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Tenants with pets – to let or not to let

Photo: Puppys dream by smerikal. NZ

Kiwis own more pets per household than anywhere else in the world. In fact, 64% of New Zealanders are pet owners. Unfortunately for renters, only 14% of landlords allow pets in their rental properties. So, what are the pros and cons of allowing a four legged co-tenant to move in?

There seems to be a love-hate relationship between Kiwis and pets. We love to own them, but we hate having them in our rental properties. If you've ever owned a furry friend and tried to find a rental accommodation, you would know the feeling of frustration of scrolling through endless properties that coldly state “no pets”. Only 40% of all available Auckland rental properties accept cats, and it’s even worse for dog-owners at only 5%.

Reasons to be a pet-friendly landlord

  • Given that there is a limited number of pet-friendly properties available, tenants with pets are often happy to pay on average $20+ more per week for a suitable property. Who doesn’t like a little more cash?
  • Finding the right pet-friendly home is hard. This means that tenants know when they’re onto a good thing and will choose to stay longer. What landlord doesn’t like reduced tenant turnover?
  • Pet-friendly properties are let out faster.
  • By deciding to go pet-friendly, you significantly increase your tenant selection pool. More choice is always better.
  • No more tenants keeping pets a secret from landlords. By being aware of animals, you can included them in the tenancy agreement, with clear instructions, rules and restrictions on the type of pet allowed and where they can go in the property. It's always good to have control of the situation.

Reasons not to be a pet-friendly landlord

  • Pets significantly increase the likelihood of damage to your property. Interestingly, though, some studies have shown that the cost of damage from pets was much smaller than the costs associated with tenants with children.
  • Even if there is no damage, animals tend to cause odours. This will depend on the type of pet. It is impossible to predict how bad it may be until your let them in.
  • Pets can disturb neighbours. Just like pets, neighbours come in all shapes and sizes. There is no guarantee that even the most innocent miniature breed is not going to cause a problem.
  • Allowing pets can lead to potential loss of future tenants. Some people are allergic to dogs and cats, and if your previous tenant had a pet, allergens might have gotten into your place. It is not impossible to get rid of them but it may be costly. Saying that, tenants with pets may be more than happy to pay for this at the end of their tenancy to secure a place.

So what is the best approach?

Deciding to become a pet friendly landlord is an individual choice. You don’t have to lock yourself into a pet-particular category. The best thing to do is to consider each tenant with pets on a case-by-case basis. Just saying that pets are considered on your ad will significantly increase your tenant pool. And for more peace of mind, you can ask to meet the pet or see references from previous landlords. Keep your options open and remember that the majority of pet owners don’t want to break rules and are genuine people who care for their animals and homes they live in.

The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not, and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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