Renters offer 'pet bonds' to landlords

ROSA STUDHOLME
Last updated 08:06 12/02/2013

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Some Timaru renters are willing to pay a "pet bond" to secure a rental, even though property managers say it is not something they practise.

It was reported at the weekend Christchurch renters were spending thousands of dollars on bonds to ensure their four-legged friends could move house with them.

And in Timaru some desperate pet owners are also offering a bond.

LJ Hooker senior property manager Rebecca Campbell said her agency did not accept pet bonds from tenants.

Under the Residential Tenancy Act landlords can require a maximum four weeks' rent as bond. As her agency already required the full four weeks for bond it could not ask for a further amount, she said.

"We can't do it because we take four weeks on all our properties."

The agency had a "pet agreement" which tenants signed confirming they would take responsibility for their pet.

However, she knew of some private landlords that had accepted a pet bond.

"If [the bond] is actually under the four weeks there's absolutely no problem."

She had tenants who offered to pay a pet bond, she said.

Ray White property manager Judith Lindqvist said about 80 per cent of her clients had pets but most landlords had a no-pet policy on their property.

Her agency required three weeks' bond from tenants.

"If they want to pay extra bond . . . sometimes the owner will agree. It just depends."

However, her agency had not yet required a pet bond. A reference for the pet often helped convince landlords, she said.

Harcourts property manager Kareena Lundy said her agency also required the maximum four weeks' rent bond payment.The scenario was different in post- quake Christchurch, she said.

"A lot of those people would have owned their own homes and had their pets at their own home [before the earthquakes].

"They probably never expected they would be renting."

The Department of Building and Housing recommends parties agree on the terms that a pet may be allowed to live on the property during the tenancy, and that landlords write a terms of agreement about pets into the residential tenancy agreement.

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- The Timaru Herald

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