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RSPCA NSW has received a number of enquiries from concerned pet owners who are having difficulty finding pet-friendly properties to rent for their animal-loving family. Some pet owners argue that, given the current demand for rental property, landlords are refusing applications from pet owners based on the fear that pets will simply damage property and reduce the value of the dwelling over time.

But according to a recent article written by real estate website, this belief may actually be doing landlords more harm than good. Because pet-friendly apartment buildings are in such high demand, this increases their value, and landlords who are prohibiting pets are subsequently doing themselves out of money.

Pets in apartments

Rules governing the permission of pets in apartment buildings vary from state to state. In NSW, this depends on the terms of the by-laws that apply to a strata scheme. According to the Young Lawyers Society of NSW, the date of registration of the strata scheme will need to be considered and written consent must be obtained from the Owners Corporation.

You should also be aware that many strata schemes have a condition that pets must be carried when being transported from the dwelling to the outside. If you have a pet that you can't carry, this is obviously going to be a problem. In addition, some may have restrictions relating to the weight, size and breed of the pet.

RSPCA NSW recommends reading RSPCA ACT's publication 'Should I Share my Apartment with a Dog?' before deciding to apply for an apartment tenancy, or purchasing a pet if you're already in a pet-friendly strata scheme.

Maintaining the peace

If you are successful in your application to gain consent (congratulations!), here are some useful tips for keeping that consent:

  • Introduce your pet to your neighbours. Forming a bond between you, your neighbours and your pet may help smooth over any restless nights or incidents in the future.
  • Be honest with your landlord. If an incident occurs (stains, damages, holes, tears, etc.), report it to your landlord immediately and let them know what steps you have taken to rectify the situation. If needs be, invite them over to see what's happened and to discuss options of rectifying the problem. Your desire to be open, honest and responsible will help maintain a good relationship. Additionally, if you don't report an incident and the landlord discovers it later, they may decide to terminate your lease or not renew it.
  • If you intend on adding an additional pet family member, make sure that you discuss this with your landlord. You will also have to go through the process of obtaining permission from the Owners Corporation once more.
  • Ensure that you have a good pet waste plan! Nothing is more off-putting to landlords and neighbours than a dwelling that smells of animal waste. Make sure that you clean up after your pet on a regular basis (immediately, if not daily) and dispose of the waste properly. Airing and deodorising the dwelling will certainly help.
  • If your pet becomes noisy, takes steps to try and reduce this. Regularly exercising your pets will reduce their tendency to be noisy or be destructive. Alternatively, seek training as this can assist with any concerns or issues.

Tips on obtaining consent from the Owners Corporation or from a property Landlord

  • Put together a 'pet resume' detailing information about your pet, their medical status including up-to-date vaccination information, flea treatments, temperament assessments, desexing certificate, microchip details (including local council registration certificate), plus any obedience training certificates they may have received.
  • Supply references. No we're not kidding! References from your vet and/or obedience trainer will help a landlord see that your pet is obedient. If you have lived in a previous pet-friendly property, obtain a reference from your previous landlord or Owners Corporation to demonstrate that your pet was an 'ideal tenant'.
  • If you're negotiating for birds, pocket pets, pigs, etc. supplying an image of their enclosure can also assist.
  • Introduce your pet to your potential landlord. This is again so that they can assess your pet’s temperament and obedience.
  • Supply a written declaration to your landlord that you will pay for any and all damages that may be caused to the property by your pet.
  • Negotiate an agreement with your landlord so that they may come and visit the property to ensure that no damage has been caused by your pet. When doing so, make sure you negotiate a date and time that is fair to both parties. Ensure that you fulfil these inspection appointments!
  • Research your strata. If other tenants have applied to have a pet and have permission, citing them as an example may increase your chances.

How You Can Help

How you can help

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