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Should You Let Tenants Have Pets?

By David Bell

Pet-friendly homes are an important factor for many people wishing to rent property in Rockhampton, but investors must consider a few factors before they can decide whether they will allow tenants to have pets.

Two thirds of Australian households own pets, according to the Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC), which claims that responsible pet owners make excellent tenants.
The organisation states that by allowing tenants to have pets, a landlord can help improve profitability, reduce turnover and promote tenant safety and security.

However, many landowners are concerned about potential damage to their investments. Requiring a pet bond to cover the damage is one method some landlords may consider to get around this risk.

Unfortunately, the current law in Queensland, which covers real estate in Rockhampton, does not allow a pet bond to be taken from pet owners to compensate for damage caused by animals, so landlords may worry they will have to foot the bill.

Fergus Smith, General Manager of the Residential Tenancies Association, said the current maximum bond (four weeks rent) is enough to cover any destruction caused by pets.

If they decide to allow animals, landlords can make it clear that tenants are responsible for all pet-related damage by including it in the tenancy agreement.

If pets are included in this document, it is also important to specify the number permitted, whether they are allowed inside and if any pest control will be required at the end of the tenancy.

ACAC suggests landlords ask tenants a few screening questions before allowing pets in their units. Questions may cover whether the animal has been neutered and vaccinated, whether it caused damage in previous addresses, and who would care for the pet if the owner went on holiday.

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