Most landlords do not refuse to rent their properties to tenants with children, but there are definitely those who do.
Many cite safety issues, says Leigh-Ann Howells, rental partner for Rawson Properties in Parklands.
Hazards include open staircases and unfenced pools or ponds. Other reasons, says Glenda Taylor, rental principal for Greeff Christie’s International, are that the properties are not suitable for children running around and making a noise.
Lorraine-Marie Dellbridge, rental manager for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Cape Town southern suburbs, says: “For the most part landlords state that a property may not be childfriendly because of something like an unfenced pool.”
Property owners of furnished units often bar children and pets, says Leanne Pillay, a letting manager for Chas Everitt International. “Some complexes have wildlife such as birds and buck, and they don’t want cats or dogs to endanger this.”
Listing properties as not pet-friendly is “quite common”, Howells says. If pets are not welcome due to a landlord preference and not a body corporate enforcement, Taylor says an alternative is for the landlord to take a larger damage deposit.
“Landlords may prohibit pets, but they are not allowed to deny service dogs such as guide dogs or dogs that help with other physical or mental disablities.”
Reasons landlords disallow pets include:
Potential damage to the property, such as carpets and flooring, furniture and the garden.
Pets could be a nuisance to neighbours if they are noisy or tend to roam.
Sectional titles as apartment spaces may be too small for a pet. While landlords feel that pets will ruin a garden, carpets, wooden floors and even wooden doors with scratching, Dellbridge says any, and all, of this can be easily fixed or covered by additional deposits.
But this is not something landlords want to hear.
“Many landlords simply do not want to take the chance that a pet may ruin a property and worry that the damage may not be fixable. It’s the fear of the unknown.”
At the end of the day, agents have to match landlords’ tenant requirements. “If a landlord says no pets and no children then we advertise accordingly.”
However, she points out that she has seen property damage caused by adults that “no animal or child could ever inflict”.