Here at RSPCA South Australia, we know the difficulties pet owners often face when looking for a property to rent.
It is a common problem Australia wide – the number of rental properties that accept tenants with pets is far too low.
Hundreds of pets are surrendered
Each year hundreds of families are forced to surrender loved pets to animal welfare and rescue organisations simply because owners cannot find pet-friendly rental accommodation.
So what can you can do to increase your chances of finding a pet-friendly rental property?
Here are some ideas that might help get you through the front door.
Seven tips to keep your companion close
1. Search around and ask for pet-friendly rentals. You can try Gumtree but also ask real estate agencies or Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) if they can refer you to a property manager who is known to be pet-friendly.
2. It may not be in your interest to hide the fact you have a pet when looking for a rental property. Ask whether the landlord will allow a well-behaved, loved pet. If they express concerns, find out what exactly those concerns are and try to address them. Often landlords worry about noise or damage pets might cause – you may be able to set them straight and reassure them that your pet is calm and quiet, and not destructive because you give him plenty to play with, scratch and chew on when you’re not home! The more you show that you are a proactive pet owner who understands an animal’s needs, the better.
3. Supply a pet resume and/or a pet reference (including a nice photo) from previous landlords or a veterinarian. It may also help to show how you are a responsible pet owner by having on hand your pet’s registration, vaccination and other documents.
First impressions are important
4. Offer to sign a pet agreement. The Real Estate Institute of South Australia and the South Australian Department of Consumer and Business Affairs both have examples of one that landlords can use. Click here to see examples of pet resumes and pet agreements.
5. Offer the agent or landlord the opportunity to meet your pet. If you are successful in getting the tenancy, it might be a good idea to introduce your pet to your closest neighbours as well, especially if you are living in a unit.
6. Indicate that you are willing to sign a longer lease if you can afford to do so. This helps to prove that you are serious about your application.
7. When you are looking for accommodation, remember to consider the space requirements your pets might need. Our friends at RSPCA ACT have produced this handy guide to apartment living with your dog, for example.
Things are changing
We know finding rental properties that will accept pets can be hard, but don’t despair.
With increasing education about this issue occurring around Australia, things are changing for the better.
Currently, South Australia lags behind Victoria, the ACT and the NT, all of which have laws that allow renters to have pets unless a Tribunal finds a valid reason to disallow a pet or that the pet can only be kept at the rental under certain conditions.
By working together, we can make renting to people with pets not only more common, but also more appealing for landlords seeking quality tenants to care for their properties as if they were their own.
For more information on our campaign to encourage more landlords to embrace pets in rentals, head over here.