Renting with pets

Hannah Williams

It’s no secret that we Kiwis love our furry friends. With more than 4.35 million companion animals in New Zealand, the number of pets almost outnumbers humans.

64% of people in New Zealand have at least one pet, so why is it still so uncommon to find a pet-friendly rental? 

When looking to tenant your property, weigh up your options. Historically there has been hesitation around allowing pets but the benefits may outweigh the risks.

Some benefits to allowing pets in your rental property may include:

A wider Applicant pool. 

Landlords who allow pets in their properties will have access to a much larger pool of potential tenants. More choice is always a bonus when looking for the right tenants.

At the time of this article, of the 9,756 rental properties currently listed on TradeMe nationwide, only 1,171 were pet friendly. This means that renters with pets only have access to 12% of the available housing stock.  

Setting your rent

Demand is high for rental properties that are pet friendly and renters are often willing to pay a higher weekly rent to secure a home that will cater to their pets. 

Please note that if you allow pets at your rental property you can not charge extra bond. The maximum amount that a landlord can charge for the bond payments is the equivalent of four weeks’ rent – you cannot charge more than this. 

Further information on charging bonds is available here. 

Tenants who stay longer

You may find that your tenants with pets are more inclined to stay in your rental property for a longer period of time due to the difficulty associated with finding a pet-friendly property. 

Less time marketing your property

Due to the high demand for pet-friendly rental properties, you may find that it takes a significantly shorter time to find a suitable tenant. The lack of pet-friendly rentals available combined with the huge number of renters with pets creates an ideal circumstance for landlords. 

Transparency with your Tenants

78% of people consider their pets to be a member of their family – meaning tenants with pets are increasingly likely to attempt to hide their pets from landlords to keep them. 

If you, as the landlord, are open to allowing pets in your property, it creates a space for transparency around the rules, restrictions and responsibilities of yourself and your tenants regarding their pets. 

Being able to control the situation from the start and come to a mutual agreement with clear guidelines will help you to avoid any issues arising down the track. 

The decision to allow animals is a choice that each landlord should assess and consider. We recommend that you view it on a case by case basis as to not limit your applicant pool and keep your options open. 

To put your mind at ease you may consider speaking with your property manager to seek a pet reference from past landlords or neighbours, or to arrange to meet the pet before coming to an agreement. 

Some questions you may want to ask potential tenants with pets are: 

  • What kind of pet do you have?
  • How many pets do you own? 
  • Are your pets inside or outside pets?

You may have additional questions for dog owners – these could include:

  • What breed of dog do you have?
  • What size is your dog?
  • Do you have a plan in place for exercising your dog?

This will allow you to paint a picture of what it could look like in terms of the dog’s temperament, behaviour, and the ability for the dog to live comfortably and happily in the home. 

What are the cons to allowing pets? 

Risk of Damage

Allowing pets into your rental property increases the likelihood of damage occurring. However, it’s good to note that the cost of damage from pets is often much smaller than the costs associated with tenants who have children. 

Wear and tear

Properties with pets tend to wear faster. This will depend on the type of pet. 


Your tenant’s pet could cause issues or disturb your neighbours. So it may be a good idea to meet the animal before signing the agreement – particularly if it’s a dog. That way, you can assess its personality and temperament. 

Future Tenants

Allowing your tenants to have pets could impact your ability to tenant the property in future. For example, some people are allergic to dogs and cats, and the allergens from previous tenants may linger. 

It is possible to get rid of the traces of allergens however, it may be costly. Tenants who have pets may be happy to pay for this at the end of their tenancy – make sure you have this conversation with your tenant before signing the tenancy agreement and add it to your conditions. 

Not all properties can be pet-friendly

For some landlords, accepting pets is not an option. Body corp rules may restrict pets in your rental, or the property may be too close to the neighbours, which could cause unnecessary conflicts. 

Although usually, properties can accept some pets. You may even consider making a few minor improvements to make your house more suitable for cats and dogs. Improvements might include ensuring appropriate fencing, adding cat/dog doors to the home or increasing the amount of grass in the yard. 

How to improve your chances of finding a pet-friendly rental? 

Get a pet reference

Reach out to your current neighbours and ask them to provide a reference and vouch for the behaviour and temperament of your pet. 

Build a Pet Profile

Consider creating a profile for your pet so that your potential landlord can get to know them. This reference may include;

  • Your pets name
  • A photo
  • Their age
  • Proof of micro-chipping
  • Whether your pet is de-sexed
  • If/Where your pet attended training school
  • A summary of your renting history

A reference from a previous landlord will be advantageous in your search for a rental property. If your past landlord can testify that your pet was a good tenant and did not cause any damage to the property, this will increase your chances of getting the property.

Look for the right space.

When looking for a property, think about whether the home is a good fit for you and your pet. Does it have enough space for your pet? Is there a fenced area? It is always important to find a property that is safe and secure for your pet. 

Take a look at our current listing here. 

tenants wash their pet dog in bath and family take their pets swimming in the pool.