How to Rent with Pets

Story Highlights
  • #1 - Managing conflict
  • #2 - Dealing with the lease
  • #3 - Who is responsible?
  • #4 - Think before you decide

Pets do become part of the family, whether they’ve been with you for two months or two years. It’s not until the moment you try to rent with pets, that you realize how delicate this situation becomes with landlords and leases!

Being restricted from having pets on the property can lead to heated arguments, but in the end, the landlord has the final say:

#1 – Managing conflict

A lot of landlords don’t allow new pets on their properties, simply because they see them as a nuisance or because they might have pets themselves, which could lead to issues on its own.

By not allowing pets on the rental property, this can sometimes become a big problem when you’re dealing with a large percentage of people who are pet owners, which seriously reduces the potential pool of tenants.

Some of the arguments state that if a pet is ‘well-mannered‘, on its best behavior and doesn’t cause a nuisance, then there is no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed on properties.

Regardless of how tenants want to phrase it, the final decision still belongs to the owner of the house.

#2 – Dealing with the lease

It becomes even more complicated if the lease is not specific about keeping pets on the property, especially if the tenant didn’t have a pet at the time of signing the lease, but acquired one later.

The landlord would then have to prove how the ownership of a pet is prejudicial to either him or the property itself. There is currently no law that protects the right of a tenant to have a pet on the property.

If the landlord does agree that the tenant can have a pet, it is not unreasonable for them to also add an additional clause to the lease pertaining to the behavior of the pet as well as potential damages that might incur.

In fact, this might even become an essential part of the lease agreement.

From a landlord’s perspective, assuming pets are allowed in a pet-friendly sectional title unit, it is important that such conditions are clearly highlighted.

As a tenant, it is essential that the landlord knows about all the pets present on his property and that there is written permission stating that the pet is definitely allowed there.

Tenants should let the landlord have as much information about the pets as possible, which might include a picture of the animal, breed, temperament, and confirmation of sterilization.

#3 – Who is responsible?

A lot of standard rental agreements state that the pet remains the tenant’s responsibility and that it should be kept under control at all times.

The tenant also needs to ensure that the pet does not cause any type of damage, and if/when certain damage is caused, that the tenant agrees that he will be held accountable for it.

One needs to realize that in the event this part of the agreement is contravened that it may cause the termination of the lease!

Even though many sectional title owners are more laid back and allow for the presence of a pet, this might be overruled for a number of reasons. Certain Body Corporates might not allow for any new pets!

It’s no surprise to see that conflict arises when existing pets are seen in blocks and new tenants assume a precedent has been set, so they decide to rent a house or unit without checking the rules first, only to be denied having their pet move in!

Obviously, the tenants also need to consider whether the home is appropriate for their pet. Whereas smaller spaces such as apartments are unlikely to be adequate for large(r) dogs, it might be perfectly suitable for a cat or smaller animals in cages.

#4 – Think before you decide

It goes without saying that, as a tenant with a pet, ideally, one ought to avoid home advertisements without specific mention of them being pet-friendly. As it is a great feature to have as a rental property, it’ll more than likely not be the case if that text has been omitted from the ads.

From a landlord’s point of view, it is recommended that a higher deposit might be requested from the tenant with pets, as having pets on the property does increase the possibility of potential damage over time.

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