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5 simple hacks to pet-proof your rental property

By Emma Smith
Presented byRACV
15 OCT 2018
New laws allowing pets into rental properties have granted much-needed relief to many of Victoria’s renters. However, if you’re a landlord and concerned about the effect a pet may have on your property, here are some protective measures worth considering. Rental reforms in Victoria have loosened restrictions on bringing pets into rental properties. However, some landlords are worried about what this will do to the condition of their property.  There are, however, simple and minimal adjustments that can pet-proof your place.

These simple changes will ensure you, your tenants and their pets can live happily ever after.

1. Chat to your tenant

The very first step should be to have a friendly chat to your tenant. What kind of pet do they have? Is it strictly an indoor/outdoor pet? Will it climb, fly, shed fur, scratch or chew?

Find out the needs of their pet in order to manage both of your expectations and perhaps you can tailor the property accordingly without having to invest too much.

Remember, it’s largely up to your tenant to repair any pet-related damage upon the end of the lease (unless it’s urgent), so this is in the interest of both parties.

2. Get a dog door

It’s up to the tenant to reverse any pet-related damage to a rental property. Picture: Kate Hunter

Speaking of inexpensive adjustments, consider installing a dog door.

Dogs and cats are likely to claw at doors if they want to get in or out, so save a few scratched panels or broken fly screens with this easy fix.

3. Get insurance

Most landlords should have some form of insurance protection in the event of mishaps, but some companies have extended their policies to cover for pet damage.

They may be cute, but pets can cause serious property damage. Insurance protects against the inevitable. Picture: Kate Hunter

“Preventing where you can is great, but it’s good to have the insurance there if you do need to draw on it,” RACV Landlord Insurance spokesperson, Simon Hasell, explains.

“RACV Landlord Insurance covers pet damage to building and contents, so things like if a pet runs through a screen door, or chews on the bottom of a door frame will be covered, less the standard bond amount received by the tenant.”

4. Conduct regular inspections

Protect yourself by conducting thorough, regular property inspections, and make sure you have a clear, up-to-date condition report before new tenants arrive.

Once the tenant’s lease is up, they will be responsible for repairing damage beyond wear and tear, as well as cleaning and fumigating as required.

5. Look to the future

The Victorian rental reforms may not come into effect until July 2020, so if you’re building an investment property now and want a steady stream of renters (who may bring pets!) in the future, consider your choice of flooring, doors, windows and carpets.

Opening your property up to renters with pets could increase competition for your lease. Picture: Kate Hunter

Finally, it’s important to note that you’re allowed to protest having pets on your property. You can appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for your right to refuse, within reason.

Ray White Drysdale strongly recommends that our owners read through their insurance policy to ensure that they are covered for any events, and suggest contacting your insurance broker for advice.

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