A CAIRNS real estate agent has called for more landlords to allow tenants to have pets.
First National Real Estate chairman and First National Cairns Central managing director David Forrest said according to the Residential Tenants Authority, 62 per cent of households in Australia have a pet in the family, but only 10 per cent of Queensland properties allow them.
“We know not all pet owners are perfect, but experience shows that many families with pets are excellent tenants who are often willing to pay a small amount more, to accommodate their furry friends,” he said.
“Also, growing up with pets teaches children responsibility as well as providing companionship, love and a great motivator to exercise, which in a world with an increasing focus on digital entertainment, is vital.
“At First National, our message is to assess every instance on merit when it comes to pets, and not generalise.
“As a landlord, nobody wants their property to be damaged by animals, so it is often simpler just to put a blanket ban on pets.”
Current legislation in Queensland requires tenants to get written permission included in their tenancy agreement to have a pet.
Mr Forrest said the written contract ensures tenants are also responsible for any damage to the property caused during their tenancy and protects the landlord from additional costs.
“Keep in mind that when tenants vacate, the property must be returned in the same condition as it was before they moved in, less fair wear and tear and that also, it must be fumigated at the end of the tenancy,” he said.
“This is particularly important in our humid, tropical environment which can be a haven for ticks, fleas and other pests.”
Mr Forrest said allowing pets to stay, as well as their human owners, gives a landlord an edge.
“As the supply of rental properties looks set to increase, so too will the competition between landlords for the best tenants. By widening your pool to include pet owners, you will widen your audience,” he said.
“People also stay longer in pet friendly homes — it’s not easy to find one you love so once you have a great tenant on board, it is less likely they will move.”
Including a pet bond was also an option to give landlords peace of mind.
“First National supports new legislation allowing tenants to lodge an additional bond if they have a pet, to reassure the landlord,” Mr Forrest said.
“For those tenants out there who are thinking they can pull the fur over their landlord’s eyes and sneak in a pet — think again.
“As tempting as it may be, you don’t want to get evicted, forfeit your bond or have a ‘black mark’ against your name.
“Moving your pet in by stealth will result in you instantly breaking your lease, plus your neighbours will probably know if you have a pet and depending on the circumstances, may tell your landlord, which is never going to end well.”