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AU Majority of first time investors will not allow pets in their properties

Property Here - Friday, September 06, 2013

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PETS are still in the bad books with landlords, after a new survey showed just one in four first-time property investors plan to allow furry tenants in their properties.

The 2013 First Time Property Investors survey by Mortgage Choice found that in NSW, just 23 per cent of respondents planning to purchase an investment property within the next two years would welcome pet owners. Only Western Australia (22 per cent) had a lower number. South Australian landlords were the most lenient with 25 per cent, while Victorians were a close second at 24 per cent.

"For animal lovers, being able to identify properties that will accept pets will be high on their list," said Mortgage Choice spokesperson Belinda Williamson.

"On the flip side, property owners who are happy to allow pets could open themselves up to a much wider rental market."

The national rental vacancy rate is already at 2.2 per cent according to SQM Research, which translates into less than 1 per cent for pet owners. The high demand for rentals means landlords can be fussy about tenants.

"Vacancies are tight, so landlords are focusing on attracting quality tenants," said Ms Williamson.

"It's interesting, because most pet owners look after their pets and know that it is their responsibility to fix any damages done to the property."

It's not all bad news though, with a higher percentage of younger Australians planning to allow pets, suggesting the future will be better for pet owners. Generation Y investors were the only group with more planning to allow than disallow pets by 37.1 per cent, to 34.8, with the rest undecided. Only 23.8 per cent of baby boomers were pet-friendly.

State governments are also looking at altering existing pet strata laws, as more Australians are confined to living in apartments due to affordability issues.

Default strata bylaws announced in NSW Parliament in June will mean that moving forward, pets are only banned if 75 per cent of owners vote to ban at a strata meeting. Currently, pets are automatically banned unless there is written approval.

"Pets and their owners, regardless of whether they're tenants or owners, shouldn't be forced to live apart due to outdated strata laws," said Amy Sanderson of LJ Hooker Property Management. "Most pet owners make great tenants because they're used to being responsible and caring and they never take a lease for granted."

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