Help keep pets with their families

AWLQ joins fight to ensure pet-friendly rentals for Queenslanders.

With rentals making up more than a third of houses in Queensland, finding the right property to lease can be a stressful task.

If you have a dog or a cat, the search becomes much harder with only 10% of Queensland properties allowing pets.

To assist pet owners the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) has backed a change in state legislation to make pet ownership in rental properties easier.

Under the proposed legislation tenants would be allowed to keep pets with consent from their landlord. The property owner could only refuse a request with approval from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal based on a set of prescribed reasons. 

Similar legislation has already been passed in Victoria, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory.

AWLQ Strategic Director Dr Joy Verrinder said AWLQ shared the heartbreak and devastation with people who were forced to surrender their much-loved pets to comply with Queensland’s current legislation.

“Many people rely on their pets for companionship,” Dr Verrinder said.

“It should be unlawful to discriminate against them just because they have a pet as part of their family.”

A quarter of animals surrendered to AWLQ each year are due to accommodation issues including people not being able to find a pet-friendly residence due to agents or landlords not allowing pets, moving and homelessness.

BE WARY OF POTENTIAL PITFALLS WHEN MOVING WITH A PET

Make Renting Fair in Queensland spokesperson Penny Carr said there were now more Queensland households renting than purchasing their own home.

“To deny people the right to own an animal on the basis of their housing tenure is unreasonable,” Ms Carr said.

“With an increasing number of families renting, it’s sad that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children are denied having a pet because they don’t own their own home.

“We strongly encourage the government to push ahead with these improvements which will ban blanket pet exclusions by agents and put the onus on landlords to refuse pets.”

Dr Verrinder said the current legislation, in which landlords could refuse pets without reason, can leave renters feeling like second-class citizens.

“Renters with pets feel powerless in this situation. If they complain or question the landlord, they may lose their accommodation,” she said.

“If they move, it can be extremely difficult to find another place to live with their beloved pet.

“We understand that property owners’ need to protect their assets. However, safeguards are already in place for landlords through the existing rental bond system, as well as opportunities to insure with companies who cover pet damage.

“This legislation encourages responsibility and accountability from both parties.”

To support the petition to encourage the Queensland Government to enact legislation to make it easier for renters to keep their pets, visit awlqld.com.au/rentingwithpets.