'We need more pet-friendly landlords' in Australia
Pets are feeling the pressure of Queensland's tough rental market.
More than 600 pets were surrendered to Animal Welfare League Queensland last year because the owners were unable to find a pet-friendly rental home.
With the number of forfeited pets expected to rise, landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer Insurance is calling for more pet-friendly rental properties.
"Two-thirds of households own pets but only 10% of Queensland rentals are pet-friendly. The numbers just don't stack up," says Carolyn Parrella, executive manager of Terri Scheer Insurance.
"We need more savvy landlords who recognise the benefits of allowing pets and who will specifically target pet-owning renters as their ideal tenant.
"Allowing pets gives landlords access to a larger pool of prospective tenants, while their tenants may choose to rent the property for longer knowing they can keep their furry friends."
Parrella says allowing pets can be a risk for landlords but there are ways to pet-proof a rental property.
"From our experience, damage is the main fear stopping landlords from allowing pets," she says.
"This can include soiled carpets, claw and teeth marks on walls and door frames, and damage to gardens and exterior fences.
"Making modifications to the property can help to lower maintenance and reduce the chance of pet damage. This could include backyard fencing or animal runs, to enclose cats and dogs to specific areas, or replacing carpets with tiles and floorboards which are easier to clean.
"Landlords may also choose to enforce a reasonable pet policy, which could include requesting that pets are housed outside under shelter and limiting the number of type of pets at the property.
"An appropriate landlord insurance policy is also a must-have risk management strategy. Landlords should thoroughly check and compare policies though, as not all provide cover for pet damage."
Parrella says renters with pets could also make themselves more appealing to prospective landlords.
"Tenants should provide references from their previous landlords or property managers as proof that they and their pet can be responsible tenants," she says.
"Tenants who go 'above and beyond' may be more likely to find a pet-accommodating landlord. This could include signing a pet agreement that includes periodic professional cleaning to ensure the removal of pet hair and odours."
Pet owners may also find it beneficial to introduce the prospective landlord to their pets, she says, to demonstrate the animal's good behaviour and training.
"In some states, tenants can offer to pay or landlords can request a pet bond. This is an amount surplus to the standard rental bond to cover higher costs associated with housing pets, such as additional cleaning costs or maintenance."
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