If the regulators introduce a pet-bond, why not balance this by also introducing: a child-bond, cooking bond and should we also ask for a party-bond?
Many compassionate and caring tenants are being vilified by the new proposals to introduce pet-bonds. So why not just go all the way and let’s just ask for all sorts of bonds to cover ourselves!
Of course it is illegal to make renting conditional on a parent and expecting them to comply with a requirement no one else is required to comply with. So no, I suggest a child-bond with tongue in cheek.
However, Pets are not covered by anti-discrimination laws and for many tenants and owners, living with pets is like living with an extended family.
There is a need for company and many other joys that pets bring to our lives. We need to understand, how pets, play a very integral part in society. Particularly in the world and lifestyles we live in.
As a property manager, I can also say both pets and children create damage in the properties. In more instances, children are the worst offenders. We cannot however, blame children for this nor impose a bond to cover any potential damage.
The onus of responsibility, to maintain a property in good order for the owner, is of course on: tenants with or without pets, with or without children and also with the property manager.
Our office manages a lot of properties that are pet friendly. These properties, range from apartments, town houses and free standing homes. We account up to 30 percent of our rental portfolio as being pet-friendly.
Why a pet-bond?
For me personally, I feel it is the wrong approach, a band-aid solution to try and deal with the real problem.
The real issue is that many property management teams don’t know how to manage property, plain and simple.
We pick up files from other offices and it is startling the lack of “periodic inspections” (PI) property managers fail to conduct. Some properties have not been inspected in years! What does this say to the tenant?
“We don’t care, so why should you?” comes out loud and clear…
Therefore, it is easier to blame the tenant, (the pet), than it is to blame the lack of service from the property management team. The team that should otherwise, manage and assist the tenant in how to maintain the property.
How much more should tenants pay?
My initial reaction is; why should tenants pay more for the incompetence of some property management teams?
Does a tenant have to pay an extra 2 weeks rent, or perhaps another 4 weeks, to bring peace of mind to the owner?
The underlying question and answer is: Does the extra bond mean that the property management team will have less work to do, and can now justify their lack of management services? I am personally persuaded to believe this to be true.
Day to day property management
On a day-to-day basis, there is work property management teams perform. The efficient teams are performing and not limited to conducting periodic inspections (PI) and preventative maintenance inspections. The regulations allows for 4 inspections in a 12 month period in NSW.
If there is an issue, any one of the inspections would send the alarm signals that something was wrong. This is one indicator and the time to work with tenants and assist with better maintenance.
Some property owners and tenants we have met on management transfers, have been lucky to receive one inspection and in a two year term. Not only are owners baffled, more so are the tenants.
The efficient teams not only conduct PI, they also look for and take care of maintenance issues by way of “prevention” rather than “reaction.” Now, how can this be done from a desk?
Conducting both PI and preventative maintenance inspections also assists with helping tenants manage the upkeep of the property.
Support and prevention is better than attending to major repairs and damage, at the end of a tenancy. Damage that may have been caused by pets or the tenants themselves.
The effects of extra bonds
I don’t believe both, the people calling for pet-bonds or the Real Estate Institutes, have thought about the extra paperwork this will create. Once again, another desk-based job, rather than allowing the property management teams the time to conduct physical application of management services.
Tribunal attendances and trying to determine what bond is released and what isn’t, will be another nightmare. Once again tying up PM teams to desk based work.
Notably, we come back to the existing 4 week bond we have. This is an amount that should cover most claims.
Alternatively, any extra costs to be accounted for, due to the tenant’s fault, has a means to be remedied. The PM can pursue this through the tribunal and obtain further court orders for payment. Then there is also insurance.
Paul Mylott, Chief Executive of Bond Sure, believes their insurance cover will further protect tenants and owners beyond bond-claims by agents.
Again, why the pet-bond exactly? And what about Landlords insurance? Perhaps a call for a pet-bond by the real estate industry is even more evidence that some property management teams aren’t doing their job?
I don’t understand the notion behind the extra bond, other than to create a false sense of peace of mind. Owners not only have the means of recovery through the tribunal, they also have avenues through their own insurance (landlord insurance) or other. And now, so do tenants.
If the pet-bond and or any other bond was introduced, this will not take care of the incompetence found amongst property management teams. A further financial burden on tenants is not the answer to better property management practices.
Most definitely, discriminating against tenants with pets, will not provide the security many property owners believe they will have; should the pet-bond be introduced.
A more sensible avenue may be ventured down the path of new bond-insurance cover. Or perhaps more diligence by Landlords in finding a property management teams that: conduct themselves properly, and have frequent property inspections with clear expectations spelled out for both tenant and property owners.
Notwithstanding, property owners need a PM team that is not one that reacts, rather prevents or foresees any future problems and has contingencies in place to remedy them. A team that actively works alongside, tenants with pets and or children. As opposed to, discriminate by imposing extra bonds.
This article first appeared on edwinalmeida.com.