Fight for more pet-friendly rentals

AWLQ reveals why so many Queenslanders are surrendering their pets.

In the last financial year, nearly 2000 cats and dogs were surrendered to Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ) in South-East Queensland. Some 21% of these were surrendered due to moving or the inability of owners to find pet-friendly accommodation.

AWLQ Strategic Director Dr Joy Verrinder said developers needed to play their part in opening the real estate market to pet ownership, by designing properties that suited pets.

“Currently 63% of Australian households have a cat or dog, and of the Australians who don’t own a pet, 53% would like to in the future,” Dr Verrinder said.

“Yet the Residential Tenancies Authority reports that only 10% of rental properties allow pets.

This is an untenable situation, with 34% of Queenslanders finding their homes in the rental market.”

AWLQ strongly supports the approach of the new Rent Fair legislation passed by the Victorian Government in September.

“Under this legislation, pet-friendly rentals will become the default position, providing reasonable conditions are met,” Dr Verrinder said.

“Tenants will have the right to keep pets, provided they obtain the landlord’s written consent first. To refuse a pet, the landlord will need to get approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.”

Queensland Government Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni recently announced an ‘Open Doors to Rental Reform’ to invite renters, landlords and real estate agents to share their views and experiences.

“We encourage Queensland residents to participate and ask for Rent Fair legislation like that introduced by the Victorian Government to be introduced in Queensland,” Dr Verrinder said.

“Ideally, the laws should be reformed to make it illegal for an owner to discriminate against a person with a pet – provided the person demonstrates the capacity to care for the pet’s welfare, and not damage the property or prohibit other residents’ use and enjoyment of their lots.

“They also need to agree to pay for any accidental damage.”

The Open Doors to Rental Reform consultation runs from 30 September until 30 November 2018, featuring a range of consultation activities, including pop-up kiosks at markets and shopping centres where people can share their views and experience of renting in Queensland.

Information about the dates and locations of consultation events and the online survey can be found at www.qld.gov.au/rentinginqld. You can also email rentinginqld@hpw.qld.gov.au or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld.