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Pets With Benefits

Debbie Van Den Broek makes a case for renting to tenants with pets.

By: Debbie Van Den Broek

30 April 2018

It’s a personal decision for any landlord to make the choice not to allow pets but you may miss out on many benefits.

Tenants’ living arrangements in New Zealand can be pretty tenuous. Living at the whim of an investor, never knowing when the house will be sold, renovated or rents increased. Tenants are often unable to create a long-term “family home” and can face the costs of shifting at short notice – often when they can least afford it.

It would be easy to say that no tenant should own a pet, however, for those people that will rent their entire lives why should they be unable to enjoy the companionship of a pet?

The issue of pets in rentals brings out a selection of war stories from numerous landlords; horror stories of property and carpet damage, distressed neighbours, and terrorised landlords can easily scare off the novice landlord.

While there are some valuable lessons to be gained from these stories, there are equally many more war stories about trashed houses, stained carpets, and rent arrears from tenants without pets. Having spent more than a decade volunteering at the SPCA it has been heart-breaking to see families waiting till the kids have gone to school to bring in their much-loved dog after struggling to find a rental that would accept their pet. Especially with the current climate of a shortage of homes.

My business partner and I have both had previous failed relationships and struggled to find a rental despite being fully employed, having great credit, and being OCD tidy. A tenant any landlords would jump at – except we had dogs.

‘It is often suggested that having a pet in a tenancy adds to the landlord’s risk of suffering property damage however our experience has been exactly the opposite’

It is often suggested that having a pet in a tenancy adds to the landlord’s risk of suffering property damage however our experience has been exactly the opposite.

There are now many landlords that choose to allow pets. Why? Because tenants with much-loved fur babies are so grateful to have a clean, warm and tidy rental that they would do absolutely nothing to jeopardise the life of their pet. They often pay a higher rent and stay longer. To miss rent payments, party like it’s 1999, annoy neighbours and damage their rental actually can mean a death sentence for their pet.

Better Tenants

But before you go rushing out chasing tenants with animals here’s the big proviso. Not all tenants with pets are created equal; tenants from hell can also have animals and plenty of them.

There is a huge difference between a MUCH LOVED furry family member and an annoying afterthought. We have all seen the dog that is chained to a leaking shed, fed table scraps if someone can remember. These unwanted family members are often bored into chewing wood off the side of homes, barking all day, and digging holes. Tenants that can treat an animal like this will not look after your property.

Look for tenants who have mature, well cared for animals, not some kitten or puppy that they recently decided to get from a neighbour or relative.

With nearly 30 years as landlords, tenants with pets take priority over any other applicant, and there are no war stories to tell. We even allow dogs to come inside and there are no horror carpet stories to tell.

So next time if you have a suitable property try to look at assessing the tenant as a person. Don’t have any hard and fast rules – try to choose based on merit, the fact that the person has a much loved, well cared for, desexed, registered, the mature animal often gives you another layer to assess a potential tenant.

If you want further information about renting to people with pets or would like a copy of our pet application forms, just contact me at www.rentassured.co.nz.

Sisters, Debbie Van Den Broek, and Tracie Williams, decided to bring Rent Assured to Rotorua in 2016. Debbie has 35 years of experience in property investment, is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson and she’s built up and managed her own property portfolio for the past 25 years. Contact us to discuss your property management needs: http://www.rentassured.co.nz or phone Debbie: 021 131 6119

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