Rent, Tenants and Pets
Property Management | Reading Time: 4 Minutes | December 2020
Setting the rent, considering pets and finding the right tenants
Once you've prepared your property to let, the next step is to start the process of finding tenants. It’s time to set the rent and make decisions on subjects such as pets and flatmates.
Finding the right tenant can make or break your property investment business. A great tenant will pay rent on time, keep your property in good order, and stay for longer.
What is the right rent for my property?
Getting the rent level right is one of the most important decisions you can make when renting your property. You only get a short window of time when listing a property to grab the attention of good tenants. It’s vital you set the rent to meet the market whilst maximising your rental return. If you set the rent too high you’ll get very little interest and attract desperate tenants who often turn out to problematic. If you set the rent too low you’re selling yourself short and may attract the wrong tenants.
Tenancy Services keeps records of recent rental prices in each suburb. The data, which comes from bonds, is split into lower, median and upper bands for flats, houses and some other types of properties such as boarding houses. However, these statistics only reflect new rents, not the adjustments made to existing tenancies, and doesn’t disclose data where there are less than five properties in an area or band. They’re also based on bond lodgments up to six months old. You also don’t get any information on the quality of any given property and / or its amenity, such as proximity to transport, or a spectacular view. It is important that you regularly check the current rental portals for advertised rental properties in the same location and of a similar standard. It’s a great idea to seek advice from a professional property manager who knows what properties rent for in your suburb. The Crockers team can tell you what properties like yours are renting for right now, taking the guess work out of this all-important decision.
Should I allow pets in my rental property?
You’ll hear that many landlords don’t allow pets. The reason is our furry friends can damage walls, doors, floors, curtains, carpets or even dig up the back lawn. Yet tenants with pets offer landlords a huge opportunity. As a lot of landlords don’t allow pets, tenants with pets often have a lot of trouble finding tenancies. They may be prepared to pay a premium for a property that allows pets – and once they have Fluffy settled in, they tend to want to stay for the long term.
Pets do come in all shapes and sizes, so you might be more willing to take tenants who have a small adult dog than a puppy from a large breed. A well trained older pet is likely to be low risk, as are cats – particularly ones that are used to being indoor dwellers. Bear in mind, if your property is unit titled (or in another form of community owned title), your tenant’s pet may need to be approved by the body corporate, and it’s important to obtain this before you commit to the tenancy.
Ask for a pet CV
A great idea for potential tenants is to prepare a pet CV. As well as being super cute, a pet CV can go a long way towards ensuring landlords have peace of mind when renting their property to tenants with pets. Knowing a pet’s breed, age, size and temperament may help to reassure landlords and is a great way for tenants to widen their property search. A photo should be included for maximum impact!
Which tenants are right for my property?
Keeping an open mind about what sort of tenants you are looking for may well help you rent your property more quickly. Discrimination is unlawful when it breaches the Human Rights Act – which simply means, you must assess potential tenants on their merits. Be realistic about the appeal that your property has – not every property is suitable for a family and not every group flatting situation is party central. Additionally a family might not want your property if it’s unfenced, on the main road or backs onto a stream or railway line.
In fact, there are some advantages to renting to a group of flatmates. Flatmates have more than one income coming in between them to pay the rent, which is helpful should one lose their job. Each flatmate will be “jointly and severally” responsible for paying the rent, which gives landlords more security. If renting to groups, however, the tenancy agreement should name each of the occupants as a tenant and specify the number of occupants allowed to live in the property. Naming each of the tenants gives them greater security of tenure, and means you know who is living in the property.