Shockingly - it's estimated 19,879 family pets per year are surrendered to the RSPCA because landlords say NO. That's the cruel reality behind renting with family pets in Australia.
99,399 family pets (dogs and cats) were surrendered to the RSPCA last year. In Victoria alone, 1 in 5 surrendered pets were attributed to the landlord saying NO to pets, according to RSPCA Victoria CEO Dr. Liz Walker. Source.
This number does not include all family pets who were surrendered nationally. Many tenants are forced to surrender their family pets to other council pounds and animal shelters or choose to give them away to new owners using popular websites such as Facebook and Gumtree, where the future of their much loved family members can be uncertain.
Tenants do not make this choice easily. An unfortunate reality of renting in major cities and suburbs in Australia is that pet friendly landlords are in desperate short supply. Faced with the option of homelessness or surrendering the family pet, many tenants are forced into this horrible ultimatum.
As at July 2016, Australia's major cities and surrounding suburbs had the following amount of "pets allowed" rentals, as compared to total available rentals: Sydney (2%), Melbourne (1%), Brisbane (8%), Darwin (5%), Perth (4%), Adelaide (4%), Hobart (12%) and our nations capital Canberra (6%). Source.
For many tenants renting rather than buying their own home is not a choice. The Housing Affordability crisis in Australia see's more and more tenants priced out from ever saving the deposit required to enter their own home.
The RSPCA do a fantastic job of finding a new, loving homes, for the vast majority of surrendered pets. However, the toll on individuals, families and children when being forced by landlords to give up on family pets is devastating. For most, pets are loved and cared for just as much as any other member of the family.
What kind of lessons are we teaching our children and future generations to come by showing such cruelty? Is the irrational objection by landlords worth more than demonstrating love, care and appreciation for life?
How we can expect as a society to have compassion for one-another when we are willing to give up on our family pets at the request of someone less caring?
Why are family pets such a big issue for landlords?
Many landlords would argue that family pets put the state of the rental at risk, due to damage the pet may cause. But can the same not be said of any occupant?
Landlords may ask for a bond, often totaling in the thousands, to protect themselves against damage and loss of income. They also have insurance products available to them in the event of damages exceeding the bond amount.
Landlords and agents also have access to TICA, a national database of tenants who they warn should not be rented to. They are also allowed to carry out regular inspections to ensure damage is not occurring.
Landlords should take a bond, take out insurance, check tenant rental history and lookup the tenant in TICA as a precaution to any tenancy application.
Pets should hold no bearing on the application, as there is no further risk to the landlord for allowing pets. There are also council laws and strata rules which disallow certain pets, depending on location and other factors.
Landlords are simply taking it a step too far by imposing their own ideals and beliefs on tenants.
Please help us put an end to the senseless end of life and discrimination of tenants by joining our fight for tenant rights.