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Protecting your property from pet damage

Allowing pets to be housed at your rental property is a major decision for a landlord and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Terri Scheer Insurance Executive Manager, Carolyn Parrella, said as a landlord, you retain complete control of what animals are allowed to be housed at the property and your decision can be made on a case-by-case basis.

“Making your property pet-friendly can have many benefits and improve profitability of your investment, but it can also be a serious risk to landlords,” Ms Parrella said.

“Pet damage may include soiled carpet, claw marks on walls and damage to exterior fences.”

Ms Parrella said there were a number of factors to consider before making your rental property pet-friendly, to help minimise the impact of potential damage to the property.

Enforce a pet policy

“Before allowing pets at your property, it’s a good idea to establish a pet agreement between you and your tenant,” Ms Parrella said.

“This is a good risk management strategy where you can outline specific guidelines you would like your tenant to follow.

“For example, you may request that the pet is housed outside and for the tenant to keep the property free from animal odours, hair and pet waste.

“You should also outline the consequences if a tenant fails to meet their obligations.”

Regular property inspections

Ms Parrella said property managers should closely monitor whether animals are present at the property by conducting regular property inspections.

“If an animal is not present at the time of the inspection but it is suspected one may be housed at the property, look for fur on furniture and bedding, water bowls, urine stains on the carpet or evident animal odours in and around the home,” she said.

“Neighbours are also usually more than happy to inform whether a tenant has a pet.”

Modify the property

“Making slight modifications to the property can help to lower maintenance for tenants and reduce the chances of pet damage,” Ms Parrella said.

“Consider allowing pets at your property if you have a large enclosed backyard when the pet can run around. Fencing should be a priority for outdoor pets. “

“Properties with tiles or floor boards are more suited to indoor pets as they are easier to clean than carpet.”

Maintain a good relationship with your tenant

Ms Parrella said maintaining a good relationship with your tenant is a must. “Open and transparent communication may encourage tenants to uphold their rental and pet agreement,” she said.

“A tenant with a good relationship with their landlord or property manager may feel more comfortable raising any issues regarding housing pets, allowing it to be addressed sooner rather than later.”

Obtain landlord insurance

“Damage to a rental property caused by a domestic pet or an animal that is housed at the property is not always covered under landlord insurance policies,” Ms Parrella said.

“Landlords should check with their insurer to see if they’re covered, before allowing pets at their property.

“A good landlord insurance policy will also cover landlords for risks like malicious damage and accidental damage by a tenant, loss of rental income and potential legal liability.

“Do your research and find a tailored landlord insurance policy that’s right for you.”

News Tenant & Property Management