In demand, for dogs and cats

Renting out your investment property is often a bit scary, and finding the right tenants can be a dilemma. But, if you’re able to, expanding your search to include pet lovers could land you with the most perfect tenants of all. Pet-friendly rental properties are quite difficult to find, but there are big benefits attached to upgrading your rental property so that it’s suitable for tenants who have pets.

Animal lovers and homebodies

Typically, people who love their pets enjoy spending time with them. As a landlord, you’ll be pleased to know that people who love spending time with their pets are more likely to be at home as often as possible. This is a great benefit, not only from a security perspective but from the perspective of property upkeep too. By making your property pet-friendly, you’re expanding your pool of prospective tenants. Similarly, your property could command a higher rental price. After all, pet-friendly homes are in high demand in South Africa, has become a rarity, and not the norm, in the rental property environment.

Check the rules

Before you start upgrading your rental property, you must consider the type of property you’re renting out. We recommend:

  • If your investment property is part of a sectional title scheme, an apartment, or located within an estate, that you peruse all rules relating to the use of a property. A copy of your body corporate, estate, or other, rules, must also be provided to your tenant, once they move in.
  • If your investment property is a stand-alone property, like a house, that you check its suitability for pets. A stand-alone property may sound like a great idea for a family who loves their dogs, but a fully paved garden would not leave any room for lawn romps and ball games with the hounds.
  • If your investment property is an apartment, you’ll have to be explicit in terms of its suitability for pets. Typically, an apartment is suitable for small domestic pets, like cats, birds, or hamsters, but would be entirely unsuitable for a dog.

Step 2: Fun with fencing

Now that you’re sure your property can be upgraded to be pet-friendly, it’s time to plan, measure, and start renovating! Before you start thinking about what to do indoors, you must consider your property’s external areas. To make your rental property’s external areas pet-friendly, you should:

  • Ensure that your fence, wall, or similar perimeter boundary measures are high enough to prevent pets escaping, and sturdy enough to ensure that they can be kept safe when outdoors.
  • Consider unique additions to your outdoor areas. For example, if your rental property doesn’t have a big garden, and you’re keen to rent to cat lovers, consider installing a catio. A catio is an outdoor cat enclosure, that is attached to your property. Catios are made to help cats explore and enjoy the outdoor life while remaining in relative safety.
  • Plan for additional features, including dog kennels, feeding stations, a rabbit hutch, or similar. Of course, the type and amount of pets your pet-friendly rental is suited for must be set to a limit.

Step 3: Floors and all

A fully carpeted home is never going to be a pet-friendly dream. Pet fur and dander is shed all too often and gets caught up in your carpet all too quickly. Most of all, accidents happen, and you don’t want to be left with any strange stains in the carpet. Perhaps you’d like to keep the carpets in the bedrooms, and that should be fine. But, for the major living spaces in your rental property, we recommend replacing the carpets with easy-to-clean tiles or concrete. If your home has antique or wooden fittings, it may also be appropriate to replace those with aluminium fittings, or similar.

Step 4: Security and safety

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly property checklist, we’ve got one right here! But, as a landlord and property owner, there are a few more things you need to do, before renting out a pet-friendly property:

  • Check your gates and other entrances. It’s all very well having a wonderful wall, but it’s absolutely pointless if your gate motor is faulty.
  • As a landlord, you may outsource your property’s maintenance to service providers, like a gardening service or a maintenance team. They’ll need to be informed that pets are now living on your property, and make suitable arrangements with your tenants to ensure that all pets remain secure, no matter the comings and goings.
  • Accidents happen, but they can mostly be prevented. Ensuring your pool is fenced off, and water features are safe for pets to be around, is essential.

Step 5: The lease

Renting out your pet-friendly property can be successful, so long as everyone sticks to the terms and conditions of your lease. We recommend your lease:

  • Specifically states the type and number of pets that are allowed to reside within your rental property.
  • Makes provision for your tenant to fix any damages caused by their pets before they move out.
  • Outlines acceptable noise levels, or any potential disturbances that may affect your neighbours. Specifically state the limit of what will be tolerated, and what will require remedial action.

Good luck in your search for the perfect pet-lover tenant!