How to be a responsible pet owner when you are a tenant – Carmen Norton

Help your pet adjust to your new home before you leave them alone.

Many landlords who have had a bad experience with pets in their rental property once will not allow pets inside their property in future.

Many landlords have a strict “no pets allowed” policy due to a variety of reasons.

It may be that the sectional title building is completely pet-free, or that the owner is worried about the pet damaging the property, or receiving complaints from neighbours because of barking dogs and roaming cats.

Fortunately there are still some landlords who allow pets in their rental property, but this obviously also places a responsibility on the tenant, not only for the well-being of yourself and your own pet, but also for future tenants and their pets.

PG van der Linde, from Seeff, said many potential tenants have pets and if a landlord doesn’t want to permit pets to live on the premises, they are essentially reducing the market for their property. The landlord will have more peace of mind once clear guidelines have been set for tenants with pets.

“Many landlords who have had a bad experience with pets in their rental property once will not allow pets in their property in future.”

It is important for tenants in pet-friendly rental properties to follow the below advice:

• Your pet should not become a nuisance or anyone else’s responsibility in the complex or the neighbourhood you are renting in. Spay or neuter cats so that they won’t roam or become noisy during the mating season.

• Dogs should be trained not to bark unless necessary and should also not be left alone for extended periods of time. Dogs should also get enough exercise so that they won’t become frustrated.

• If you are planning to go away, ensure that you have a reliable pet sitter to take proper care of your pets or take them to a kennel. Lonely pets often become a nuisance.

Also read: How to develop a pet friendly garden

• Try not to buy or adopt new pets during your lease period for you can’t be sure how a new pet will behave and whether it will cause trouble by not adapting to their new environment. You are better able to predict your current pet’s behaviour than a new pet’s behaviour.

• If your pet damages a rental property, take ownership for it and repair the damage as soon as possible.

• Be very careful to keep pets in a furnished property as they can cause extensive damage to things like carpets, furniture and curtains. Cover the furniture with plastic covers and buy various scratch pads for your cats and place them around the home in order to deter cats from using the furniture to sharpen their nails.

• Clean the carpets and curtains professionally from time to time to get rid of any unpleasant pet odours.

• Ensure that your pet’s immunisations are up to date and deflea and deworm your pet religiously. The last thing you want is to introduce an insect infestation to the home you are renting.

• Always keep your dog on a leash when walking around the complex or neighbourhood and make sure you pick up after your dog.

• Ensure that dogs can’t get out of the grounds and make sure friends, family, domestic workers and gardeners also know to always close the gates behind them so that dogs won’t escape.

• Help your pet adjust to your new home before you leave them alone.

• Don’t keep aggressive pets (big or small) or any animal that has bitten a person (especially a child) before. This can end up costing you dearly (in financial and emotional terms).

• If you had an outdoor cat before, don’t expect the cat to stay indoors now. Cats should also be litter box trained so that they won’t be tempted to roam outside.

• If you pet is displaying any strange behaviour contact your vet straight away.

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