This means that every year 20% to 28% of all dog surrenders to shelters, and 36% of cat surrenders* are due to people being unable to find pet-friendly accommodation. People are being forced to choose between a loved member of their family and having a roof over their head. Rufus & Coco’s own study found that 1 in 5 pet owners (22%) had given away a pet or left them with a family member due to the extreme struggle to find pet-friendly accommodation.
Of these surrenders, sadly many are euthanised. These surrenders aren’t only causing heartbreak for their owners but are costing the government in shelter and veterinary costs. The Animal Welfare League in South Australia put the average cost of shelter care at $245 per dog per week.
Only now, in 2018 are we beginning to see a shift in perspective and state governments begin to recognise the benefits of pet ownership to both the individual and the state. Victoria has proudly just passed new reforms which will make it harder for landlords to refuse pets in rental properties, which will ultimately save thousands of animal lives. From 2020, Victorian renters will have greater rights and landlords will need to obtain an order through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to refuse pets.
While other states are yet to follow suit, organisations like the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation (APWF) are lobbying state governments for change. We hope to see pets welcome across the country soon. And why shouldn’t they be? Studies have found that kids do more damage to properties than pets! Pets aren’t the problem – people’s perceptions are, and this needs to change!
For pet owners on the hunt, here are five top tips for finding the paw-fect pet-friendly rental accommodation:
1. Ask the agent
While very few properties are listed as pet-friendly, the landlord may be willing to make an exception if you make your case properly. Put yourself in their shoes and address any hesitations they may have, such as barking (see Pet Resume below!) or damage. If your pet will be home all day, make sure you have references that they are quiet and peaceful pets.
2. Draft a pet resume
Spend some time drafting a pet resume, including things like vaccinations, flea and working treatments and training courses. If you’re not sure where to begin, we have built a template here.
3. Offer to pay a pet bond
Often the reason for refusal is fear of damage. While rental agreements mean the tenant is liable for any damage caused and insurance can offer extra protection, it doesn’t hurt to offer a pet bond to alleviate these fears. In reality, kids do more damage to properties than pets!
4. Check share housing sites
If you can find a property that already has a pet, there may be an opportunity to provide a companion for the currently residing pet. Offer to bring your fur-baby to inspections to meet the existing crew.
5. Look further out
The reality is that you may have to either pay a bit more or look a bit further out to find the right property for you and your fur-baby.