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Tenants hiding pets as rental shortage worsens

Sydney mum Patricia Krainz spent two and a half months frantically trying to find a rental property while going through a marriage breakup and having to sell the family home.

She was at her wits end worried she and her daughter Francesca along with their pets would never secure a place to live.

Patricia said she never imagined searching for an affordable pet-friendly rental would be so hard but many did not want to accept her pets: Benji the Maltese Terrier, Eagle the canary, Stewie the budgie and Polo the cockatiel.

Her pets were everything to her as they were like family but she strongly suspects she was rejected so often because she chose to be upfront and honest with agents about having pets. 
Some straight out rejected her, while others wouldn’t say why her offer was not accepted.

In NSW, landlords can refuse tenants who have pets without a reason unless they have an assistance animal. 

However, tenancy laws are currently being reviewed by the New South Wales Government to bring the state into line with other states and territories, which are more lenient and easier for tenants to have pets.

Patricia is not alone when it comes to finding a rental.
It is a real struggle with rental supply at its lowest level in two decades and skyrocketing prices. Many believe landlords and strata management companies are being pickier about who they choose with some opting for tenants without pets.

After much angst and months of searching Patricia finally found a pet-friendly place, but not before having to give away two of her beloved birds and blowing her budget.

“After being in property management for nearly 20 years I’ve seen a growing number of tenants so worried about being rejected if they have pets that they may not be upfront at the beginning. says Andrew ColagiuriFounder of FLKitover.

“But more than ever before landlords are agreeing to pets being allowed on the property and often more than one, but many people are still hiding the fact they have pets which could leave them worse off.

The data shows demand for pets in rentals is steadily increasing by 3% a year since 2017, with dogs being most popular followed by cats then birds.

FLKitover, a property management tool we created, revealed data over the past two years shows one in four tenancy leases include a pet clause compared to a decade ago when "no pets allowed" was the default position by landlords.

When COVID started, we saw a dramatic spike in requests for tenants to be allowed to keep chickens, dogs and cats and that spike is continuing.

Dogs are by far the most popular pet with over 35,000 leases signed through the FLKitover platform including at least one dog followed by cats with 8,000 leases which often come in a pair.

Chickens are in third place followed by a variety of animals from guinea pigs, mice, snakes to horses and while a single pet is the most common there is a growing number of tenants having more than one pet.

Despite the shortage of rental properties, landlords are not reverting to the "no pets policy", instead they are embracing it, partly because of changes to legislation but also because it’s better to find a quality tenant even if it means allowing a pet.

Our advice is don't introduce the pet as a negative to your application, get on the front foot and make the pet (s) part of your application with their own resume, pictures are also great. It gives a human element to the situation and an owner can be more receptive to the pet once they see what kind it is.

Agents have a pretty busy time on Mondays processing applications, so provide all the information needed in one email (or hand it to them on Saturday). 

Make it as easy as possible to process your application, proactively get a reference about your pet from your current landlord and include that in the application is a great help too.”

About FLKitover

FLKitover allows you to create and send a suite of real estate documents for signing, packed with automation features allowing you to significantly cut down the turnaround time it takes to get your lease agreements signed. It also integrates with PropertyMe, PropertyTree and Managed App.
For more information, visit

You can find them on Facebook at and @FLKitover on Instagram.

MEDIA RELEASE, 16th November 2022

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