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Pets in Rental Properties: Rules and Guidelines

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If you’re a landlord in New Zealand navigating the world of pet-friendly rental properties, it’s essential to understand the rules and guidelines set by the Tenancy Service. Here, we break down the key considerations when it comes to allowing pets in your rental property.

Agreeing on Conditions

First and foremost, if you’re open to allowing pets in your rental property, it’s crucial to discuss and agree upon any conditions with your tenant. These conditions should be clearly outlined in the tenancy agreement, leaving no room for misunderstandings.

However, it’s worth noting that some landlords opt for a strict no-pet policy. If you’re in this category, it’s essential to communicate this clearly to potential tenants upfront.

Unit Title and Cross Lease Properties

If you own a unit title or cross lease property, be sure to review the conditions outlined in your body corporate rules or leases. These documents may contain specific restrictions regarding pet ownership, which can affect your decision.

Factors Beyond Pets

When selecting a tenant, it’s essential to consider various factors, of which pet ownership is just one. While pets may be a concern for some landlords, they shouldn’t overshadow other critical criteria such as a tenant’s credit rating and references. Keep in mind that denying a tenant solely based on pet ownership could mean missing out on an otherwise excellent tenant.

To gain more insight into a potential tenant’s pet ownership, consider asking for references from their previous landlords. These references can shed light on how well-behaved the pet has been in the past.

Incorporating Pets into the Tenancy Agreement

For landlords who choose to allow pets, it’s vital to specify the details in the tenancy agreement:

  1. Number of Pets: Clearly state the number of pets permitted in the property.
  2. Types of Pets: Specify the types of pets that are allowed. This can include dogs, cats, or other animals.
  3. New or Replacement Pets: Outline the procedure tenants should follow if they wish to introduce a new pet or replace an existing one during the tenancy.

Bond for Pets

While you can charge a bond to tenants, it’s crucial to understand the limitations. The maximum bond allowed by law is equivalent to four weeks’ rent, regardless of whether you allow pets. Charging any amount beyond this limit is not permissible.

Responsibility for Pet-Related Damages

In the unfortunate event that a pet causes damage to the property, tenants are responsible for covering the costs of repairs. This includes any damage resulting from both intentional and careless actions by the pet.

Remember, tenants are generally accountable for any damage beyond fair wear and tear, regardless of whether it’s caused by themselves or their pets.

Understanding these rules and guidelines regarding pets in rental properties can help you make informed decisions as a landlord. By balancing the needs of your tenants with the well-being of your property, you can create a harmonious living environment for all parties involved.

[Disclaimer: This information is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For specific guidance on your situation, consult with a legal professional or property management expert.]

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