Councils take stock of bond between renters and pets

SMH ; Eleanor Ainge Roy; October 24, 2011

A loyal housemate ... Brendan Leach with his dog, Sophie, is having trouble finding somewhere to rent as a pet owner.

BRENDAN LEACH has made a lot of compromises for his dog, Sophie. The 31-year-old has been looking for a rental house for the past few months but his furry friend has made it tricky.

”I would definitely have found a house already if I didn’t have a dog,” Mr Leach said. ”It’s unfair because humans are worse than animals at wrecking places.”

But Mr Leach and Sophie may have a few more options if a motion put forward by the Willoughby Council’s Companion Animal Advisory Committee is adopted.

The motion proposes the introduction of pet agreements between landlords and tenants, the introduction of pet insurance policies and a pet bond, which would be paid in addition to the regular bond.

”We’re conscious that a high number of pets are being impounded and there are a lot of healthy pets being euthanised, ” Jeff Knight, an administrative services manager at Willoughby Council, said.

”Our information is that as a general rule most rental agreements have a no pet policy, especially in apartments, and we want to see this relaxed if possible.”

But Ned Cutcher, a policy officer from the Tenants Union of NSW, says a pet bond runs the risk of discriminating against pet owners, and the Residential Tenancy Act is sufficient for tenants and landlords to form an agreement.

”It’s been a long-held view of ours that it’s not fair for a grown-up to have to ask another grown-up if they can keep a pet,” Mr Cutcher said. ”If we go down the road of landlords requiring a pet bond it could lead to landlords asking for a children’s bond, or a mother-in-law bond …”

Dogs NSW has been campaigning for 20 years for landlords to relax their restrictions on pets in rented homes, and spokesman Peter Higgins says the proposed pet bond was a ”step in the right direction”.

”There is no doubt that the role of pets in society has changed over the last 10 years,” Mr Higgins said.

”A lot of young people have dogs instead of babies and you can’t be judgmental about that if the pet is one of the major points of their love and affection.

”With elderly people in particular their pets are often their best friends and it’s almost cruel for the owner not to allow the pet to move in with them.”

Original article here…..

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4 Comments

Filed under NSW

4 responses to “Councils take stock of bond between renters and pets

  1. companionanimalnews

    Email we sent to Willoughby Council: ” Hi Jeff
    I read the article this am. As a pet owning tenant and landlord, I have to say about time this was discussed openly. We own and rent out a number of properties here in Aus and in the UK and I would say that we would rather rent our properties to owners of animals than young children – any day..

    We are currently renting ourselves in Hobart and the unbelievable nonsense and discrimination you have to put up with when you are trying to rent with a pet is unbelievable. We were disappointed on a number of occasions with the “no animals” mantra and we would be about the most responsible pet owners you would be lucky to have if we rented your property.

    I do not believe that an additional bond should be levied, ( although we offered and would have been happy to do so). The current bond should enable repair of any damages from whatever source – adults or animals.

    Other countries like France, Italy, the UK, Canada etc don’t have this nonsense – why do we? (and that goes for other areas like access to public space for animals and access to public transport). We are years behind other countries in our attitudes towards pet owners.

    If I had the time and money, I would be testing that discrimination in a court of law!

    I also work in animal welfare advocacy and we know that many people who run up against this wall and who don’t have the resources, end up surrendering their animals to pounds and this is a significant contributor to the un-necessarily high number of animals that end up dead in our pounds and shelters.”

  2. Vivienne Smith

    I rented in WA years ago and had to pay a pet bond to have my quiet gentle dog in the house. Friends who lived nearby with 3 kids did plenty of damage while my girl didnt do any apart from a hole in the yard I had to keep filling in.

  3. Geoff Birkbeck

    It still is the case in WA. The pet bond is around the $100 mark. I even had to pay it in shire subsidised housing up north. Some real estate agents even give a handout on restricted breed dogs that they will not accept.

    I was renting a house in Leederville that was earmarked for redevelopment. i then got teddy, my rescued shar pei. I did not inform the real estate agent. I woud walking him down to the office to pay my rent and the staff would come out to pat him. No one said a word.

    Another time i went to rent eleswhere and i took Teddy to the viewing with me as it was a private rental.

    Landlords discriminate on other matters too, not just pets

  4. Jan Baker

    It has been a long time coming….so many people have to surrender their pets as these selfish landlords will not let them have an animal in their houses…..I use to be a landlord & did not mind having dogs or cats in the house….then I got people with kids in the house & we had to have the carpet cleaned, the blinds replaced etc……give me animals anyday…..Australia has to move forward…

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