OPINION: We support pet-friendly rental properties

RECENTLY theNewcastle Herald reported on the difficulty some renters have finding properties that will allow them to keep their pets.
Nanjing Night Net

We at Mark Dowling Real Estate strive to educate our landlords about the positive aspects of letting their property as a pet-friendly rental.

Part of our story began when we were renting a property ourselves in 1997. We were forced to move as our rented home was put up for sale and at the time we had a blue cattle dog that made inspections difficult.

We found it very hard to find a rental house and we ended up renting a barely livable property in Broadmeadow. It was a completely rundown house but it did have good fences and the dog loved the backyard.

As we started MDRE Property Advantage in Mayfield, we had a lot of space in our windows, so we contacted pet rescue groups and displayed their animals in the window, and we also started to accept donations for the animals such as blankets, beds and food.

We have some great people in the area that drop off items for the dogs all the time.

We have been very successful in convincing our landlords to accept pets and currently 86per cent of our rental properties are pet-friendly.

Many new landlords and investors are not aware of the recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Act.

The act states that only tenants with pets can now be asked to have their carpets cleaned when they vacate a property.

We find that tenants with pets in general make an effort in looking after their rental property as they know how difficult it is to get another pet-friendly house.

We have a number of tenants with pets that we have retained over the years. When the property they were living in sold, we then moved them on to another of our properties.

We also work closely with Dog Rescue Newcastle and display the dogs that they have up for adoption in our window.

We try to educate tenants and other clients about the importance of adopting a pet from a rescue group instead of buying it from a shop or breeder. There are literally hundreds of dogs and cats, every breed and age available, in the Hunter today.

We also make sure that we match the type of pet with the correct property, large breeds and puppies need more room to move, while smaller and older pets are better suited to smaller yards, or units and villas, depending on the strata bylaws.

Some applicants nowadays, when they apply for a property, include a pet resume with a photo of the pet and information about the pet. Some even provide a pet reference from a previous real estate agent or landlord.

I feel that it’s important to work towards a change in attitude about allowing tenants to keep pets.

Investors need to realise that a huge number of people have pets today and we need to change the way we think and not hold on to old-fashioned ways.

Fatima Dowling is a real estate agent and co-owner of Mark Dowling Real Estate, Mayfield.

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