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Laws have been introduced to make it harder for landlords to refuse requests by tenants to keep pets, in most states. However, allowing pets to live in your investment property can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you’ll have a wider pool of prospective tenants, potentially increasing your rental returns and helping you to retain tenants longer. On the other hand, there is also the potential for pets to cause damage. So, what can you do to protect your investment?

Catering for pets in your investment property could help your tenants prevent their pets from causing any serious damage. Here are some great tips for catering for ‘fur-children’ in your investment property!

Modify the property to make it pet-friendly

Since you may not be able to avoid renting to tenants with pets, you may like to add pet-friendly features to reduce the risk of damage to the interior of the property. Providing facilities to help your tenants keep their pets outdoors will minimise the time they spend inside the house, which may save you money in the long-run on maintenance and repairs.

For example, a secure cat or dog door will make it easier for small pets to get out. This will reduce the need for litter trays and discourage them from doing their business inside. It will also eliminate the tendency to scratch at a door or flyscreen when they want to go out.

Include some outdoor features for pets

One necessity for pet owners is a well-maintained fence to keep their fur-children safe when outdoors. Ensure there are no gaps where a pet can easily escape. The risk of a pet getting out is likely to cause your tenants to leave their pets inside the house, rather than in the yard and over time, this is likely to cause the kind of damage you want to prevent.

Another great idea is to provide a pet enclosure or pen in the garden, with a covered area where pets can take shelter from the sun and rain. If your tenant has a large dog, they will think this is a great option and may even pay more to rent your property. Cat lovers will also appreciate a secure enclosure where their cats can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air without being left to run loose – many councils make it illegal to leave a cat outdoors after dark, and busy roads are always a worry.

Additionally, it may be a good idea to modify the garden to make it low-maintenance and suitable for pets. Rather than worry about the pets digging up your expensive landscaping, keep things simple with grassy areas and plenty of bushes and shrubs for shade.

Avoid expensive carpets

With an investment property, it’s best to choose flooring that will be durable and easy to keep clean in the long-run. Carpets are never a great option as they breed dust mites and are a hazard for asthma sufferers – but throw a pet into the mix and things can get smelly! Hard flooring – like tiles or laminate – is likely to be a better option, as it wears better than carpets over time, and is much more resilient to those little accidents which often occur with even the best trained house pets.

If your property already has hard wood floors, simply take up the carpets and get them sanded and polished. Alternatively, there are some great inexpensive vinyl flooring options that look fantastic and are extremely easy to clean and maintain.

Consider taking out landlord insurance

Before tenants with pets move in, it’s a good idea to consider taking out landlord insurance. Importantly, make sure your policy covers damage caused by a domestic pet or animal residing in your property. This is not always the case, so be sure to read the fine print.

Pet-friendly rental properties are often in high demand, and as an investor, it may work to your advantage to allow pets into your property. It will certainly give you access to a wider market of renters, some of whom may be willing to sign longer leases and/or pay higher rents for your property if you cater for their pets the right way.

For an honest and unbiased opinion or to discuss your requirements with an industry expert, talk to Think and Grow Finance today on 03 8390 5855 or email