Opinion

I rent and want a pet. Why is it so hard?

Animal Welfare League Queensland says the rise in numbers at its shelters is largely due to a lack of pet-friendly rental accommodation.
Animal Welfare League Queensland says the rise in numbers at its shelters is largely due to a lack of pet-friendly rental accommodation. News Corp

As Australians, we love our pets, 25 million of them in fact, according to the RSPCA.

At present, dogs can be found in 39 per cent of households and cats are sun baking/gracefully allowing human presence, across 29 per cent. And that's just in property that permits pet ownership. Across Australia, the default in multi-dwelling developments, of which we are increasingly living, has been a firm, and immutable, no.

So why are landlords and body corporates so damn stingy about letting us have them? Why are renters and renting wannabes forced to live a life A) without a pet or B) constantly rejected in favour of those sans four-legged companion?

The party line is that pets are destructive and impact property value by way of soiled floors and noisy yips. But you know what? I'm calling bull on the whole thing. Humans are, without a shred of doubt, far more destructive than a dog or cat.

We've seen it on A Current Affair and heard horror stories from our mates; tenants have punched holes in walls, dealt drugs, used whole rooms as rubbish dumps and knowingly started fires. Let's not forget the time Matthew McConaughey provoked a noise complaint by playing the bongos naked. Yes, this was in the US but no dog could do that, regardless of locality.

Look, we’re not sure if world’s longest cat contender Omar and his owner Stephy Hirst live in rental accommodation. We really just wanted to excuse to publish his picture.
Look, we’re not sure if world’s longest cat contender Omar and his owner Stephy Hirst live in rental accommodation. We really just wanted to excuse to publish his picture. Alex Coppel

Speaking of A Current Affair, when was the last time you turned the show on and didn't see a tenant-based segment? If Tracey Grimshaw has to say the words, "tenants from hell" one more time she might go postal. Blink twice if you need help, Trace.

Basically, dogs - who have the ability to smell cancer and understand, "only shit here" despite no advanced language skills - are viewed less favourably when compared to humans, who despite advanced language skills, have been known to get drunk and think, "I know I'm supposed to poop here but it would be hilarious if I went … over there".

Go peruse Reddit for more examples. I'll wait.

Desperate to get the straight skinny, I spoke with a dog trainer and asked the hard-hitting questions (obedience, the potential for destruction, and whether she has a pooch I could pat for a bit).

"Most often dogs will develop destructive behaviours due to boredom," she explained. "It's important to ensure dogs are receiving ample exercise and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. A morning walk is great exercise as well as toys like a Kong with dry food inside to provide a rewarding challenge. Doggy day care is becoming increasingly popular as well."

Jack Russell Lucy is lucky enough to live in a student sharehouse, where tenants including Maddy Rochford, share the care.
Jack Russell Lucy is lucky enough to live in a student sharehouse, where tenants including Maddy Rochford, share the care. Tim Marsden

To be fair, NSW Fair Trading have recently made pet ownership easier by providing a new model by-law, which an owner or owners corporation can choose to adopt or alter. This new by-law removes any reference to pet bans and starts the issue off on more equal footing rather than defaulting to a ban; a welcome change but just a start.

I'm no lawmaker but I'm going to suggest strong use of everyone's favourite verb, 'vet' to address this problem. I'm not talking about veterinarians or, as your pet may think of it, "No, no, no, no, no". Rather, an addendum to existing vetting procedures.

As a prospective renter, we're asked to provide proof of income, recommendations and rental history, especially in high-demand suburbs. If this vetting process is already in place, shouldn't it simply be extended to include pets? Surely references from previous landlords or vets, training papers or membership in a doggy day care facility could be included?

Rental inspections/carpet cleaning is also required on most leases already, and most pet owners would be happy to do them more frequently if it means they can both find a home.

Originally published as I rent and want a pet. Why is it so hard?

News Corp Australia

Topics:  editors picks opinion pets renting


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sandgate Zonta celebrates exceptional women

Alainya Doyle won the Zonta Club of Sandgate's annual Young Women in Public Affairs award.

Three women receive awards at Sandgate Zonta Club event

LETTER: Community consultation sought on pool upgrade

The kids area at Sandgate Aquatic Centre is being upgraded, with the wading pool being transformed into an interactive all-abilities water play area. Brighton resident Dean Gibson is calling for community consultation for any future upgrade of the centre.

Ideas sought for Sandgate Aquatic Centre upgrade

Stall holders sought for Einbunpin Festival

The Bunpin has emerged from the lagoon to encourage people to get in their applications for stalls at the annual Einbunpin Festival to be held on July 30.

Planning underway for Einbunpin Festival on July 30

Local Partners

Bald Hills school makes finals of reconciliation awards

Bald Hills State School is a finalist in the Queensland Reconciliation Awards for the second year.

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Petula Clark delighted to sing live for Australian fans

STILL TOURING: English singer Petula Clark is coming to Queensland.

English star Petula Clark still puts on a great show, even at 84.

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book