Reducing pet rental risks

Friday 12 January 2018

Taking a pet-friendly approach to rental property can deliver significant benefits to landlords - if done properly, according to one property management company.

By Miriam Bell

While 67% of New Zealanders own pets, just 13% to 14% of landlords allow tenants in their rental properties to own pets.

But a decline in home ownership means more New Zealanders are renting - and many of them have pets but struggle to find rental properties that will accept them.

There is now a growing movement in support of pet-friendly rentals and the new government recently announced that Housing NZ’s pet policy is set to become more accommodating.

Despite this, many landlords remain concerned about the risks (specifically damage and the related costs) of offering pet-friendly rentals.

But allowing pets in rentals doesn’t have to lead to problems and, in fact, it can have the reverse effect.

Ark Property Management’s Grace Gray says that tenants with pets are often willing to pay more to secure a home.

Some studies show that tenants with pets pay an average of 15% more rent per week and stay for around nine months longer, she says.

One example is recent Barfoot & Thompson data which shows that, in the year ending August 2017, new rentals which allowed pets received an additional $54.46 per week on average.

Gray says that for a landlord this means allowing pets in their rentals can result in a significantly higher return on investment, both through the higher weekly return and through reduced periods of vacancies.

However, she understands that some landlords have had negative experiences due to having pets in a rental property while other landlords have concerns about the perceived risks that come with pets.

This has led to a situation whereby landlords tend to take a blanket “no pets” approach, even though there is high demand for rental properties from tenants who are responsible pet owners.

For this reason, Ark Property Management has developed a special “pet programme” for landlords who use their services.

A major component of the programme is their “pet CV” which robustly vets the suitability of every tenant’s pet(s) via a system including references, certificates, vaccination and registration checks.

Gray says this means that not only are potential tenants thoroughly checked out but so too are their pets.

The programme also includes two extra pet property inspections annually and an annual commercial carpet clean for no additional cost.

Gray says their programme aims to minimise the risks to landlords, as well as opening up their investments to higher returns, longer tenancies and a larger pool of tenants. 

Read more:

Opening rental doors to pets 

Welcome mat for pets 

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