Choosing between a pet and a home

With fewer Australians buying a home, the need for pet-friendly rentals is rapidly increasing.

In recent years, websites such as Domain.com.au and Realestate.com.au have included ‘Pet friendly’ as a search tool but the availability of willing landlords is low and sadly many people have to choose between a home and pet.

Now a new study by the University of Western Sydney is looking at the impacts that restrictions on pet-keeping in rental and strata properties have on the individual and the community.

Dr Emma Power, from the UWS School of Social Sciences and Psychology, says the issue of finding a pet-friendly rental property is common in Australia.

“From ABS data, we know that one-third of all Australian households are living in rental accommodation. This figure increases to 49 per cent for lower income households,” says Dr Power.

“With almost three quarters of tenants likely to relocate within a five year period, the issue of finding a home that will accept pets is likely to be encountered on an ongoing basis.”

Dr Power says international research has shown that moving house is one of the most significant influences on people’s decision to relinquish a pet.

“Pets provide a range of benefits to individuals and the community and we know that relinquishing a pet is not a decision owners make easily. Owners typically try a number of methods of finding pet-friendly rental accommodation and only resort to relinquishment when they have no other options,” she says.

“I am hopeful that this research will create greater understanding of the perspectives of both property owners and tenants and provide information that can create positive outcomes for the welfare of people and companion animals.”

Dr Power is currently reviewing the results from a survey of 1000 Sydneysiders and a full report is expected later in the year.

For people struggling to find a suitable rental property, the RSPCA offers this advice when obtaining consent from your landlord to own a pet:

  • Put together a ‘pet resume’ detailing information about your pet, their medical status including vaccination information, flea treatments, behavioural assessments, desexing certificate, microchip details plus any obedience training certificates they may have received.
  • Supply references. References from your vet and/or obedience trainer will help a landlord see that your pet is well-behaved and obedient. If you have lived in a previous pet-friendly property, obtain a reference from your previous landlord to demonstrate that your pet was an ‘ideal tenant’.
  • Introduce your pet to your potential landlord, again, so that they can assess your pet’s behaviour and obedience.
  • Supply a written declaration to your landlord that you will pay for any and all damages that may be caused to the property by your pet
  • Negotiate an agreement with your landlord so that they may come and visit the property to ensure that no damage has been caused by your pet
  • Research your strata – if other tenants have applied to have a pet and have permission, citing them as an example may increase your chances.

At Grace, we value the importance of pets to your family, even if some landlords don’t. Once you have found a suitable property to rent, Grace can help relocate your pet to your new home. Through our network of caring professionals we can arrange the door-to-door transportation of your pets and any boarding services that are required to ensure less stress on you and your pet.