Renting with a pet can be a real challenge!  Most people who are searching for a new rental home who have a pet experience real difficulty securing a nice, well-priced home.  It can often be the case that older homes in poorer states of repair, or over-priced homes, are all that is available to people who rent with pets.

Another challenge can be access to certain types of properties. Generally, it is really difficult to rent a unit with a pet, but far easier to rent a house with a pet.  In between, we have the villas, townhouses and semis where it can be less challenging.

As an all-out animal lover, I empathise with people who live with pets, and I believe renters should not be less able to live with their pets than their owner-occupier friends.  It is unreasonable that pets are re-housed with strangers, or worse ... euthanased ... so that people can have a roof over their heads.

Why is it so very hard to find a suitable property to rent with a pet?

There are many reasons for this:

  1. In unit blocks, the body corporate needs to allow pets in their by-laws.  Even if pets are allowed, it can sometimes be the case that only certain types of pets are allowed, eg you can have a bird or cat or small dog, but no other pets.
  2. In unit blocks, not only does the body corporate need to allow pets, the landlord also needs to allow pets.  Again, some landlords will be ok with say a cat, but perhaps not a dog.
  3. The appropriateness of the property for the pet is also considered, eg it might be fine to have a small dog in a unit, but not a big one; it might be fine to have a dog in a garden unit / unit with a balcony / courtyard, but not a unit with no external area on title.
  4. Sometimes, property managers are so very busy - and rental demand is so high - that it is easier to say no to a pet, than to approach the landlord and ask permission - and some agencies simply don't allow pets.

Why is this?

The vast majority of pets are well-behaved, much-loved, carefully looked-after, and will cause no problems whatsoever.  But the minority .....  well, they cause huge problems.  Cats weeing on wooden floorboards (can almost never get the smell out). Cats weeing on carpets (also hard to get the smell out). Dog claws or scratches leaving engravings in wooden floorboards.  Animals becoming unwell and having loose bowel movements that splatter (sorry for the gross description ... you get the idea though).  Cats bringing mice inside ... owner not noticing .... months go by .... you get the idea.  Fleas.  The smell of dog .... which the next tenant might be very sensitive to.  Perhaps the next tenant is allergic to cat or dog fur.  Dogs scratching doors, cats clawing carpet.  The list is endless. 

The landlord's ability to claim the cost of repairs for damage caused by pets is limited. Damage to a rental property caused by a pet that is housed at the property is not always covered under landlord insurance policies.  For some landlords, the only recourse is to claim against the 4 weeks' bond that has been paid, but on say a $600 pw property, this is only $2,400 which does not go very far to repair the cost of the damage.

Combine this with the high rental demand for certain property types in certain locations, and you can understand why a landlord may be reluctant to rent a property to someone with a pet, especially when someone else has applied and they do not have a pet.

What can I do to maximise my chance of renting a home with a pet?

There's a few things renters can do to maximise their chances of successfully renting.

  1. Get a reference for your pet: something from an independent person that says your pet is well-behaved and has not caused any damage to previous homes.
  2. Get insurance for your pet to cover damage to properties caused by your pet
  3. Some tenants offer to pay more rent
  4. Some tenants offer to pay several months' rent in advance
  5. Bring a photo of your pet with you to show the agent: this shows that your pet is well-groomed and gives a visual picture of the pet to the property manager, who may be unfamiliar with your breed of pet
  6. Engage Find My Rental Property to give you a hand.  We can do all of the searches and inspections for you, saving you oodles of time, because finding a home to rent with a pet is a time-consuming and frustrating process for most renters.  We can do all of the leg work for you, presenting you with properties that are known to be pet-friendly, have been inspected already and meet your requirements.