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Queensland tenancy reforms; Paving the way towards pet-friendly properties and higher rental returns!

By Rachel Devery

As much as a tenant bringing a four-legged friend to an investment property might be a landlord’s nightmare, pet-friendly properties can be a smart investment, and due to recent legislative changes, they are on the rise!

There is no denying that Australians love their pets! According to Animal Medicine Australia, more than 69 per cent of Australians have a pet. Research shows that animals are a vital part of Australian families, lifestyle and homes, and with 31 per cent of the Gold Coast’s population living in rental properties, where does this leave Gold Coast landlords?

Historically, many property owners haven’t favoured the presence of pets in their investment properties due to the risks to the property itself, including potential damage from pets chewing, scratching and digging, not to mention the potential for nasty smells in carpets and flooring. Following Queensland tenancy reforms in October last year, more dogs are set to get off the leash and be put on the lease, with new laws swinging towards making pet-friendly tenancies more accessible for renters.

According to the Residential Tenancies Authority, the following are now the only grounds for a landlord to refuse approval to keep a pet:
– the request exceeds a reasonable number of animals to be kept at the premises;
– the premises is not suitable for a pet (i.e. lack of fencing);
– the pet may cause a health and safety risk (i.e. venomous pets);
– the likely damage the pet may cause to the premises could not practically be repaired for a cost less than the amount of the rental bond;
– the pet will contravene a law or body corporate by-law, or
– the animal stated in the request is not a pet.

While the pet reforms are invoking alarm among property investors, the reality is that pet-friendly rental properties can offer a competitive advantage to landlords. Dog-friendly rental properties are in high demand on the Gold Coast, and it is a trend that landlords should consider if they want to adapt to new legislation, as well as open their doors to the many benefits of offering pet-friendly tenancies.

Benefits of pet-friendly investment properties:

• Pet owners can be willing to pay higher rental amounts in order to secure a home that will allow for their whole family to stay, including their beloved pets; this means a higher return on your investment.
• Pet-friendly properties receive more enquiries so property managers can be extra selective in choosing the right tenants from a larger pool of applications.
• Pet-friendly properties lease very quickly – it is rare to find a vacant property that allows a pet – this can save landlords in vacancy costs.
• Pet owners can make excellent tenants! They understand how hard it is to find a suitable home, so they are more likely to go out of their way to impress landlords and property managers to avoid having to find another pet-friendly home.
• Pet owners typically seek longer leases; this can reduce advertising and vacancy costs for landlords, as well as take the hassle out of finding new tenants.

With benefits such as stronger demand and potentially higher rental returns on the table for landlords, it might certainly be worth it to allow tenants to bring along their four-legged friends. If you would like any further information about pet-friendly options for your investment, reach out to our experts who can offer you the right advice.

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