#6 Allow Pets

THE PROBLEM

Pets are an important part of the family and contribute to people’s mental and physical health, and general wellbeing, however they are often not permitted in rental properties.

THE FACTS

57% of Western Australians own a pet[1]and 28.3% of WA homes are rented[2]. However, only 13% of rental properties listed in WA say pets are allowed, 27% say “no pets” and 60% make no reference to pets[3]. Sadly, this often leads to people having to surrender their pet due to their housing situation – according to the RSPCA, 15% of pets surrendered are because the owners were moving and could not take their pets[4]. It is the number one reason people surrender their beloved pet. 

WA currently has a “pet bond” which is meant to help facilitate more renters to be able to have pets, but it hasn’t worked with the majority of rental properties still not allowing pets.

Just like home owners, tenants have to comply with local government regulations about the safe and clean keeping of pets. While some pets may cause damage to a property, tenants are liable for the repairs, just as they would any other damage through the bond, an additional pet bond, or a compensation order if the issue cannot be resolved by agreement. 

29.38% of Make Renting Fair WA survey respondents said they had been refused a rental property because of a pet (or were not permitted pets). 

THE SOLUTION
To Make Renting Fair in WA, people who rent should also be able to keep their pets in their rental homes. In Victoria, sweeping reforms to the state’s tenancy rulesin 2017 mean that every tenant in Victoria will have the right to have a pet in their rental property, so long as they obtain the landlord’s written consent first (the landlord will be taken to have consented unless they apply to VCAT within 14 days). This reform is due to commence by 1 July 2020.  

The law should change in WA so that tenants are allowed to have pets, unless there is a legitimate reason not to. For example, if the property owner is allergic and intends to live in the property themselves at some point pets may be refused. But otherwise, pets should be allowed with appropriate protections for property owners through the property condition report and bond. It’s not fair to deny tenants’ rights that others take for granted. 

“I had to rehome my cat. I’m lonely without a cat or dog”

“I would like to be allowed pets”

“We have a pet who is supposed to stay outdoors & I received a breach notice as she was inside on inspection day (I wasn’t present). Our pet, like many others, is part of the family and she causes no damage or mess ever. I’d like to see a review of this please.”

Make Renting Fair WA survey respondents

[1]https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/AMA_Pet-Ownership-in-Australia-2016-Report_sml.pdf

[2]https://quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2016/quickstat/5?opendocument

[3]https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/property/renters-missing-out-australia-pet-boom/

[4]https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-08/victorian-tenants-allowed-pets-in-rental-properties/9027000