Menu

Accepting pets in your rental properties can be a bit risky, but that doesn’t mean you should make it im-paws-ible for renters to bring their pets along. Here are some tips for avoiding cat-astrophe when it comes to renters and pets:

 

Don’t reject pets out of hand.

There’s a big difference between a pit bull and a goldfish. Ask your renters exactly what types of pets they have and how well trained they are. For example, you could allow small pets such as hamsters, even if you’re not comfortable with dogs and cats. Or, you could require that dog owners supply proof of their pet’s graduation from obedience school before you can consider them. Ask for a picture of the pet to get a good idea of whether you’re comfortable having it on your rental property.

 

Certain situations might turn out to be im-paw-sible, so treat everything case-by-case.

A large dog in an apartment with no garden may get frisky. For that reason, you may need to set restrictions on the size of pets allowed if your rental property is small. Another thing to consider here is how often the renter will be home. Will they leave their dog alone all day while they work long hours? If so, this increases the risk of damage.

 

It’s purr-fectly fine to require that your tenants get professional cleaning done.

With furry pets, hair will probably end up on everything but the kitten sink. Don’t worry though—the majority of the time, it’s possible to clean up after messy pets. If you decide to allow pets, you can charge a small fee to cover extra cleaning, such as a professional steam clean, on a regular basis or just when the tenants move out.

 

Consider whether the interior is suited to pets.

Dogs and cats can scratch up carpeted or hardwood floors. Koalas might climb on the windowsills and rip the flyscreens to shreds. An angry kangaroo may box holes in the walls. Think about the durability of the house and whether it can handle potential damage. And, of course, make sure it’s the tenant’s responsibility to pay for repairs for specific types of damage do occur.

 

Catch pet damage early

When pets are involved, a property could paw-tentially end up in ruff shape! We take detailed video entry condition reports and compare them to the current condition with every routine inspection. This helps make sure that we catch pet damage early, and can call the tenant to account.

While no one can ever replace Elvis, you can be the King of tenant selection.

When reading that tenant application, avoid getting all shook up by asking yourself three key questions:

  • Can they afford the place?
  • Will they take care of it?
  • Are they easy to deal with?

We can’t help fallin’ in love with folks who tick the boxes below

 

Can they afford the place?

“Well it’s one for the money”…

Double-check their income – It should be at least 3x the rent. Verify earnings with their employer, and consider On-target earnings vs base. While anyone can go from rags to riches, beware of those who are moving for a future job that they don’t have yet.

 

“Are you lonesome tonight?”

Watch for housemates that aren’t on the application –  Check the number of people on the application vs the number of rooms. If 5 people rock up for the inspection of your 2br, be on guard. We always ask specific questions about exactly who will be living there.

 

“You’re the devil in disguise”

Do they have legit references? – References are a good way to ensure tenants are trustworthy and able to pay their rent. It also matters who is giving the reference – they may say that the applicant walks like an angel, or that they talk like an angel, but if none are professional references, or if references have same surname as the applicant, it’s worth asking why.

Former landlords are great references, the first question we will ask former landlords is “would you rent to this person again?” if the answer is anything other than an unequivocal yes, return to sender.

Finally, if the applicant objects to any kind of database check (whether it’s referees, National Tenancy Database, employer, identification, etc), there’s probably a reason they are objecting.

 

Will they take care of it?

“Hound Dog”

Find out all the details if pets are involved – Pets may well be fine, but make sure that you know upfront exactly what types of pets they have and how many there are.

 

“Baby let’s play house”

Make sure they take care during the inspection –  If they give off a bad vibe, it may be a sign that they don’t care enough about the property to maintain it. We watch for the little things – if they don’t take off their blue suede shoes when we do, that’s a good sign they won’t respect the property.

 

“Burnin’ love”

Watch out for smoker red flags – If we see tenants examining smoke alarms during inspections, we’re on guard: indoor smokers often disable smoke alarms to try to escape detection. If they ask whether the window screens are removable, it’s likely that they’re planning to lean out hte window to smoke. Eventually, they may decide that it’s too much trouble to lean out the window.

 

Are they easy to deal with?

“A little less conversation”

Stay away from those who make multiple demands – It’s common for tenants to make a minor request or two when moving in. But if they are making inordinately demanding ones at move-in, you may have yourself a Moody Blue – imagine what they’ll be like during the tenancy.

 

“Don’t be Cruel”

Watch how they treat others – If they can’t seem to keep their emotions in check or they act disrespectful to those around them, they are probably going to be difficult to deal with.

 

“I just can’t help believin’”

Listen to your gut – If you get a bad feeling about an applicant, then reconsider baby. It’s likely that your gut is right and that person won’t make a good tenant.

Remember, a bad tenant selection will be always on your mind, So keep each of these tips in mind, and you can avoid checking into the heartbreak hotel when letting out your Graceland.

 

There are two times when it’s easiest to reach your average property manager – when you haven’t yet signed the contract, and when you want to end the contract.

In either case, here’s three questions you should ask your property manager to help you decide whether to start with them or leave them.

 

1)    Does your firm only do property management, or do you do sales too?

The average property manager turns over after 9 months. And if you’re lucky enough to get one who even remembers you, they’ll invariably move into sales. That’s because even though the base salaries for sales and property managers are similar (around $65-70K), only sales pays juicy commissions that agents can take to the bank.

The commission on the sale of a single $1M property is equivalent to about 8 years in property management fees. In fact, many agencies will pay property managers a bonus if they can convince you to sell your place.

 

That’s why, regardless of whether the market is up, down or sideways, your agent will tell you it’s a great time to sell.

 

Ask your agent whether their agency handles both sales and property management.

 

Whose interests do they really have in mind? Yours, or theirs?

 

2) Why do you charge me a percentage fee to manage my property?

Percentage fees aren’t fair to landlords. The amount of work to manage a $1000/wk place is certainly not twice that of a $500/wk place. And if the market becomes stronger and supports a higher weekly rent, your agent takes the gain for doing nothing.

 

Ask your agent what is the cheapest property they manage, and what percentage fee that client pays. Then do the maths and compare what they’re paying to what you’re paying.

 

You are paying more. Are you getting more for your money?

 

3) Do you really have my back?

Everything might be peachy right now. But what happens when things go pear-shaped? Of course, good tenant selection is a critical first step to avoiding problems. But even the best tenants on paper might not be what you expect.

 

Ask your agent if they’ll protect your wallet from rent default, tenant damage, or public liability.

 

Do they expect you to get your own landlord insurance?

 

Whatever decision you ultimately make, make sure you know the answers to these questions first. If you don’t like the answers you hear, and you’re looking for something different, contact us.