A woman and a man moving into a new rental property with their dog

Worried that leasing Auckland rental properties that are pet-friendly can cause certain difficulties between landlords and tenants? It is very often the case. You can rest easy though. Why? Because we are here to provide the ultimate guide to make this task easier. Read on to learn:

  • tips to market your rental properties in Auckland as pet-friendly
  • what to avoid when renting to pet owners
  • how to ensure you are protected from damages caused by pets

and much more!

Before you make your decision

It is estimated that only 14%-17% of rentals are pet-friendly around New Zealand. This means that this type of property is rather scarce and, as such, there is a great demand for it.

Since more and more people are choosing to get pets (especially millennials, who happen to make up the largest proportion of renters currently), pet-friendly Auckland rental properties are always exceptionally popular with tenants.

Some pros of renting to pet owners are the facts that:

  • Tenants are willing to pay more for properties that allow pets.
  • Due to the low availability of pet-friendly properties, tenants are likely to stay longer when they find one. Landlords, therefore, have less tenant turnover.
  • Pet owners tend to be reliable as individuals since caring for a pet requires a lot of responsibility.

Some cons, on the other hand, of renting to pet owners can include the facts that:

  • Pets might cause damage to the rental property.
  • Some pets can be very noisy, causing problems with the neighbours.
  • Landlords may be held responsible in the rare event where pets may cause harm or injury.

 

Read on to find some practical tips for pet-friendly Auckland landlords!

Pets

1. Decide which pets you accept

There are many different pets one can have these days: from cats, dogs, rabbits, ferrets, and other rodents to fish, reptiles, birds, stick insects, and even miniature pigs! The most common ones, of course, are cats and dogs, followed by birds. Before signing a tenancy agreement you should decide firmly which pets you are ready to allow in your property and inform your potential tenant about it.

2. Decide on the number of pets accepted

The number of pets a landlord will accept depends on various factors, such as the local laws, the size of the property, their insurance policy, and the type and size of the pet. Ultimately, it is up to the landlord, based on these considerations, to decide how many pets they will allow.

3. Decide on accepting inside/outside pets

A factor to consider when deciding on what types of pets to accept is the pet’s habitat. There are pets that live indoors, others that can be only kept outside, and some that can be kept both inside and outside.

Cats and dogs can be kept both indoors and outdoors, depending on their breed and how they are raised. There are types of rabbits that specifically live indoors and others that thrive outside. Caged rodents and fish in tanks should be kept indoors. Check what type of environment your tenant’s pet needs.

House & Garden

Infographic enlisting tips for pet-friendly Auckland landlords4. Avoid white colour

To damage-proof your NZ rental property, avoid the colour white in general. This applies to walls, your carpets, and your furniture. Playful pets are very likely to leave visible stains on light-coloured surfaces that will be hard to clean.

5. Get rid of carpets

If you can avoid installing carpets in your Auckland rental property, do so. Pets, especially young ones, are likely to have accidents. Getting pet urine out of a carpet is pretty difficult and often requires taking the carpet to the dry-cleaner’s. This is both money- and time-consuming.

6. Buy pet-friendly furniture

A great idea for landlords offering Auckland houses for rent to pet owners is to equip your house in a pet-friendly manner. For example, try using:

  • removable seat covers
  • replaceable panels
  • pet-proof trash cans
  • arm covers
  • pet-resistant fabrics

7. Make pet doors

A pet door or flap is a small opening that allows pets to enter and exit a building on their own. They are most commonly designed for cats and dogs so that they can move independently, without the need for humans to open doors.

Normally, you would install a pet door on a front or back door that leads to a yard or garden or on a balcony door.

The average price of installing a medium-size pet door is just under $200.

8. Make a fence

A fence around the property will appeal to pet owners, as it ensures that their pet will stay off the road or picked up by a stranger. Fences enhance not only your property’s but also your pet’s security.

9. Build a doghouse

A doghouse can also be a good idea for landlords of pet-friendly properties. If the property features a garden, it encourages a dog to spend time outside in its own space rather than roaming around the interior.

Human Factor

10. Consult other pet-friendly landlords

If in doubt about offering your Auckland house to rent to pet owners, talking to other pet-friendly landlords can help! You can ask them questions about the best ways to deal with various issues and learn from their experiences.

To find other landlords, try:

  • online NZ forums, such as www.propertytalk.com
  • asking your family, friends, and acquaintances for recommendations of people to talk to
  • posting on a relevant group on social media

11. Make an inquiry about your potential pet-owning tenant

To find information about a potential tenant, a good idea is to read reviews on landlord websites or ask for the opinion of the rental Auckland property management company or individual who accompanied them previously.

The type of information you should be interested in when it comes to screening tenants who own pets is whether they have been responsible during past tenancies. Have they had any pet-related issues with previous landlords? Are there any complaints against them, related to excessive noise or other issues?

If you discover that your tenant has had problems with previous tenancies because of their pet, talk to them to find out why. You should be discouraged if previous landlords report any pet-related problems. This indicates that the owners may not be responsible and that you are likely to encounter other problems, too.

 

Market Issues

12. Market yourself as a pet-friendly landlord

3 great ways to market yourself as a pet-friendly landlord are the following:

  • Use photos of your pets in your marketing materials and social media.
  • Support with the pet community and donate to animal charities.
  • Hire a property manager to guarantee your message is communicated effectively.

13. Increase rent charges

Pet-friendly landlords normally increase their charges since their property is always in high demand.

14. Invest in property near parks (tip for landlords-to-be)

A great tip for pet-friendly landlords is to invest in properties near parks. Pet-owners are always on the lookout for properties nearby green spaces where they can walk and play with their dogs. Bonus points if your property is next to an actual dog park!

Legal Issues

15. Research local pet regulations

The city of Auckland has specific pet regulations for dog owners.

Among others, these are:

  • Dog registration is mandatory in Auckland and dogs must be microchipped.
  • It is mandatory to pick up after your dog and dispose of the waste responsibly.
  • If you own two or more dogs, you will have to apply for a license that allows you to keep multiple dogs on your property.
  • There are leash laws in the city, dictating where dogs can be unleashed.

It is necessary to check whether you and your property comply with these rules before renting to a pet owner.

16. Photograph your property before renting

It is also necessary to photograph your property before renting it in order to document the condition before a pet moved into it, in case damages occur during the tenancy and they are disputed by the tenants. Photographs will serve as proof of the original condition of the property.

Landlords should not forget to also photograph all the chattels, which are basically items that are ‘loose’ at the property. This includes anything not actually fixed to the property, such as furniture, plant pots, freestanding kitchen units, and intruder alarms, among other things.

A family of three sitting at the table with their dog

17. Verbalise your restrictions

It is important to communicate your restrictions to your tenant before they move in. Be very clear when it comes to everything from what animals you will allow to how many of them, and define your expectations. Tell the pet-owner what their responsibilities are and what the consequences will be if the property incurs any damages.

Do not forget that pet rules should always be included into the tenancy agreement.

18. Enlist tenant’s costs

It is advisable for landlords to include the tenant’s costs into the tenancy agreement. The tenants should be aware in advance not only of what the amount of the pet deposit is but also of what costs they will be charged in case the pet clause of the tenancy agreement is broken.

Normally, pet owners will have to bear responsibility for:

  • carpet and furniture cleaning
  • pest treatment (e.g. in case of fleas)
  • not getting more pets than the agreed amount
  • their animals being vaccinated property

19. Charge a deposit (bond)

A deposit, or bond, is a sum of money that a tenant gives to the landlord in case there is damage to the property during their tenancy. This amount is kept or deducted from if something is broken at the end of a tenancy or, if not, it is returned.

It is advisable to take the deposit from tenants in the beginning of the tenancy before they move in so that there are no disputes later on if there are damages and they withhold it from you as a result. The maximum amount of bond that a landlord can charge is the equivalent of a 4-weeks’ rent.

20. Consult a Property Manager

A Property Manager can help you establish fair rules for pet-owning tenants. They can do this by screening tenants to ensure they are respo