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Pet owners often receive a bad rap when it comes to rental properties. Many landlords assume that pets will cause damage to the property, however one real estate company has stated that they may be a better alternative.

Geoff Baldwin, managing director of RE/MAX WA, said too often landlords deny applications from tenants with dogs.

“The general feeling is that a dog may in some way damage the property, however… I have found this to be far from the truth and, in many ways, quite the opposite applies,” he said.

“Considering, or even welcoming applications from dog owners, has two major advantages for the landlord, in that these tenants will usually pay a premium rent and they are much less likely to move because it’s harder for them to find another pet-friendly owner.”

Mr Baldwin stated that looking at the statistics, it is more often than not young children who cause more damage, compared to tenants with pets. With people, it can be harder to control the situation as accidents can happen. However, with pets you can have a bit more control over what happens in the property. For example, you can set limitations about what sort of pets are allowed and if they are allowed inside. Listed below are just a few provisions you can implement.

• Request to see the pets before choosing the tenant: Although all pets are different, some breeds or even certain ages of cats and dogs can be more prone to damage.

• Increase the rent or bond: As there are many owners who do not allow pets, you could increase the rent as pets are considered an added bonus. Increasing the bond will send a clear message to the tenant from the beginning that any damage caused by their pet will be their responsibility.

• The tenant is required to have certain areas of the property professionally treated regularly (eg. carpets/lawn). Agree on how often the tenant will need to have certain areas treated so as to help minimise damage.

With the rental market expected to become more competitive in 2015, owners need to look at how they can set themselves apart from other properties on the market and inviting tenants with dogs may just be the way to do that.