Should you allow tenants to keep a pet on your investment property?

Should you allow tenants to keep a pet on your investment property?

Everyone has a different opinion on this topic. But we know pet ownership is on the rise as tenants look for a companion animal to introduce to their households. surveyed more than 1,300 Australian renters on the topic of ‘renting with pets’ and found, overwhelmingly, that 42% of renters found it ‘extremely difficult’ to find a place to rent which would also accept their pets, despite almost two thirds (or 63 percent) of Australian households owning pets.

Renters regularly face obstacles in their search for a pet-friendly property. While many landlords might choose to eventually welcome pets, only 25% of’s property listings specify ‘pets allowed.’

The standard form of agreement issued by NSW Fair Trading includes additional terms which require tenants to have your consent to keep animals. Most strata schemes will also have a by-law about the keeping of animals. The by-law might allow an animal to be kept with the prior written approval of the owners corporation, or prohibit animals (except assistance animals) altogether. The landlord or agent must provide the by-laws for the building within 7 days of a tenant moving into a strata scheme.

Here are some other tips on what to consider before accepting a pet in your rental property.

You or your property manager should have a section on their tenancy application form for a tenant to declare the details of their pet.  The number, type and breed of animal(s) will often play a role in whether you can approve the tenant’s pet.  For example, you might be very happy to allow your tenant to keep a budgie in a cage, but not wo bull mastiff dogs.  So, the tenancy application is a good place to start and help you decide whether you want to consider the pet further. 

If, after seeing the pet application, you’re considering approving the pet, investigate:

  • If your investment property is a unit/townhouse, whether the by-laws will allow pets in the strata complex or strata community
  • Whether the pet has been living at the tenant’s current rental property
  • What the tenant’s rental reference is like, with particular attention to how the property was presented and cared for in the areas the pet lived
  • If the pet is appropriately de-sexed and registered with local council (make sure sight certificates to prove this)
  • Photos or videos of the pet to show that it does look like the breed described in the application form
  • Photos or video of the house and yard that the pet has been living in

If you’re satisfied with the information you’ve received, then make sure you or your property manager refers to the conditions that the tenant is allowed to keep the pet under within the tenancy agreement, so that you and your investment property are adequately protected.

Noise and nuisance

All tenants have a responsibility not to cause or permit a nuisance, and not to interfere with the peace, comfort and privacy of a neighbour. If you have a pet that makes excessive noise it is possible that this will breach your tenancy agreement. Whether the noise is reasonable will depend on the particular circumstances, including frequency and the time of day. Other forms of nuisance, like chasing the neighbour, or breaking into their yard, can also qualify as a breach of your agreement. Making sure the property is appropriate for your pet, including reporting any necessary repairs to fences or gates, can avoid these issues.

Damage to premises

All tenants have a responsibility to not intentionally or negligently cause damage to premises, and to return the premises in a similar condition as at the beginning of the tenancy. In most cases wear and tear caused by a pet may not be acceptable. If the pet causes damage to the premises, by scratching doors or floorboards, it will be the tenant's responsibility to fix or pay for the damage.

Cleaning at the end of premises

Additional terms that require tenants to have the premises professionally cleaned or fumigated when they move out are usually valid and in most cases are available as default conditions.

Pet bonds

Landlords and agents sometimes ask for additional amounts of bond (that is, over and above the usual four weeks’ bond) if you keep a pet. These ‘pet bonds’ are often not lodged with Renting Services and instead are kept in an account maintained by the landlord or agent. Pet bonds are not lawful in NSW at the present moment but legislators are looking at this very closely to align such practices with some of the other states of Australia who do allow pet bonds.

All in all research has shown that those tenants who are granted permission to keep an animal are more likely to stay longer at the premises due to the struggle of finding a pet friendly home and are willing to pay up to $50.00 per week over the market price for the privilege of keeping a pet. There are financial benefits to those landlords who take on the risk of letting out their property as per friendly.

Last word of caution. Not all landlord insurance policies have coverage for pet damage. Do check your policy carefully and make sure your property is adequately covered for the keeping of pets by your tenant.

If you would like to discuss the pros and cons of allowing pets on your investment property, contact me on 0418 600 806 or via the contact form on the website.