‘No pets in rentals’ causes heartache for South Australian families

Every year hundreds of pets are surrendered to RSPCA South Australia and other animal welfare and rescue organisations by families who need to rent but cannot find rental properties that will accept pets.

If you are a landlord and have a pet, you might not have thought much about the consequences of ticking the ‘no pets’ box whenever your property comes up for rent.

But consider this: almost a third of South Australians rent and most want to have pets, yet current estimates suggest just over 20% of South Australian landlords (rentals) will even consider allowing pets.

With 68 per cent of South Australian families owning a pet as part of the family, many families who have animals and need to rent are being forced to surrender loved pets just to keep a roof over their heads.

In the past year (FY19-FY20) RSPCA South Australia has seen a 13% increase in the number of animals surrendered by good owners unable to find a pet-friendly rental. This is a poor outcome for animals and families that love pets.

Anecdotal evidence suggests damage to rentals by pets is not widespread, and when it does occur, its repair can usually be covered by the tenant’s bond. Landlords may also find more renters will be interested in their property if it is pet-friendly and that tenants with pets tend to stay longer.

Law reform is needed to address the shortage of pet-friendly rentals in South Australia. The Residential Tenancies (Renting with Pets) Amendment Bill will be brought to vote in the South Australian Parliament The Bill would effectively flip the presumption in rental agreements of ‘no pets’ to ‘pets allowed’ unless the landlord has a substantial reason to disallow pets or place conditions on renters keeping them. The Bill looks after the interests of both landlords and renters. Renters must still seek consent of the landlord, and if there is disagreement between tenants and landlord, the independent umpire (SACAT Tribunal) will consider all circumstances to make a fair decision.

Tips to help you secure a pet friendly rental

If you are struggling to find a pet friendly rental, check out RSPCA South Australia’s tips on how to secure a place to live for you and your pet. 

You can also find pet-friendly rentals in South Australia via the Facebook groups Pet Friendly Rentals Adelaide and Pet Friendly Rentals South Australia.

Help us increase pet-friendly rentals – to keep renters and their beloved pets together

Email our Attorney General, The Hon Vickie Chapman using this simple form asking her to support this Bill when it is voted on in the Upper House of the South Australian Parliament.

And if you are a landlord who understands why people love their pets, please consider allowing families with pets to rent your property. 

A woman in her rental home with three dogs