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Tips for Renting with Pets in Australia

With so much discussion currently around renting with pets, Pet Insurance Australia investigates what pet owners need to consider before they sign up to a rental and also suggest the dog breeds best suited to apartment living. 

“It’s no surprise to renting pet owners that finding the right place can be a hassle,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “Finding a pet-friendly building, and then an understanding landlord alongside accepting neighbours, particularly in an apartment situation, can be extremely difficult.”

However, things could be on the change with some successful challenges by pet owners, as in the case of *Baxter earlier this year.

“Generally speaking, many landlords also take the lowest-risk option, not wanting to worry about maybe having to chase tenants for damage done by their pets or because of nuisance caused to other owners,”  explains Jimmy Thomson, Editor the strata living advice website Flat Chat.

“However, the very right of owners corporations (body corporates) to have blanket bans has been successfully challenged at the NSW Tribunal (NCAT). The case of a dog called Baxter became famous earlier this year when the Tribunal ruled that a blanket ban on pets was oppressive and harsh.”

Jimmy also notes that "owners corporations have also been challenged, with tribunals ruling that blanket bans on pets are invalid, although rules about pets on common property are OK.

It’s good to see the rules are starting to change however it is important that pet owners do their research when it comes to the rules governing the landlords,” Crighton suggests. “Finding the right place and having some good information in regards to your pet – like a pet resume - will help immensely.”
Pet owners also need to get the facts before they consider investing in an apartment and understand the rules regarding pet-friendly buildings. But it’s obvious that some landlords and rental agents need to get real when it comes to pet ownership and available homes.

“Australia has one of the highest incidents of pet ownership in the world, so this is a very important issue facing a lot of hardworking and responsible pet owners,” Crighton says. “It’s time we see real change in thinking to allow more pet owners access to secure and reliable homes.”

Jimmy agrees: “many landlords are realizing that there are simple economics at play,” he says. “All compassion aside, why would a commercially-minded landlord exclude one third of potential renters?”

Top Tips for Renting with Pets:
  • Develop a pet resume for your pet outlining things like: vaccination, training, supervision etc. 
  • Find a good pet-friendly real estate agent, a pet-friendly building and a pet-friendly landlord. 
  • Check the rules for the strata before purchasing an apartment or the rules for renting. 
  • If you feel like you are getting nowhere try and contact the owner direct and ask if owning a pet is a deal breaker, you may need to think outside the box (pet damage bond etc). 
  • Be a responsible pet owner and don’t allow your pet to damage property. 
  • Iron out all behavioural problems such as barking and stay in contact with your neighbours, so you know when a problem arises.

Find an apartment block that’s already pet-friendly. Check the by-laws and talk to people who live there – especially pet owners when they take their dogs for a walk. 

Whatever you do, don’t go riding in on your high horse, determined to make everyone else in a pet-unfriendly building do what you want,” Jimmy warns. 

 “That road can only lead to grief and anxiety and, ultimately, you facing potentially having to sell or find a new home for your fur-baby.”

Top Dog Breeds for Apartment Living:

“Obviously little dogs are easier in smaller spaces but don’t be fooled by size, even the Great Dane can make a wonderful apartment dog, that’s if you have the room for him to stretch out!” Crighton says.
 “It’s all about researching your dog's breed history – companion dogs or working dogs - and their exercise requirements. Many top breed research sites will clearly state if the breed is suitable for apartment life or not.”


MEDIA RELEASE, 10 October 2018

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