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Brisbane vet Michael O’Donoghue has seen too many people have to give up, or put down, their pets because they could not find a rental property that welcomed animals.

“It’s very heart-breaking, people euthanising their beloved pet because they can’t find accommodation,” he said.

The People and Pets veterinarian is pushing for more pet-friendly rental properties to be made available to encourage more families to adopt animals and stop the displacement of loved family members.

According to the RSPCA, 30 per cent of pets surrendered to the organisation are from owners who cannot find adequate accommodation.

Mr O’Donoghue’s effort to publicise the need for more pet-friendly rentals, and his ideas for homes to be built to be more welcoming to cats and dogs, have been praised by the celebrity vet Katrina Warren as part of a competition calling for ways to create a pet-friendly world.

His perspective is also shared by Tenants Union of Queensland coordinator Penny Carr, who said renters struggled to find properties that allowed pets and often had to settle for homes which were unsuitable in the short term while finding a new home.

“It’s really difficult and I think it is really unfair especially for kids who are denied having a pet as a child because of these unreasonable restrictions,” she said.

The Residential Tenancies Authority states a tenant can only keep pets on a premises if their tenancy agreement states pets are allowed.

It does not allow landlords to make pet owners pay a larger bond.

Property Owners Association of Queensland president Bruce McBryde said, apart from body corporates and real estate agents warning against landlords allowing pets, owners were also wary of the cost of damage to their properties and the difficulties in recouping those costs.

He said it was difficult to get tenants to take responsibility for damage caused by pets to rental properties since the RTA allowed for no extra protection for landlords.

“Ideally if you really want to make landlords more pet friendly you need to change the regulations to allow them to take a bigger bond,” Mr McBryde said.

“At least then the landlord would have more incentive.”

Mr McBryde also suggested routine treatment for carpeted homes.

Vet pleads for landlords to allow pets

“Perhaps in the legislation it could be mandated that if you have carpet you would need to have a flea treatment before you leave the property, similar to how tenants have the carpets shampooed,” he said.

Mr O’Donoghue was supportive of the idea of mandating flea treatments when a pet owner leaves a carpeted property.

But he did not believe dogs and cats were more destructive than children or teenagers.

“Generally a normal bond should cover any sort of damage a pet could possibly do, it is only going to be a scratch on the wall or replace a bit of carpet,” he said.

“But I find in my own personal experience that young children are more destructive to houses than pets are.”

Ms Carr agreed.

“Tenants already have an obligation to restore the property to the same condition as it was when they got it except for fair wear and tear,” she said.

“If tenants don’t restore their property there can be a claim against their bond and sometimes there are orders over and above the bond for tenants to compensate.”

Ms Carr said she would love to run a test case on whether pet owners had a right to house pets on their rental property.

“I think there is an argument in saying that not allowing pets is a breach of the right to ‘quiet enjoyment of the property’,” she said.

“You have a contract which says this is your home and you can’t do anything illegal in that home, but other than that you have a right to peace and comfort and privacy in using that property.”

RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said the organisation urged landlords to be a lot more sympathetic to people who want to have pets.

“If you look at it logically someone who is going to take good care of their animal is going to take good care of their property,” he said.

Mr Beatty said the Companion Animal Council provided contracts for landlords and tenants to sign when entering an agreement to allow pets on to a property.

Story by Dan Nancarrow, www.domain.com.au

Thousands of animals across the country are being abandoned every year because landlords are unwilling to rent homes to people with pets, the RSPCA says.

The RSPCA manages about 160,000 animals Australia-wide each year, and the charity’s ACT chief Michael Linke says shelters are bursting at the seams because changing living situations mean people can no longer stay with their pets.

“It’s unfair someone’s expected to surrender an animal under those circumstances,” he said.

“It’s a heartbreaking thing. I’ve sat in the room with people as they’re surrendering their animals; they don’t want to do it but their choices have been limited.

“It’s their only option because of pressure on rental accommodation, and they’ve taken that difficult decision.

“It’s heartbreaking for our staff, but then we’ve got the double whammy because we then need to find a home for that animal.”

Mr Linke says pet owners struggle trying to rent private and single-dwelling houses the most.

“We’ve been calling on the Real Estate Institute and private land-holders to loosen the ties a bit and be more forthcoming in allowing people with pets to find accommodation, because we’re finding a lot of people are surrendering animals to move into free-standing houses,” he said.

Pets abandoned as rental market heats up

Jacqui Limberger and her partner Ryan Blunden created a software application which helps find pet-friendly rentals on realestate.com and domain.com.

Their website also helps pet owners write a resume for their furry friends, to help give them a better shot of being approved by real estate agents.

“Research has show a lot of landlords and agents may not even consider letting to someone with a pet until they’ve seen its credentials and references from other landlords,” Jacqui says.

“It gives applicants another piece of evidence to say ‘My pet’s not a problem, I’m a good tenant and I take responsibility for my pet.’

“It’s about providing people with information and resources, so landlords see pet renting doesn’t have to be a problem and also to help applicants put their best foot forward.”

Inner-city kitty?

But there may be some good news for pet lovers.

The RSPCA’s Mr Linke says that these days, there’s more chance of then being approved to rent units and apartments, and a new study has found you don’t necessarily need a big back yard to own a dog or cat.

Susie Willis from the Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS) says a recent study of 800 people found pets and owners who live in units are just as happy as those who have backyards.

“There are some breeds of dogs that really fit indoor living – like pugs, whippets, french bulldogs – that don’t actually like it too hot or too cold, so being indoors is ideal for them,” she said.

“Toilet training is obviously important but the reality is, most healthy adult dogs can be quite happy with two or three toilet breaks a day.”

She says there’s no reason for people who live in a small inner-city place to not have a pet, and the PIAS has put out a ‘how to’ guide to help people out.

“We’ve got tips on how to prevent people from becoming bored, exercise, how to create a pet-friendly environment,” she said.

“The whole point is, you can keep dogs without a backyard, but you do have to be careful with the way you manage the situation.

“We go through things from what to think about when choosing a dog or cat, how to find reliable sources to get them, what to think about when deciding on different breeds, and then we look at common problems and give tips and advice on how to solve issues.

“We also look at rental situations because it can be difficult to own pets in that situations.

“One of the things we’re conscious of doing is trying to make sure that people don’t get the wrong sort of pet and they don’t get a pet if they can’t give the necessary commitment to its ongoing care.”

Story By Cassie White – ABC News

Your pets will always be aware that something new is happening. As with humans, your pets enjoy comfortable and familiar surroundings. Moving away from routines will increase the stress levels.

Quotify has an excellent site detailing some of the measures you should consider when moving with your pets. Among the main concerns are:

> Keeping pet routines regular.

> Ensuring animals are registered and have all their identification tags available – especially during the moving period in case they get lost.

> Have your pet checked by the vet before you move.

> Ensure your pet meets local laws and regulations if you have moved interstate – some states have curfews (and in some cases outright bans) for different animals.

> Make sure your pet is accustomed to its familiar surrounding such as bowls and toys, etc, soon after they have arrived at your new address.

If you’re travelling by car, ensure you have the correct size animal carrier for your pet.

moving-your-pets-2-min

 

> It’s a good idea not to feed pets substantial meals during the trip, but rather have snacks and plenty of water.

  • Incorporate breaks and exercise time for pets into the trip.
  • Take a litter box for cats and scoop and plastic bags for dogs.

> Dogs should be acclimatised to their new surroundings as soon as possible – take them for a walk to familiarise themselves.

> With cats, in particular, it is a good idea to leave one room where they feel completely at home and are not upset by the sight of packing boxes and furniture out of place.

> At a cat’s new location, it is likely to feel out of place for a while and may be happy being kept inside until it’s ready to venture forth.

  • A good solution is to leave the cat in cage outside to check its new surroundings – with you not far away of course.
  • Making sure your cat is allowed to look outside through windows is a good way of letting them acclimatise.

> Animals such as guinea pigs, mice, birds or reptiles, should be kept in their cages, covered and cool.

  • Ensure they have access to water as soon as you arrive at your location.

> You could consider rubbing a towel around your cat’s or dog’s body at your old address and rubbing this around prominent surfaces at your new address to ensure your pet gets a feeling of ‘home’ at its new location.

> Some companies might move pets – always ensure you have up to date vaccination and vet records.

Story by Alice M –realestate.com.au