As a pet lover, it can be very tempting to sneak Fluffy into your rental, despite a strict no-pet policy in your lease agreement. After all, your property manager will never drop by and find out, right? Wrong.
Here are five reasons why it’s a pretty terrible idea to hide your pet:
#1 You could end up being evicted
So your apartment is strictly no-pets-allowed. Or it does allow pets, but you don’t fancy paying the pet bond and want to sneak Fido in any way. So what’s the purpose of a no-pet policy, and what’s the worst that could happen if you get caught? Basically, no-pet policies are created because other tenants in the apartment might be allergic to cats/dogs, the landlord’s insurance policy may not cover dogs or the landlord doesn’t want to deal with wear and tear issues (see #3).
That in mind, if your landlord has decided to implement a no-pet policy and you sneak one into your rental, you could be evicted. You will have to forfeit your rental bond, you’ll be forced to move and you’ll have a black mark put on your tenancy record. It could get worse, though. If the reason your landlord did not allow dogs was because their policy did not cover them, and your dog bites another tenant, that tenant could sue your landlord. Then your landlord could sue you. Yes, it could happen. Eviction is not the worst-case scenario.
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#2 Neighbours can’t always be trusted
Neighbours come in all shapes and sizes. There’s also bound to be one who’s a good friend to your landlord and wouldn’t hesitate to report any evidence of gossip (i.e. they’ve just spotted Fluffy at your window, and didn’t they have a no-pet policy?…) In all situations, it’s best to be a good neighbour, stay honest and stick to the rules.
#3 Think of the extra costs
If you live in Western Australia, you’d be aware that a pet bond is payable if you enter a rental property with a pet (usually no more than $260). That fee sounds steep, but believe it or not, there’s a decent chance that your landlord isn’t recovering the costs associated with cleaning up after your pet. The reason is simple: Pets can cause tremendous wear-and-tear to a dwelling. They wear down the carpet and scratch doors and curtains. Even if you’re a spotless cleaner, your landlord is going to need some mad Jedi cleaning skills when you move out.
Fur will get on everything – on top of the fan blades, through the cupboards and trapped in the air filters. Fleas and ticks will live in the curtains and carpets. Nit-picky? Maybe. But remember that a future tenant could be very allergic to dog or cat dander. So yes, the pet fee sounds steep, but it covers the cost of added cleaning and excessive wear and tear.
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#4 You might be good at keeping secrets, but your pet may give you away
If your pup barks and yowls at all hours, you might want to reconsider hiding him in your house. Nothing will give you away quicker than your neighbour hearing late-night dog howling down the hall. Cats can be fairly vocal too. If your pet isn’t extremely well trained and quiet, it’s a definite no-no. You’ll be found out and reported fast.
#5 It’s not very fair to your pet
Pets shouldn’t be locked up inside your rental property with no access to the outside world. They need walks, breaks and exposure to sunlight and new surrounds. Keeping them locked up in your apartment just isn’t fair to anyone. If you have a pet, it’s important to plan ahead and track down a rental property that allows pets.
We’ve covered a few scenarios here. Some are minor, some are a worst-case scenario. Realistically, the chances of you being sued are slim, but your chances of being evicted are much stronger. Think about it – you’ll have broken the lease. If your landlord has banned pets completely, it’s likely there was a compelling reason for it.
Having a safe and secure rental property is just the beginning of enjoying your home. You want to be able to relax and unwind without unnecessary stress. If you sneak in your pet, you’ll be on edge feeling the need to hide and shush them constantly. The novelty of having your cat or dog in the house will wear off very quickly from exhaustion and worry.
With all issues of ethics and fairness aside, a simple risk/reward calculation determines the answer is pretty clear here: Don’t sneak a pet into your next rental property. It’s not worth the risk.