Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Renting with pets- is it possible?

It can be difficult for tenants with pets to find a suitable property or a land owner who will consider allowing them, but thankfully this is changing.

The increasing number of people who keep pets for companionship or security means that many land owners are becoming more understanding.
If a rented property is leased through an agency it will be looked after by a property manager. Their role is to manage the property for the owner, but it is the owner who chooses what happens to their investment including whether or not pets will be considered.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), owners have the right to refuse animals, although most property managers will advise owners to keep an open mind.

Some owners choose not to allow animals because of allergies or a previous bad experience. Undisciplined animals can cause damage to floorings, curtains, furniture and gardens. They can also disrupt neighbours.

Of course, many pet owners are responsible guardians and greatly appreciate land owners who are fair and reasonable.

Property managers are aware that many people have pets, particularly cats and dogs, and that these animals are often well cared for and regarded as ‘family.’ Property managers will usually recommend that land owners consider applicants with pets provided the dwelling is suitable for them.

As a tenant it’s always best to be upfront about all the circumstances under which you will be renting and references for animals can assist with the processing of a rental application. A positive letter from a previous land owner or property manager can be a big help.

Some property managers might require a photo of a dog seeking a tenancy to ensure it does not breach the Restricted Dog Breeds regulations 2002.

Tenants must understand that if they are approved to have an animal on the property, then approval is only for that particular animal. Further approval must be sought for additional animals or a replacement pet if the original one dies or moves out.

Under the Residential Tenancy Act,  a pet bond of $260 may be taken if approval is given for a dog or cat. This money can only be used for fumigation where required.

Any repairs to damage caused by the animal that is not rectified by the tenants at the end of their lease will be deducted from the main bond. No bond can be taken for additional animals and landlords cannot ask more than the $260 regardless of pet numbers.