NEIL KEENE ; The Sunday Telegraph ; November 11, 2012
IT’S the furry little secret thousands of tenants are keeping from their landlords – but they’ve often got no choice.
Prospective tenants desperate to find accommodation in Sydney either fib about having a pet or are forced to abandon them to shelters.
University of Western Sydney urban studies lecturer Dr Emma Power said with rental vacancy rates at record lows, competition to lease a house or apartment was fierce, even for those without a pet.
“People moving house and not being able to find pet-friendly accommodation is one of the key reasons they will relinquish pets,” she said.
“It’s not something most people take lightly, so you can imagine the kind of stress that is created in making the decision – giving up a pet versus keeping a roof over your family’s head.”
Dr Power is now set to launch a study of 1000 Sydney residents to gauge the difficulties pet owners face when they are looking for a rental house..
“We want to talk to people and see what strategies may have worked for them with finding somewhere to live, which suburbs have the most pet-friendly housing and whether they’ve had to surrender an animal to find a house,” she said.
Real Estate Institute of NSW president Christian Payne said most landlords didn’t allow pets because they created more maintenance issues.
“That’s what a landlord will look at – the cost on their investment,” he said.
But Dr Power cited overseas studies which showed tenants with pets often saved landlords money because they tended to stay longer.
Personal trainer Amelia Burton knows just how hard finding rental accommodation can be with a four-legged friend.
She and husband Tim recently sold their house in Wollstonecraft with plans to rent until they found a place to buy.
“We were rejected from three properties due solely to having a dog,” she said.
With time running out, the couple and their German short-haired pointer Diesel, found somewhere to rent just four days prior to the sale settlement.
“It took three months of serious house-hunting. It was almost like a full-time job,” she said.
Dr Power urges anyone in the Greater Sydney region renting with pets or who has done so previously to complete the study’s online survey atwww.uws.edu.au/rentingwithpets.