Millions of us are renters and millions of us are pet owners. But sometimes it’s not easy to be both.
And while recently passed reforms to Victoria’s state tenancy laws will soon give all Victorian renters the right to live with a pet, not all pet-owning renters are quite so lucky. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to find out what the laws in your state have to say about this issue.)
Here’s how to find a pet-friendly apartment and win over your prospective landlord.
It’s an obvious thing to do, but many renters don’t do it – especially when a property listing says “no pets allowed”.
However, previous realestate.com.au surveys revealed that tenants who broached the topic of pets with their landlords were much more likely to get a favourable outcome.
So, don’t be discouraged: Ask the question, but remember to respect the answer.
Pet-phobic landlords and property managers are also more likely to relent on their restrictions when tenants offer to pay more rent.
So, if you have a few spare dollars and are willing to pay above the listed rent to guarantee a home for your pets, then make that clear to your property manager. It could be the difference between a yes and a no.
It’s not unreasonable for a landlord to seek assurances that every inhabitant of their property will treat it with due care.
And while we can’t have pets sign on the dotted line, we can provide details and context about our pets, so that a property manager feels confident about letting them move in.
Create a pet reference that includes the pet’s age, temperament and vaccinations history, and attach a recent photograph, to pull at their heartstrings.
You may also want to include character references from a previous property manager, vet or anyone who can credibly speak to your pet’s behaviour.
Good news: Landlords say yes to pets
Retain vaccination certificates, vet receipts and other pet paperwork, so that you can easily produce them if required.
It’s also worth regularly sharing these with your property manager, to give them peace of mind about your pet’s health and status.
Making the effort will remind them you are a caring renter and pet owner.
Think of your furry friend.
Would you want to live in a one-bedroom apartment with no backyard if you were a dog?
Your property search should be suitable for you and your pet. Keeping it within certain parameters will also increase the likelihood that your application will be accepted.
If your landlord or property manager is not fully convinced, ask if they would be willing to lease the property to you on a trial basis.
They can see how your pet is doing in the property, and you can make adjustments to the lease as required.
If you are already in a rental property and thinking about getting a pet, be aware of the space around you.
In smaller spaces, a goldfish is a better idea than a golden retriever.
If you agree to pay a little more to have your pet, or are trialling it out for a short period, get these agreed terms in writing.
If there is any confusion or disputes down the track, everyone can defer to those documents.
You can also draw up a separate pet agreement outlining all terms and your responsibilities.
Offer to remove all trace of your pet’s presence when you leave.
While you are already obligated to clean a property when you depart, providing further commitments to deep clean carpets, treat for fleas and deodorise might be enough to get your pet over the threshold.
Finally, remember that it’s not always the landlord’s decision. Strata and communal laws may prohibit or restrict animals in a property, even if the landlord gives their blessings.