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93% Of Renters Vote Yes To Pet Bonds And 63% Willing To Pay More Rent

It’s a sometime source of wonder for parents of young children who are also living the pet lifestyle that the kids are welcome in a rental, but the furbabies rarely are.

That’s because most dogs and cats are quite decent tenants, while the perils of toddlers and even teenagers are well-traversed. Be that as it may, says PD Insurance COO Michelle Le Long, the upshot is that those with pets can experience considerable difficulty securing a suitable rental.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

“There’s good and sensible news for pet parents in the government’s introduction of a Pet Bond, and we’re hopeful this will help make it easier for pet parents,” she notes. “The same principle as a ‘regular’ bond applies: it’s there just in case something goes awry, but in most cases all of the bond eventually goes back to the tenant.”

Keen on learning more about the challenges faced by ‘pet renters’ (that’s pet parents who rent homes, not those who rent pets), PD Insurance included multiple questions around the concept in its recent Pet Parent Survey. Conducted in May 2024, the survey drew responses from more than 2,400 people, providing insights into the challenges, issues, experiences and more of dog and cat owners across New Zealand.

Renting is harder with pets

Finding a rental is a challenge made more difficult when furbabies are factored in. While just 23% (552) of respondents are renters, most said getting a place isn’t straightforward. For roughly 59%, it is considered extremely difficult, and moderately difficult for another 27%.

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“Landlords generally prefer pet-less tenants,” says Le Long. “But says the idea of a Pet Bond may well help sway landlords who are on the fence about pets. “One thing which is likely is that probably as many landlords love pets as much as their tenants do. And that’s a good thing which renters can use to their advantage.”

Le Long is also buoyed by just 2.1% of respondents who report rehoming a pet due to being unable to secure a rental. “Even one is one too many; it does happen, but the fact that this is an unusual development is comforting.”

Pet Bonds are a winner

More pet parents see the Pet Bond as a good idea than those who do not. This isn’t surprising, says Le Long, as other aspects of PD Insurance’s research indicate most people are happy to pay for the privilege of owning a pet – and this extends to measures which will help secure a home, ‘pets and all’. Nearly 93% of renters said yes to the idea, while just over 2% said no.

Which, of course, begs the question of ‘how much’. Respondents were divided on this issue, with 54% willing to pay one week’s worth of rent (between $500 - $1000); 22% was ok with parting with two weeks’ worth of rent (between $1000 - $2000); and only 3% willing to pay three weeks’ worth of rend or more (between $1500 - $3000).

Just as interesting, says Le Long (and something landlords might find worth noting) is that a fair number of pet parents will pay a premium for a dog or cat friendly home. 39% would pay $50 more per week, 17.5% would stump up an extra $100 per week, and 6.8% would pay $150+ per week.

Pets are popular (and so are homes!)

With Companion Animals New Zealand estimating that 64% of households have pets, the typical ‘No Pets Allowed’ policies one sees in rent adverts seems a little unfair. “Combine that with the fact that probably the majority of pets aren’t damaging to properties, there’s a case to be made for leniency,” says Le Long.

She adds, though, that owners have discretion over their property which should be respected. “It also comes down to individual pet owners: some are more responsible than others. And those willing to pay a Pet Bond are probably also those who are looking after the property well.”

Therefore, Le Long says, landlords should consider pet owners as tenants on individual merits, potentially checking ‘pet references’ as well as the more usual factors. “Pets don’t always ‘damage’ the house and there are plenty of pet owners who make great tenants,” she concludes.

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