A Guide to Renting with Pets
Making the decision to adopt a pet is a long-term lifestyle commitment – whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, fish (or any other exotic animal for that matter), it takes a lot of love, time, and effort to keep your furry friends healthy and happy.
This can be easier said than done, especially when you’re renting property from a landlord. The following guide provides some tips on owning pets while you’re renting, and what regulations are in place for each state.
Communication is key
It can be quite daunting to apply for rental properties when you have pets – especially when the default policy for many landlords and property agents is “No Pets Allowed”.
However, this is usually a placeholder rule – the only way you’ll find out how your landlord or property agent feels about having pets on the property is by talking to them. Depending on the type of property being rented (i.e. a house or apartment), you may be surprised at how receptive your landlord could be to the idea – the important thing is to be open, transparent, and above all respectful of the owner’s decision.
Understand your state’s regulations
Despite what you may think, there are very different regulations for keeping pets in rental properties between each of the states.
If you live in Western Australia, you are required to pay a $260 pet bond to cover the cost of cleaning and fumigation once you decide to vacate the property. While this may seem like a lot, it is quite common to have most (if not some) of this amount refunded if you keep your pets outside, and make sure you’re cleaning up after them.
Many of the Eastern States have stricter policies when it comes to renting with pets, but recently there have been calls to reform some of these to give renters more bargaining power. If you’re unsure of the rules in your state, head to your state government’s website to double-check what the current regulations are.
Prepare your application in advance
On the topic of bargaining, it always helps to be prepared before approaching your landlord. Creating a “pet reference” that includes the animal’s age, size, temperament, and vaccination history shows that you are a serious and proactive pet-owner.
You can even add character references from your vet or previous landlords to give your application some extra legitimacy from a third-party. The key is to provide your landlord with as much assurance as possible that you are a responsible caretaker.
Including a super-cute photo is another great way to get the landlord on your side – it is a lot harder to say no with big puppy dog eyes staring back at you!
Try to see things from your landlord’s perspective – understand the reasons why they may be hesitant to approve your application and come up with some strategies to put their mind at ease. Having a formally written agreement to address these concerns is another great way to accomplish this.