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More Rental Homes Should Be Pet-Friendly

By David Whiteman

While two-thirds of households in Queensland own pets, only 10% of Queensland rentals are pet-friendly, according to Carolyn Parrella, executive manager of landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer Insurance.

More than 600 of the pets surrendered to Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) in 2016 were due to the owners’ inability to find pet-friendly rental homes, according to Terri Scheer Insurance.

“We need more savvy landlords, who recognise the benefits of allowing pets and who will specifically target pet-owning renters as their ideal tenant,” she said. “Allowing pets gives landlords access to a larger pool of prospective tenants, while their tenants may choose to rent the property for longer knowing they can keep their furry friends.”

On the other hand, Parrella recognised that allowing pets in rental homes could be a risk for landlords, but said there were ways for landlords to pet-proof their rental properties.

“From our experience, damage is the main fear stopping landlords from allowing pets. This can include soiled carpets, claw and teeth marks on walls and door frames, and damage to gardens and exterior fences,” she said. “Making modifications to the property can help to lower maintenance and reduce the chance of pet damage. This could include backyard fencing or animal runs, to enclose cats and dogs to specific areas, or replacing carpets with tiles and floorboards which are easier to clean.”

Parrella also advised landlords to enforce a reasonable pet policy, which could include requesting that pets be housed outside under shelter, as well as limiting the types of pets housed on the property.

“An appropriate landlord insurance policy is also a must-have risk management strategy. Landlords should thoroughly check and compare policies though, as not all provide cover for pet damage,” she said.

As for renters, they could work harder to make themselves more appealing to prospective landlords.

“Tenants should provide references from their previous landlords or property managers as proof that they and their pet can be responsible tenants,” Parrella said. “Tenants who go ‘above and beyond’ may be more likely to find a pet-accommodating landlord. This could include signing a pet agreement that includes periodic professional cleaning to ensure the removal of pet hair and odours.”

By Michael Mata | 07 Jun 2017

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