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Why a pet-friendly rental could boost your income potential

By Andrew Bell

Making your residential investment property on the Gold Coast pet-friendly could boost your income potential by widening your tenant base. Having cats, dogs and all sorts of other pets running around inside your investment might create some more maintenance costs over time, but you can reflect that in the rent.

Pets are popular in Australia. A whopping 62 per cent of households in Australia own a pet of some kind, according to the Australian Veterinary Association. When 5.7million out of 9.2million households have pets, and the people want to live somewhere their furry (or scaly/fishy/feathery) friend can live alongside them, it's a smart move to attract them to your property. However, it's not as simple as stating you have a pet-friendly property.

Making your investment home pet-friendly

Converting your investment into a home that's ready to house a critter can take some consideration. For example, is the place fenced or could a curious dog escape the yard easily? You'll need to install a cat door to attract anyone with cats. Go one step further (if you need to change the flooring anyway) and install a more hardy carpet or floor option to reduce the impact of pets wearing it out or making a mess.

Insurance costs may increase if you allow pets in your rental, but you can increase the rent cost to counter that – especially if there aren't many pet-friendly options in the surrounding area. When there are fewer options, renters will just have to pay the extra.

Advantages of a pet-friendly rental

Due to the fact that there are fewer pet-friendly rental options on the market, you could have longer tenancies. When a pet owner finds a suitable property for their family (including the pet) they may be more reluctant to move frequently. Where possible, they're likely to stick around for many years, reducing your vacancy rate. That means you'll have a steady stream of income and won't have to cover the costs of the property alone.

Further, someone who takes good care of a pet is more likely to be a responsible person in general. They'll take care of your home and will do whatever they can to avoid being evicted because finding another appropriate home might be tough.

As previously mentioned, your tenant pool is significantly expanded when you allow pets in your rental. While 62 per cent of households in Australia own pets, they're not all cats and dogs (which could be the most damaging to your property). In Australia, there are a total of:

  • 4.8million dogs,
  • 3.9million cats,
  • 8.7million fish,
  • 4.2million birds,
  • 537,000 small mammals,
  • 415,000 reptiles, and
  • Around 1.5million other domesticated animals.

Having an aquarium in your home is not going to be nearly as damaging as having a dog padding around, for example. There won't be any smells left behind, no mess and no noise complaints.

Be clear about your expectations

You can allow pets in your rental home, but you can also be very clear about what you expect from the owners. If you don't want cats or dogs around, make that explicitly clear, because 'pet-friendly' is very general. Your property manager can help you communicate that information.

To help your neighbourly relations, make sure your tenants are aware of their responsibilities when it comes to noisy dogs or meowing cats late at night. It can become an issue if neighbours constantly complain. Be strict with your tenants about messes left behind and any lingering smells. If pets aren't regularly groomed or looked after, your property could bear the brunt of it. Ensure your tenancy agreement clearly states the owner's responsibilities.

For more information about making your rental home pet-friendly, or to discuss working with a property manager, get in touch with Ray White Surfers Paradise today.

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