect your tenant to follow such as keeping the pet outside, or keeping carpets regularly steam cleaned. If your property is strata managed, you’ll also need to check that pets are allowed in the complex.
What happens if the pet causes damage?
If an approved pet causes damage to your property or is considered a nuisance under the Residential Tenancies Act, your property manager may issue of breach of duty notice. If the tenant doesn’t fix the problem within 14 days, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a compliance order. If the tenant still does not comply, you can issue a notice to vacate.
What happens if a tenant brings an unapproved pet into your property?
If you have a ‘no pets’ clause written into the tenancy agreement and your tenant breaches this by bringing a pet into the premises, your rights as a landlord are somewhat unclear. If you can prove the pet is causing damage, considered a nuisance or endangering neighbours, you can issue a breach of duty notice as above. Otherwise, you may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a notice to vacate, which the Tribunal will assess on a case-by-case basis.
The following advice is of a general nature and intended as an opinion and broad guide. For all legal, financial or real estate advice you should obtain independent professional advice to do with the specific nature of your circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.