Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why landlords should support pets in rentals

The Daily Telegraph has published an article about a push from the left of NSW Labor for a ban on "no pets" policies in rentals. We've previously discussed why reforming no pets clauses is a really good idea. This is a good signal that significant parts of the Labor party are realising that property ownership is not the be all and end all of the way we create homes. For many people, creating a home includes caring for a pet.

The NSW Greens have held renter positive policies for a while now, and the push from Labor left indicates that the political appeal of renters across the spectrum is growing. We encourage all parties to adopt these kinds of policies. To help in this effort, we'd like to address the landlords in the room, and talk about why you should support this push, and whether you support Labor, Liberal, the Greens or the Christian Democrats, let your representative know that you are on board.

It is better for the animals.
Even if you don't like your tenants, from an animal welfare point of view this is a no-brainer. The RSPCA has been calling for these changes up and down the east coast - and their interest is clearly on the animal welfare side of this issue. Our shelters are full, and there is a large and growing population of people crying out to help.
No one is proposing Palominos in penthouses, or Angus cattle in apartment complexes. A reasonable restriction on the types of animals allowed in homes is acceptable - but should be set with the animal's welfare and needs of the community as the guide.

It is better for your insurance.
Every sensible landlord holds insurance on their investment. For most good insurance policies these days, pets are covered - but only if you have declared them to the insurance company.

The pets are here, whether you know about them or not. While many tenants don't have pets for fear of being caught and losing their loved one, sometimes tenants who owned a pet before moving also couldn't face the thought of their companion being put down in the shelter - so they conceal them or pretend they belong to neighbours. Isn't it far better that tenants can be honest and tell you about their pet and you can enjoy the confidence knowing that even if there is some damage over the bond, your costs will be covered?

And in all likelihood, it won't cost you.
Tenants pay bonds. Less than 10% of bonds are claimed in full by landlords, and in our experience the majority of those claims are actually made on rent arrears or tenants leaving the lease early. That means you've got a whole lot of bond to give you comfort around the more minor every day costs like fumigation, and extra wear and tear on carpets or floorboards. Most pet owning tenants pay for these things before it gets to the bond anyway, but the system is there.

Even if you do need to make a claim, no worries - us tenants have already subsidised your tribunal application. We pay $14 million a year from the interest on our bonds to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal to make sure your costs aren't too high.

In the end, the question you really need to ask yourself is - would you vote against this face?

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