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No Pet Policies Are Costing Landlords

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No Pet Policies Are Costing Landlords

South Africans are known to be animal lovers, and thousands of households regard their four-legged friends as family, but across the major metros it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find pet-friendly rental properties as more landlords and bodies corporate adopt “no pet” policies.

There are not nearly enough pet-friendly rental properties to meet the high demand as the number of landlords and bodies corporate implementing a ‘no pet’ policy rises. We’re hitting this stumbling block even with unfurnished, spacious homes with large grounds.

It has also become an issue in the sales market where we are seeing more and more sectional title and cluster developments imposing an outright ban on pets. This severely limits buyers’ choices, especially in the lower- to mid-markets, which on the Atlantic Seaboard means anything from around R2 million to R10 million.

In Cape Town, soaring demand for rental accommodation has sparked stock shortages and skyrocketing prices, especially in the lower and middle markets of the most sought-after suburbs where the flood of semigration is making house hunting a progressively odious task.

However, the situation is exacerbated for pet-owners who are faced with a shrinking pool of animal-friendly accommodation, especially on the Atlantic Seaboard and in the Southern Suburbs where fewer than 10% of rental properties allow them.

In the more sought-after suburbs, landlords can charge and achieve higher monthly rentals if they allow animals as most pet owners are very happy to pay a premium for a pet-friendly home.

People assume that because the suburbs are traditionally family-oriented there would be more pet-friendly accommodation available, but it’s simply not the case anymore.

Most landlords these days equate animals with damage, and this sometimes even extends to smaller pets like birds and fish.

At least 25% of their vetted and financially stable prospective tenants request pet-friendly accommodation, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find them homes in the ever-diminishing store of available accommodation.

Desperate people who love their pets often continue the search until the 11th hour, but sadly it’s no longer uncommon for accommodation-seekers to eventually resort to re-homing or even surrendering their animals when they fail to find somewhere to live that will allow pets.

We are also seeing bodies corporate effectively granting ‘life rights’ to existing pets, meaning when your current animal passes, you’re not allowed to replace it.

Landlords willing to allow pets would enjoy greater peace of mind if a pet-related addendum is included in the lease agreement, and pets are formally noted.

The outlook for pet owners seeking accommodation on KZN’s North Coast is just as bleak as Cape Town and Johannesburg.

When you find a unit in a security complex or estate that allows pets, whether it’s to rent or sell, you’ll move it incredibly quickly - simply because the demand for secure pet-friendly accommodation is so much greater than the supply.

An example is the Mount Edgecombe Country Estate, where on Estate 1 residents are permitted to keep any breed of dog if they obtain permission, but on Estate 2 no dogs that weigh more than 22kg are allowed - no exceptions granted.

It’s a lot easier to move property on Estate 1, and we see more demand for homes there because people know they can live with their dogs, which they generally consider to be members of their family.

Landlords and bodies corporate are wrong in their approach, people who love animals and own pets put down deeper roots because pets tend to be a 15-year commitment. Most are not fly-by-nighters, and they are usually more solid members of the community.

In the more sought-after suburbs, landlords can charge and achieve higher monthly rentals if they allow animals as most pet owners are very happy to pay a premium for a pet-friendly home.

They’re also likely to be more stable and responsible long-term tenants who will appreciate and take care of the property because they know that finding another suitable home wouldn’t be easy.

In many Johannesburg suburbs the situation is reversed, and supply currently outweighs demand.  It makes financial sense for landlords and bodies corporate to carefully consider their pet policies rather than lose money while they wait for suitable tenants without animals.

Most pet-owners would gladly pay an additional “pet deposit”, but where a standard two-month deposit is required, a hefty additional pet deposit could price the property beyond most budgets.

Landlords willing to allow pets would enjoy greater peace of mind if a pet-related addendum is included in the lease agreement, and pets are formally noted.

Both the tenant and the landlord should have clear expectations, and it is reasonable for a landlord to restrict the type, size and number of the pets allowed.

It should also be noted that the tenant agrees to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and sanitation, and to monitor noise or disturbances to neighbours.

There is no doubt that densification is the future face of every city in South Africa, just as surely as people will continue to want to keep pets.

In such a tight national economy when bonds still have to be serviced and rental properties can’t stand vacant for months, somewhere along the line there is going to have to be more compromise.

If trustees and landlords want to maintain standards by having their choice of the most desirable residents out of the entire pool of home seekers rather than simply the best of those who don’t own animals, then more flexibility will be needed in the property marketplace.

 

Source:  Property24

 

Author Property24
Published 10 Nov 2016 / Views -
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