#182: Pets and rentals… the good, the bad and the scary

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Market Updates

Cate kicks off this week’s market update with a reflection on off-market sales. A recent article suggested that vendors cut themselves short when it comes to selling off-market, but Cate dares to disagree. She’s seen plenty of off-market transactions for good (and bad) properties where buyers paid a significant premium – all in the name of a secret sale. Cate distils the difference between an opportunistic off-market, and a situational off-market.

Pete talks about the “bell” signalling a time for buyers to pounce, and his theory is based on the rate of interest rate increases decelerating.

Dave tackles Governor Lowe’s (and the RBA’s) December rate decision and touches on the intricacies and impact of any decision to increase our cash rate. A key reminder is based on the differences between Australia and other countries, specifically the contrast in fixed rates versus variable rate holders. Australia has a disproportionately lower percentage of long term fixed rates, and Dave’s point is sobering when we think about the immediate impact to the Aussie market (versus other nations). He also touches on some early data points that suggests mortgage pain is on the rise, and the RBA need to tread carefully.

In this week’s episode, Dave, Cate and Pete take you through:

  1. Pet stats! Cate shares some interesting stats about pet ownership with our listeners. Does it come as a surprise that Australia boasts the highest rate of pet ownership in the world?
  2. Legislation confusion? The trio uncover legislation around pets and rental properties, and just how dramatically the states and territories differ. While Victoria seems the most renter-centric state, Tasmania, SA and WA still enable landlords to have some degree of say when it comes to pets in properties.
  3. What is our biggest fear? Pete leads the taskforce with an overview of the top reasons why so many landlords fear pets in rental properties.  From scratching to smells, barking to hair on curtains…. The list is huge, but Cate reflects on human damage versus pet damage and leaves our listeners with some reflections to ponder.
  4. Illegal dog training?…Dave dares to ask if Cate or Pete’s investment properties have sustained damage and Cate shares some scarty dog training stories first hand from one of her more interesting past renter stories and shares some his own stories!
  5. When does saying yes to pets present an advantage to a landlord? Quite often, in fact. Cate points out the appreciation, longer tenure and unwillingness to move that we can often see in renters when we accommodate their pets.
  6. Pet rental application cover letters? You bet! The trio marvel at the lengths that they see rental applicants going to with applying or a rental with a pet. From photos to cover letters, obedience school certificates and trainer references, the list is long when it comes the positive ways that owners like to present their pets to rental providers in their rental applications.
  7. “Ohhh, THIS cat? It’s my friends cat and it’s just staying this weekend”. Unfortunately, when landlords are more likely to say no to pets, plenty of tenants will find a way to hide pets, lie about pets, and drive pet ownership underground, The trio reflect on their own experiences with such behaviours.
  8. How expensive is it to clean up after a bad pet-experience? What sort of treatment is required to clean up after a bad pet rental experience? The trio uncover some of the methods that are required to clean up a pet-damaged property.
  9. What pet situations ring alarm bells? Pets pose a grave concern for a landlord, (or worse still, are illegal) when the renter is running;
        • Unregistered dog training businesses
        • Unregistered breeding
        • Exotic (illegal) animal trade
        • Keeping protected species
        • Any harmful/abusive activity to an animal
        • Pets posing a danger to humans
        • Exceeding the local council’s quota for pets in premises
  10. How do property owners tackle a surprise pet in an investment property? Cate and Pete share their best tips; understand your state or territory’s legislation and talk to your property manager.

Gold Nuggets

Cate Bakos, the ‘Property Buyer’s Gold Nugget: Cate reminds listeners that the risks of scaring a tenant into driving pet ownership underground can end in tears. Cate’s approach is to be open about being open to pets so that pets are actually disclosed on the application. She also recommends capturing the age, breed and behaviours of a pet when asking tenants for pet bio’s.

Peter Koulizos, the ‘Property Professor’s’ Gold Nugget: Pete adds that by encouraging pet owners, landlords also widen their market.

Dave also asks for some good advice on managing an unwelcome neighbour’s cat….

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