19 April 2016

ACT is pet-friendly, unless you're renting

| Alexandra Craig
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Canberra was recently found to be one of the most ‘pet friendly’ cities in Australia. Overall the ACT took out the crown for the most dog-friendly place in Australia and the third most friendly for cats.

The survey looked at things like outdoor spaces for pets, such as off-leash dog areas and dog parks, animal welfare provisions, rights for tenants with pets and availability of businesses for pets like groomers and dog walkers.

A lot of this I would agree with, except for the point about rights for tenants with pets. Last week I decided to have a quick browse of rental properties out of curiosity, and about 95% of them said ‘no pets’ on the advertisement. I am constantly seeing people trying to rehome pets because their new home won’t allow pets.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not mention the word ‘pet’ once. Nor does it mention ‘cat’ or ‘dog’. It’s not in there at all. So, as far as the legislation is concerned, Canberra does look pretty pet friendly. However it seems that a lot of property managers and investment property owners are extremely anti-pet. Often new tenants are made to sign an additional clause by the real estate agent that they will not have a pet. I find this really, really disappointing.

A few years back, I was renting an apartment in Kingston. I lived by myself and I was so lonely, I really wanted a cat. But I had signed the clause to say I couldn’t have a pet. I checked out the legislation and found that there was nothing in there stopping me from having a pet, so I took this up with my property manager. I told her straight up that I wanted a cat, was aware of the clause I had signed, but the legislation says nothing about this. I had been a great tenant so far, so in my mind there was absolutely no reason why they could deny me the right to have a cat. Fortunately, I was lucky that the owner of my apartment allowed me to have a cat on the condition that I got the apartment fumigated when I moved out. And my little ginger Penny came into my life.

I don’t know why more property managers and property owners aren’t more reasonable. Isn’t the whole point of having a rental bond being to pay for any damage at the end of a lease? Isn’t the whole point of rental inspections to keep an eye on things and identify any damage along the way?

RSPCA ACT CEO Tammy Ven Dange recently wrote a blog about the benefits of allowing pets in rental properties, telling of the time she spoke at a property management conference here in Canberra and asked the audience how many times a pet has caused significant damage to a property, and only two people put their hands up.

It was easy enough for me, because I already lived in a property before I got the pet so I was able to negotiate. For people who already own a pet it is very tricky, especially when the rental market is so tough. The property manager will simply pick someone with no pets over someone with a cat or a dog.

I think that property managers shouldn’t be able to refuse reasonable requests to bring pets (obviously if someone has a lot of pets and wants to move into a one bedroom apartment there will be a bit of a problem). Pets should be accepted if the prospective tenant has good rental references. I think most tenants would be more than happy to pay for fumigation or similar at the end of their lease if they were able to bring their pets.

Until there’s a greater amount of pet-friendly properties available, I don’t think the ACT can claim to be a pet-friendly city.

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I’m aware of the difficulties in finding a pet-friendly rental, even more so after reading the comments on this thread, but I was wondering if anyone has any practical advice on how to find a pet friendly rental? Are there any agencies, apart from Distinct, who encourage landlords to consider pets? Is it better to look for a private rental – given some agencies appear to have blanket bans on pets? I have one cat and can provide a good reference from my previous rental on my responsible ownership/care of the property.

MarieTherese said :

Spare a thought for your landlord. If you want to keep and help lots of cats you really need to get the landlord’s approval first or buy your own house.

Even without cats, it takes a lot of time, money and effort to bring a rental property up to a good standard after tenants have vacated. There is always a lot of maintenance and routine wear and tear that requires attention.

As a land lady I take a lot of trouble to make sure that the house is as homely and comfortable as possible for the new tenants. I have worked so hard to buy the rental house. It has taken years of hard work and saving.

To have someone move in and not consult with me first about keeping cats makes me so disappointed and sad. I would be even more disappointed if the tenant then thought that they could do as they pleased and bring more cats in without telling me that also.

Also, my rental house is opposite a reserve which is home to many small animals and birdlife. As cats are predatory animals all these small animals lives are at risk if cats kill them.

As a land lady I pay a land tax, rates, managing agents fees and then I am taxed on what little is left. I think all these costs take about 80% of the rent money. I need the small amount that is left after the rent to help pay for my children’s schooling, food and clothes.

If I have to repaint, recarpet and remulch the garden after the tenants with cats have left it would make life even harder and could take me years to pay off the damages.

If my tenants decide to have cats into the house without my permission, it will leave me nothing to live on. I would rather have the house vacant that have cats staying there that I know nothing about.

Fumigating the house when you leave simply won’t be enough. Spare a thought for your land lord and all their costs.

I do agree that a tenant needs to get permission to keep a pet before they bring one into the house, but what you describe that is needed after a pet has been there is exaggerated, unless it has been a bad tenant and then there will be other, likely worse issues to deal with. I suspect your reaction to tenants having a cat as a pet is how you feel about cats personally and it’s colouring your reaction to them (you didn’t mention dogs). I too have had a rental property and I too have had tenants that have had pets there, two tenants had dogs without permission and in one case, (two very large dogs) with permission. The house never needed fulminating or special cleaning because of the pet. The first tenant turned out to be a bad tenant and the dog was the least of the worry. Broken window and holes in the wall put the dog into perspective. The next tenant who kept the dog there without permission didn’t do any harm to the house by having the dog there and left the house clean. The third tenant who kept the two large dogs there (with permission) was a ‘dream’ tenant and the house was kept immaculately. The house never needed extra cleaning because of the pet, and the biggest issue I had with a house being left unclean, was with a tenant who had no pets.

OK, not a pet story, but as a former landlord, you unfortunately do need to err on the side of caution. My last tenant the agent said was very nice and worked as ‘a waitress and a dancer’. I suspected stripper but thought “don’t be judgemental, its a legal profession and she’ll make good money and be fine with the rent”. A few months in she fell behind and it never really got better. Dodgy boyfriend punched holes in a door, kept bins in the stairwell, scuff marks on the ceiling, garden dead, damage to some of the furniture (it was partly furnished). and god knows what else because my neighbour said “I wish i had your number overseas”. Still get debt collectors letters. I deducted the bond but it wasn’t enough for everything, so in future yes I will be judgemental and cautious. Sad but you do need to assume the worst and be pleasantly surprised if that’s not the case.

While not the responsibility of Distinct granted so this is not a dig at this company, we have not had much luck getting said fence repaired. The tree’s that have started the fence on it’s downward spiral are not on our property.

Can you please send an email to act@distinctpm.com.au so I can look into the issues you are having with the fence for you.

MarieTherese5:29 am 20 Nov 15

Spare a thought for your landlord. If you want to keep and help lots of cats you really need to get the landlord’s approval first or buy your own house.

Even without cats, it takes a lot of time, money and effort to bring a rental property up to a good standard after tenants have vacated. There is always a lot of maintenance and routine wear and tear that requires attention.

As a land lady I take a lot of trouble to make sure that the house is as homely and comfortable as possible for the new tenants. I have worked so hard to buy the rental house. It has taken years of hard work and saving.

To have someone move in and not consult with me first about keeping cats makes me so disappointed and sad. I would be even more disappointed if the tenant then thought that they could do as they pleased and bring more cats in without telling me that also.

Also, my rental house is opposite a reserve which is home to many small animals and birdlife. As cats are predatory animals all these small animals lives are at risk if cats kill them.

As a land lady I pay a land tax, rates, managing agents fees and then I am taxed on what little is left. I think all these costs take about 80% of the rent money. I need the small amount that is left after the rent to help pay for my children’s schooling, food and clothes.

If I have to repaint, recarpet and remulch the garden after the tenants with cats have left it would make life even harder and could take me years to pay off the damages.

If my tenants decide to have cats into the house without my permission, it will leave me nothing to live on. I would rather have the house vacant that have cats staying there that I know nothing about.

Fumigating the house when you leave simply won’t be enough. Spare a thought for your land lord and all their costs.

User777 said :

gooday said :

I own a Real Estate Agency (www.distinctpm.com.au) and we encourage owners to consider pets on application. Every pet, just like every tenant is different. Some of our best tenants have pets. Some owners just don’t want pets in their property and we respect that also.

Pets, just like children can cause a lot of damage. Some tenants try not to accept responsibility when their kids damage a property and some do the same with pets. It comes down to picking the right tenant in the first place. I can’t stress this enough, check everything twice!

It also comes down to tenants understanding their responsibilities at the commencement of the tenancy and being reminded of these during routine inspections. If a pet or a child causes damage at a property, regardless of the amount of bond on hand, the tenant is still responsible for any costs that exceed the bond. Agents and Owners should be prepared to go to ACAT (Tribunal) to get an order for any additional costs to be paid that aren’t covered by the bond, regardless of how the damage was caused, pet or otherwise. Another way to protect yourself is to have good landlords insurance (which you should have anyway).

We explain to tenants when they take on a property with a pet that they need to ensure that any droppings are collected, the pets must not annoy the neighbours and if they have a cat or a dog and it pees inside, the tenant may be required to replace carpet and underlay and even cover the cost of sealing the floor underneath if the damage has gone through. We also check behind window coverings for fur and in gardens for missing/damaged plants.

If you are worried about wear and tear, then pick a tenant with a pet that’s right for the property. If you’ve got a brand new property then I wouldn’t recommending a pet that would cause high wear and tear (like a big high energy dog), if you’ve got an older property with carpets that are already pretty tired then what’s the harm?

A great condition report is essential to protect yourself, if your condition report is full of ticks and crosses and doesn’t include photo’s or have much of a description then you are asking for trouble.

We do know a large number of Agents in the ACT have blanket “No Pets” policies, regardless of the owners preference – I do think that’s a little silly.

Having said all of the above, a pet is just another family member and the people on the tenancy agreement are responsible for the property and if its damaged by a pet, visitor or child the liability still remains with the tenant.

Not all pets are good, not all tenants are good. Picking a pet that suits the property is just as important as picking a tenant that suits the property.

The best way to protect your investment is to know your rights, be thorough in your inspections and work in partnership with your tenants for a positive outcome. Pick the right tenants and pets won’t be a problem.

The right tenant will actually report and fix any damage before you even become aware of it.

As a side note, did you know that ACAT treat every tenancy as ‘pets allowed’ unless a specific ‘No Pets’ clause has been added. ACAT have approved a no pets clause for use where additional endorsement is not required. If you don’t want pets at the property make sure it is clearly stated on the lease.

I generally wouldn’t recommend taking a brand new puppy or kitten into an investment property, but pets that have been toilet trained and are through the kitten/puppy stage (approx 2 years old) are generally OK. Even better if they come with their own pet reference.

I encourage owners to advertise “Pets considered on application” or “Pets suitable for apartment living will be considered” as this means the little old lady with a 15 year old lapdog that sleeps in the sun all day and is her only companion isn’t excluded.

Pets considered doesn’t mean you have to accept a pet, it just gives you an opportunity to see whats on offer. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Just my two cents worth 🙂

Cheers Chris

Hi – I actually live next door to a rental managed by your company.

The previous 2 tenants next door both had dogs. The last occupants had a large and small dog.
There has been ongoing issues with the tree’s/bushes growing thought the fence, said dogs pushing parts of the fence over and their dogs getting into our yard and making a right mess.

While not the responsibility of Distinct granted so this is not a dig at this company, we have not had much luck getting said fence repaired. The tree’s that have started the fence on it’s downward spiral are not on our property.

As dog owners ourselves, I’m not worried about renters next door having dogs so long as the owner of the property maintains the fences, does not allow tree’s to become entwined in said fence etc etc. We now need the fence replaced, are up for at least half of the cost obviously but said owners do not want to fix fence so now we have to put up with any dogs getting into our yard again and it just looks atrocious. Again not really a problem for Distinct our issue is with the owner it seems.

I take it that it is a wooden fence? Can you drill and screw it back together? My old wooden fence had MANY boards that had come adrift and there were large gaps. It appeared a mess. I purchased screws and drilled holes and then drilled in the screws. It was amazing how it improved, from desperate, looking very much like it needed replacement, to neat and sound. A few boards were replaced with new ones. Saved a lot of money. And if I can fix a fence, so can most people. The trees growing through are a bigger problem, but can often be cut back and hacked into. At my last house we had big privet bushes in the neighbouring (rented) property destroying the fence. It was easy to get to, as they had pushed boards off. The privet was hacked back, (and, um, strangely a large section of the weed then just died) and the boards were screwed back into place. I never asked for payment from neighbours as the cost was not huge and the hassle of claiming half of the small cost was not worth it. Besides, it makes for good neighbourly relationships.

Ghettosmurf873:26 pm 19 Nov 15

MarkE said :

Back on the pets issue. We need a tenant to sue a landlord over the pet issue on a human rights violation. Pay me a million dollars over the depression you caused me over the loss of my pet. Anyone out there feeling depressed, talk to your lawyer.

They wouldn’t have a leg to stand on as there would have been no loss of pet. The homeowner would have had to sign the contract acknowledging that they would not have pets, but have the option not to sign the contract and live elsewhere. No one holds a gun to their head and says “you must live here” and therefore you have to get rid of your dog.

My wife and I sold our house in Sydney and successfully rented with 3 dogs. You simply disregard what the advertisement says and put in the application noting our 3 elderly poodles do no damage.

After the impending property crash we will buy a property portfolio and make pet ownership compulsory in our properties.

What? You didn’t know the property market is about to crash, falling 30% to 50% and remain down for years? The ‘elephant in the room’ for world interest rates is the US 10 year bond that is currently running at 2.2% (not good for a 10 year investment. The US 30 year bond is only 3.0%.) When the US bond market crashes world interest rates will rise and that will push mortgage rates up quickly. It would only take a few months for Australian interest rates to rise above 9%. The property market will be immediately flooded with mortgage defaults and there is nothing the Reserve Bank or anyone else could do about it.

Back on the pets issue. We need a tenant to sue a landlord over the pet issue on a human rights violation. Pay me a million dollars over the depression you caused me over the loss of my pet. Anyone out there feeling depressed, talk to your lawyer.

I have never had a problem renting anywhere with two dogs, although they both had passed away before I moved to Canberra. One real estate in QLD required three references specifically for my dogs and this has worked in my favour ever since. Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve asked vets, real estate agents, neighbours, dog trainers, etc for references and I’ve never been refused any rental I’ve been interested in.

Wherearetherealliberals1:27 pm 19 Nov 15

We’ve had 3 different rental properties in Canberra over the last 20 years and have always allowed our tenants to have pets. I’ve found that people are so grateful that we don’t have a problem with pets that they take particular care of the property. Haven’t had a bad tenant yet.

gooday said :

I own a Real Estate Agency (www.distinctpm.com.au) and we encourage owners to consider pets on application. Every pet, just like every tenant is different. Some of our best tenants have pets. Some owners just don’t want pets in their property and we respect that also.

Pets, just like children can cause a lot of damage. Some tenants try not to accept responsibility when their kids damage a property and some do the same with pets. It comes down to picking the right tenant in the first place. I can’t stress this enough, check everything twice!

It also comes down to tenants understanding their responsibilities at the commencement of the tenancy and being reminded of these during routine inspections. If a pet or a child causes damage at a property, regardless of the amount of bond on hand, the tenant is still responsible for any costs that exceed the bond. Agents and Owners should be prepared to go to ACAT (Tribunal) to get an order for any additional costs to be paid that aren’t covered by the bond, regardless of how the damage was caused, pet or otherwise. Another way to protect yourself is to have good landlords insurance (which you should have anyway).

We explain to tenants when they take on a property with a pet that they need to ensure that any droppings are collected, the pets must not annoy the neighbours and if they have a cat or a dog and it pees inside, the tenant may be required to replace carpet and underlay and even cover the cost of sealing the floor underneath if the damage has gone through. We also check behind window coverings for fur and in gardens for missing/damaged plants.

If you are worried about wear and tear, then pick a tenant with a pet that’s right for the property. If you’ve got a brand new property then I wouldn’t recommending a pet that would cause high wear and tear (like a big high energy dog), if you’ve got an older property with carpets that are already pretty tired then what’s the harm?

A great condition report is essential to protect yourself, if your condition report is full of ticks and crosses and doesn’t include photo’s or have much of a description then you are asking for trouble.

We do know a large number of Agents in the ACT have blanket “No Pets” policies, regardless of the owners preference – I do think that’s a little silly.

Having said all of the above, a pet is just another family member and the people on the tenancy agreement are responsible for the property and if its damaged by a pet, visitor or child the liability still remains with the tenant.

Not all pets are good, not all tenants are good. Picking a pet that suits the property is just as important as picking a tenant that suits the property.

The best way to protect your investment is to know your rights, be thorough in your inspections and work in partnership with your tenants for a positive outcome. Pick the right tenants and pets won’t be a problem.

The right tenant will actually report and fix any damage before you even become aware of it.

As a side note, did you know that ACAT treat every tenancy as ‘pets allowed’ unless a specific ‘No Pets’ clause has been added. ACAT have approved a no pets clause for use where additional endorsement is not required. If you don’t want pets at the property make sure it is clearly stated on the lease.

I generally wouldn’t recommend taking a brand new puppy or kitten into an investment property, but pets that have been toilet trained and are through the kitten/puppy stage (approx 2 years old) are generally OK. Even better if they come with their own pet reference.

I encourage owners to advertise “Pets considered on application” or “Pets suitable for apartment living will be considered” as this means the little old lady with a 15 year old lapdog that sleeps in the sun all day and is her only companion isn’t excluded.

Pets considered doesn’t mean you have to accept a pet, it just gives you an opportunity to see whats on offer. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Just my two cents worth 🙂

Cheers Chris

Hi – I actually live next door to a rental managed by your company.

The previous 2 tenants next door both had dogs. The last occupants had a large and small dog.
There has been ongoing issues with the tree’s/bushes growing thought the fence, said dogs pushing parts of the fence over and their dogs getting into our yard and making a right mess.

While not the responsibility of Distinct granted so this is not a dig at this company, we have not had much luck getting said fence repaired. The tree’s that have started the fence on it’s downward spiral are not on our property.

As dog owners ourselves, I’m not worried about renters next door having dogs so long as the owner of the property maintains the fences, does not allow tree’s to become entwined in said fence etc etc. We now need the fence replaced, are up for at least half of the cost obviously but said owners do not want to fix fence so now we have to put up with any dogs getting into our yard again and it just looks atrocious. Again not really a problem for Distinct our issue is with the owner it seems.

Zultan said :

Seems weighted in favour of landlords to me.

Landlord keeps bond == comes out of renters pocket.
Landlord replaces carpet == tax deduction
Landlord repaints == tax deduction

And usually the landlord loses a fist full of money because the bond does not cover the cost of repairs, repainting and lost rental.

Replacing the carpet or repainting too often is not something the ATO accepts and you make it sound like the tax deduction pays for the whole deal, it is only a fraction of the cost and even worse may have to be depreciated over up to 10 years so only a small deduction over a long period of time.

I got rid of my rental property exactly for these reasons, and advise against rental properties as an investment. Too many bad tenants, too much unlet gaps and expensive repairs. Tenants are their own worst enemies and do not understand why landlords would rather have no-one in the place than someone who is going to cost them a lot of money, time and trouble. Believe me we love good tenants, if only they weren’t so hard to find and keep.

Alexandra Craig said :

– one from someone who has an indoor cat, one from someone with no pets, one from someone who has a small dog, and one from someone who has a giant dog. Obviously the giant dog is not a good match for this property so they are ruled out and that is fair enough. If the person with the cat and the person with the small dog both have good rental references, why potentially lose the chance for a good tenant just because they have a pet?

Shows how much you know about dogs, if I had a townhouse with a choice of a Greyhound or a JRT in my yard I’d choose the Greyhound 😉

I had a German Shepherd Dog when I was living with my parents and rather than try to find a rental I just bought a house, I’ve since rented that and other properties out to people with pets and, in line with what others have said, it’s the kids that have caused more issues and will be something I consider going forward.

OpenYourMind6:45 pm 18 Nov 15

Alexandra Craig said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Grimm said :

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Agreed.

It’s fine to suggest there should be more pet-friendly landlords, but unfortunately a few bad tenants will always make landlords choose less risk over furkids.

No, I didn’t say that. I said that landlords shouldn’t be able to have a blanket ban of ‘no pets’ in the advertisement. I think that all offers should be considered. Hypothetically if you had a townhouse with a small yard and got four applications – one from someone who has an indoor cat, one from someone with no pets, one from someone who has a small dog, and one from someone who has a giant dog. Obviously the giant dog is not a good match for this property so they are ruled out and that is fair enough. If the person with the cat and the person with the small dog both have good rental references, why potentially lose the chance for a good tenant just because they have a pet? Of course, the person who doesn’t have a pet appears to be the easy choice but like Tammy Ven Dange outlined in her blog, people with pets are more likely to stay in a property longer. Before I had a pet I moved twice in just over 12 months. Since having a pet I have stayed put for over two years.

I’m not saying people are forced to accept tenants with pets, but I do think that they should be given more consideration – especially since plenty would have good rental references. People like me for example haha. Two cats and have never had any problems.

I think that’s a terrible suggestion. Lots of tenants already feel like their time is wasted. Saying pets are considered when their not just adds to that time suck.

We have a Canberra property and we only rent to dog owners. It’s proved a great way to decide, so far. If someone has had a dog for a while, at least they’ve been committed to something! Dog owners find it harder to find a place, so they tend to stay longer.

Something else to consider is that even if the landlord is ok with pets, if the place has a body corporate, then they may not allow pets. We just had a tenant move out of a unit we have in Qld because they wanted a dog but the body corporate said no.

I own a Real Estate Agency (www.distinctpm.com.au) and we encourage owners to consider pets on application. Every pet, just like every tenant is different. Some of our best tenants have pets. Some owners just don’t want pets in their property and we respect that also.

Pets, just like children can cause a lot of damage. Some tenants try not to accept responsibility when their kids damage a property and some do the same with pets. It comes down to picking the right tenant in the first place. I can’t stress this enough, check everything twice!

It also comes down to tenants understanding their responsibilities at the commencement of the tenancy and being reminded of these during routine inspections. If a pet or a child causes damage at a property, regardless of the amount of bond on hand, the tenant is still responsible for any costs that exceed the bond. Agents and Owners should be prepared to go to ACAT (Tribunal) to get an order for any additional costs to be paid that aren’t covered by the bond, regardless of how the damage was caused, pet or otherwise. Another way to protect yourself is to have good landlords insurance (which you should have anyway).

We explain to tenants when they take on a property with a pet that they need to ensure that any droppings are collected, the pets must not annoy the neighbours and if they have a cat or a dog and it pees inside, the tenant may be required to replace carpet and underlay and even cover the cost of sealing the floor underneath if the damage has gone through. We also check behind window coverings for fur and in gardens for missing/damaged plants.

If you are worried about wear and tear, then pick a tenant with a pet that’s right for the property. If you’ve got a brand new property then I wouldn’t recommending a pet that would cause high wear and tear (like a big high energy dog), if you’ve got an older property with carpets that are already pretty tired then what’s the harm? A great condition report is essential to protect yourself, if your condition report is full of ticks and crosses and doesn’t include photo’s or have much of a description then you are asking for trouble.

We do know a large number of Agents in the ACT have blanket “No Pets” policies, regardless of the owners preference – I do think that’s a little silly.

Having said all of the above, a pet is just another family member and the people on the tenancy agreement are responsible for the property and if its damaged by a pet, visitor or child the liability still remains with the tenant.

Not all pets are good, not all tenants are good. Picking a pet that suits the property is just as important as picking a tenant that suits the property. The best way to protect your investment is to know your rights, be thorough in your inspections and work in partnership with your tenants for a positive outcome. Pick the right tenants and pets won’t be a problem. The right tenant will actually report and fix any damage before you even become aware of it.

As a side note, did you know that ACAT treat every tenancy as ‘pets allowed’ unless a specific ‘No Pets’ clause has been added. ACAT have approved a no pets clause for use where additional endorsement is not required. If you don’t want pets at the property make sure it is clearly stated on the lease.

I generally wouldn’t recommend taking a brand new puppy or kitten into an investment property, but pets that have been toilet trained and are through the kitten/puppy stage (approx 2 years old) are generally OK. Even better if they come with their own pet reference. I encourage owners to advertise “Pets considered on application” or “Pets suitable for apartment living will be considered” as this means the little old lady with a 15 year old lapdog that sleeps in the sun all day and is her only companion isn’t excluded.

Pets considered doesn’t mean you have to accept a pet, it just gives you an opportunity to see whats on offer. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Just my two cents worth 🙂 Cheers Chris

Zultan said :

Seems weighted in favour of landlords to me.

Landlord keeps bond == comes out of renters pocket.
Landlord replaces carpet == tax deduction
Landlord repaints == tax deduction

The idea that you won’t get your bond back is a furphy (without reason that is). It is lodged with the bond authority and you can apply to get it back. I would be suspicious of someone claiming they did nothing wrong, but didn’t get their bond back. I would wonder what they aren’t admitting to. If there is a dispute there is the tribunal to decide who gets the bond money.
Urban rumour says the tenant wins more often than the owner, but that’s only hearsay.
In the cases where the owner gets given all the bond, it is quite possible this won’t cover the damage and repairs and they will be out of pocket. So often it’s still a financial loss to the owner, so your comment about the bond is without basis and likely factually wrong.
Carpet can only be claimed as a depreciation, so needing to replace carpet when it didn’t need replacing before a tenant ruined it, is a large expense the owner would be far better financially without. Same with repaints, if it is because of damage.
Any renter with the opinions expressed above, sounds like a very dodgy tenant to have.

Alexandra Craig said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Grimm said :

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Agreed.

It’s fine to suggest there should be more pet-friendly landlords, but unfortunately a few bad tenants will always make landlords choose less risk over furkids.

No, I didn’t say that. I said that landlords shouldn’t be able to have a blanket ban of ‘no pets’ in the advertisement. I think that all offers should be considered. Hypothetically if you had a townhouse with a small yard and got four applications – one from someone who has an indoor cat, one from someone with no pets, one from someone who has a small dog, and one from someone who has a giant dog. Obviously the giant dog is not a good match for this property so they are ruled out and that is fair enough. If the person with the cat and the person with the small dog both have good rental references, why potentially lose the chance for a good tenant just because they have a pet? Of course, the person who doesn’t have a pet appears to be the easy choice but like Tammy Ven Dange outlined in her blog, people with pets are more likely to stay in a property longer. Before I had a pet I moved twice in just over 12 months. Since having a pet I have stayed put for over two years.

I’m not saying people are forced to accept tenants with pets, but I do think that they should be given more consideration – especially since plenty would have good rental references. People like me for example haha. Two cats and have never had any problems.

So now your suggesting people should have their time wasted? If a landlord doesn’t want to allow pets they don’t want to allow them. By asking them to consider people with pets is just wasting the time of those with pets. Isn’t it better for everyone to know up front?

Zultan said :

Seems weighted in favour of landlords to me.

Landlord keeps bond == comes out of renters pocket.
Landlord replaces carpet == tax deduction
Landlord repaints == tax deduction

Landlord keeps bond == comes out of renters pocket…. Sometimes you need to fight hard despite the obvious, see my case for example. Took a year of me being $5k out of pocket. Yes I got it eventually, but still.

Landlord replaces carpet == tax deduction
Landlord repaints == tax deduction

For one, even though some things are tax deductions, you still have to spend the money to save tax. So yeah $4000 to replace carpet, now assuming you could claim it as a deduction all at once the maximum you would get back is $4000 times your highest tax bracket which is currently $0.45. So replace carpet and you are still $2200 out of pocket.

Now note I said assuming you could replace and claim all at once? Painting and replacement of plan and hardware (such as carpet) if done as a repair can be claimed in full. However regular painting and replacement is a capital cost and you can only claim depreciation over time. Where it gets murky is replacing something like an old carpet, even though some damage may have finished it off for the most part it is likely to be replacement so becomes hard to say if it is a one off claim or depreciation.

But either way the landlord is still out of pocket.

Alexandra Craig said :

No, I didn’t say that.

Err, yes, you did. Directly from your article:

Alexandra Craig said :

I think that property managers shouldn’t be able to refuse reasonable requests to bring pets

You are suggesting that landlords shouldn’t be able to decide on the terms under which they rent something they own.

You may be a great tenant. I really don’t know. It really doesn’t matter though, because if somebody owns a property and doesn’t want to rent to somebody with pets, that should be their decision. End of story. Don’t like it? Either find somebody happy to rent to pet owners, or buy your own place and do as you please.

Whether you notice it or not, cats and dogs smell, and that smell is extremely hard to get rid of. I can tell somebody has an indoor pet before I even see it because of the smell the minute you walk in the door. No amount of incense, carpet deodorisers or scented candles can hide it.

Holden Caulfield4:43 pm 18 Nov 15

Alexandra Craig said :

I said that landlords shouldn’t be able to have a blanket ban of ‘no pets’ in the advertisement.

That reads to me exactly like you’re saying that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of their property.

I’ve rented with cats before, been through the same pitfalls as you have before and been an excellent tenant before.

To some extent I even agree with you. However, it comes down to the fact that people can’t be trusted and just because you may be a good tenant that doesn’t mean everyone else is.

I’ve seen this view from both sides, having been a landlord where I got screwed over by an agent who ignored a no pets policy, which resulted in a number of timber blinds being ruined by the tenant’s dog. In addition, a new lawn was trashed by the same dog and the tenant then failed to pay any rent beyond his original four week payment. Sure, I got to keep his bond, but that didn’t cover my expenses and the hassle and time to required fight for the full amount was not worth the increased angst.

Based on personal experience, despite having empathy for excellent tenants with pets, I would never support legislation which made it illegal for a landlord to have a no pets policy.

Just as tenants have rights, so do landlords, and if you’re ever left forking out to fix the mess left by a disrespectful tenant your view may change.

Alexandra Craig4:06 pm 18 Nov 15

Holden Caulfield said :

Grimm said :

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Agreed.

It’s fine to suggest there should be more pet-friendly landlords, but unfortunately a few bad tenants will always make landlords choose less risk over furkids.

No, I didn’t say that. I said that landlords shouldn’t be able to have a blanket ban of ‘no pets’ in the advertisement. I think that all offers should be considered. Hypothetically if you had a townhouse with a small yard and got four applications – one from someone who has an indoor cat, one from someone with no pets, one from someone who has a small dog, and one from someone who has a giant dog. Obviously the giant dog is not a good match for this property so they are ruled out and that is fair enough. If the person with the cat and the person with the small dog both have good rental references, why potentially lose the chance for a good tenant just because they have a pet? Of course, the person who doesn’t have a pet appears to be the easy choice but like Tammy Ven Dange outlined in her blog, people with pets are more likely to stay in a property longer. Before I had a pet I moved twice in just over 12 months. Since having a pet I have stayed put for over two years.

I’m not saying people are forced to accept tenants with pets, but I do think that they should be given more consideration – especially since plenty would have good rental references. People like me for example haha. Two cats and have never had any problems.

Seems weighted in favour of landlords to me.

Landlord keeps bond == comes out of renters pocket.
Landlord replaces carpet == tax deduction
Landlord repaints == tax deduction

Pets may not cause major damage, but, much like smoking, they do accelerate wear and tear. Wear and tear is trickier to claim from a bond, because it’s subjective what an acceptable levels is. If allowing pets means that, say, an owner has to replace the carpet every 5 years instead of every 10, who wears that cost?

The previous tenants in our house clearly had a dog, as there’s scratches on the outside doors from them jumping up and dog hair in all of the cracks and crevices (that not many people would bother cleaning when they move out). I can understand the reluctance from property owners.

I have dealt with my fair share of cr$ppy landlords (actually, probably property managers more) in the past who have tried to claim a large amount (or all) of my bond for minor reasons, and the claims have never stood up at tribunal. I would be wary about paying a larger bond amount or agreeing to a clause that could strengthen their claim at the end of the tenancy.

Not everyone’s like me, but my personal experience was that I didn’t get a pet while young and transient, no matter how much I wanted one. I wanted to go away for weekends, travel and move about the country, and it didn’t seem fair to put a pet through that. Even now that I’m married, own a house and have a child, I’m still not sure I can commit to 10-15 years, and it still doesn’t seem fair to the pet when they’d be home alone most days.

I have been trying to see this as an equity issue, and I am struggling – refusing to rent a property to someone because they have children, on a pension or are a single parent has a much larger impact on disadvantage than someone with a pet, (although I can see how if you are unemployed and marginalised, you may benefit greatly from the companionship a pet provides).

Holden Caulfield1:24 pm 18 Nov 15

Grimm said :

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Agreed.

It’s fine to suggest there should be more pet-friendly landlords, but unfortunately a few bad tenants will always make landlords choose less risk over furkids.

Alexandra Craig said :

I haven’t had this problem with a pet leaving a stain, but I spilled something myself on carpet once that I couldn’t get off. Fortunately a professional clean fixed it but I had been convinced it wasn’t going to come out so I had already allocated money to replace the carpet in that room. Because I presumed that is what would need to happen. I suppose it depends. If the carpet is already an absolute mess when someone moves in, I wouldn’t think they would have to replace the whole carpet because of their one stain. But if the carpet is new or in excellent condition and they mess it up beyond repair, then yes, it’s their responsibility to fix.

You are obviously a good tenant Alexandra and the majority of tenants would, I believe, also do the right thing.

The thing is that, like most things in life, the few bad apples spoil it for everyone else. As a landlord, once you have been burnt a few times, you tend to err more on the side of caution and look to minimise your risk. It’s easy enough to get a tenant who doesn’t have pets so why risk it?

Postalgeek said :

Alexandra Craig said :

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

Children are far more likely to cause damage to a house, and as far as I know you can’t make people sign a clause saying “I will not have children here”, so why pets?

Let’s say a pet has left a permanent stain on a wall-to-wall carpet that all the scrubbing in the world can’t remove (and I know they do because I’ve got the carpets to prove it) is it reasonable to ask the tenant to replace the entire carpet so as to restore it to its original condition? Or does the landlord just have to wear the damage on that occasion?

Have you had professionals (good ones) in to attempt to clean the carpet, or just tried cleaning it yourself? If the carpet was in good condition and couldn’t be cleaned, I think it would be very reasonable to have the carpet replaced, and if t can’t be matched (again depending on its condition and type of house, etc) perhaps even reasonable to ask for a larger area of carpet to be replaced. I doubt though the owner would win this though. However really good tenants would either get the carpet clean, or replace it. They would except the responsibility.
I had tenants (the ones I said I took to the tribunal) who swore how hard they had tried to clean and the bath, etc wouldn’t clean up, because of their age. They has scrubbed and scrubbed, but nothing would get it cleaner. The professional cleaners had no trouble and the next tenants never had a problem with mould like they did.

Alexandra Craig11:50 am 18 Nov 15

Postalgeek said :

Alexandra Craig said :

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

Children are far more likely to cause damage to a house, and as far as I know you can’t make people sign a clause saying “I will not have children here”, so why pets?

Let’s say a pet has left a permanent stain on a wall-to-wall carpet that all the scrubbing in the world can’t remove (and I know they do because I’ve got the carpets to prove it) is it reasonable to ask the tenant to replace the entire carpet so as to restore it to its original condition? Or does the landlord just have to wear the damage on that occasion?

I haven’t had this problem with a pet leaving a stain, but I spilled something myself on carpet once that I couldn’t get off. Fortunately a professional clean fixed it but I had been convinced it wasn’t going to come out so I had already allocated money to replace the carpet in that room. Because I presumed that is what would need to happen. I suppose it depends. If the carpet is already an absolute mess when someone moves in, I wouldn’t think they would have to replace the whole carpet because of their one stain. But if the carpet is new or in excellent condition and they mess it up beyond repair, then yes, it’s their responsibility to fix.

Alexandra Craig said :

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

Children are far more likely to cause damage to a house, and as far as I know you can’t make people sign a clause saying “I will not have children here”, so why pets?

Let’s say a pet has left a permanent stain on a wall-to-wall carpet that all the scrubbing in the world can’t remove (and I know they do because I’ve got the carpets to prove it) is it reasonable to ask the tenant to replace the entire carpet so as to restore it to its original condition? Or does the landlord just have to wear the damage on that occasion?

I had three different tenants with dogs, and the experience with them varied greatly.
The first two tenants didn’t have permission to have the dogs, but I gave the third tenant permission.
The first tenant with the dog was the worst, and not only the house was mistreated, but the dog too. I didn’t know this until some time after the tenants left, but the neighbours had apparently had the RSPCA in, because of the dog’s treatment. One pet died and was left to rot by the back fence.
The next tenant to keep a couple of dogs there, didn’t have permission, but although they weren’t a brilliant tenant, they weren’t bad either. After they left an application, with detailed letter of why this person would be a wonderful (read dream) tenant, was put it, and asking for permission to keep a couple of dogs. I almost rejected the application, because it seemed too good to be true and I was inclined to not believe it. Anyway, my agents talked me into taking this tenant, and they more than lived up to what they promised in their letter, and their two large dogs were never a problem. The house was kept immaculately, and left the same way after he left.
My conclusion from this, is it’s not so much the pets, as the tenant who determines if the pet will be a problem. Even if the pet were old and incontinent, a good tenant would make sure that accidents did not happen on the carpet, by keeping the incontinent pet off it, or if the worst happened, having the carpet thoroughly cleaned. A bad tenant will blame the pet (never their fault, it’s all the pets’ fault, they won’t take responsibility), they won’t attempt to keep the pet off the carpet (it got by me, I do try, and all other excuses) and won’t get the carpet cleaned properly, if they try at all.
It’s never the pets fault, but the tenants, if the house is not left as it should be when they leave. It’s like life in general, be it a work situation or other. Some people are responsible; others have excuses.

No_Nose said :

If this is brought in the ‘pet bond’ should be in addition to the normal bond and should be the equivalent of three months rent. It should also have an automatic presumption in favour of the landlord with the onus on the tenant to prove that their pets did not cause any damage. This is similar to when you rent a car, or stay in a hotel room. They swipe your card and if you cause damage they just take it straight off the card. If you object you have to fight it.

At present it is biased heavily in favour of the tenant and basically all they have to do is sign an objection and they automatically get their bond back, no matter what damage they have caused.

Not necessarily. There is the tribunal. I took some tenants there after they failed to clean the house properly and did some damage. When I challenged them they threatened to put their cousin the lawyer onto me. Then I said to them, after that threat it’s off to the tribunal then. I documented the damage with photographs and receipts. I won. (Their cousin the lawyer (who I have no doubt existed) never showed to defend them. Perhaps, unlike my tenants, he realised what they were like and they were not likely to win.) Those tenants were not even really bad tenants, just ‘heavy’ on the house and were caught out lying in the tribunal, and then kept denying the evidence against what they were saying to the magistrate. After that, I doubt anything they said was believed. Plus they didn’t really listen to what the magistrate was saying to them. At the end he actually said to them, “You don’t listen.” My agents had also said to me that they never listen. Maybe after loosing their bond they will learn to listen. They would have got out of it a lot cheaper if they had. (Perhaps they weren’t listening to the advise their cousin the lawyer was giving them either.) Then I was ‘cursed’ (in the old fashioned sense) as we left the tribunal.

There’s good reasons why landlords & property managers favour childless and petless couples – it’s a risk mitigation thing as outlined by others. When you become a landlord, your thinking changes and so do your relationships, similarly when you move from employee (renter) status to management (landlord).

Grimm said :

The bond is a pittance in comparison to, for instance, having to re carpet one or more rooms because of cat urine.

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

I agree. I had two tenants basically trash my place with the dogs they were not supposed to have.

One had the dog sleeping in the kitchen cupboard and the other left the place a fly blown stinker after they left raw pet food on the kitchen bench for weeks and my agent (rapidly sacked) did not remove it.

The damage in both cases was thousands of dollars of work and months without a tenant.

Sadly my son who is dog mad is doing this to his landlord. I’ve told him what I think of his selfish behaviour.

In the past I have rented places after previous tenants had had pets, and unfortunately it can be difficult to remove the legacy of an animal in the house even after remedial action is taken to make the place presentable again. Carpets can still smell or be ripped, and there can still be fleas after steam cleaning. And I should add that some tenants fake the obligatory steam clean.
Dogs are definitely more destructive than cats, though male cats can be as smelly as dogs. It’s not fair on the landlord.
IMO it comes down to two things:
people differ in how responsible they are for both rental properties and their pet(s); and
a significant proportion of people who rent are not there by choice, but because they cannot afford to buy. It can be miserable and expensive moving all the time because of the short term nature of renting in Australia (I had to move seven times in 10 years, and never by choice), so I have a lot of sympathy for renters. However it is not drawing too long a bow to conclude that some of these may also be less able to pay for the costs associated with a pet. Eg, once a month flea treatments are quite expensive, as are vet fees, the ongoing cost of food for larger animals, etc.
If I was renting a house, sadly I would probably say ‘no pets’ unless I actually knew the renter.

tooltime said :

Try levelling and reseeding a lawn in a Canberra winter after the tenants just f$%#ed off leaving a mountain of dog crap and a damaged fence behind. Pet not authorised. Of course, this made the property a lot more difficult to lease to subsequent tenants……

You forgot to mention all the plants that have been chewed off at ground level and the backdoor that needs to be replaced due to scratching for 8 hours a day while the owners were at work.

If this is brought in the ‘pet bond’ should be in addition to the normal bond and should be the equivalent of three months rent. It should also have an automatic presumption in favour of the landlord with the onus on the tenant to prove that their pets did not cause any damage. This is similar to when you rent a car, or stay in a hotel room. They swipe your card and if you cause damage they just take it straight off the card. If you object you have to fight it.

At present it is biased heavily in favour of the tenant and basically all they have to do is sign an objection and they automatically get their bond back, no matter what damage they have caused.

wildturkeycanoe6:29 am 18 Nov 15

Apart from the already mentioned issues with bond and repairs to damage caused by pets, a landlord can also have issues when the tenants’ pet causes problems with the neighboring properties. If the guy next door doesn’t like the barking all night long, they will end up contacting the landlord who then has to sort out the tenant. This is more true for multiple dwelling properties like flats and apartments but can also happen with a normal house block. Landlords do not need to sort out their tenants domestic issues, they just want to relax and enjoy the flow of cash coming in.
As for the whole Canberra being pet friendly thing, it was just a survey made by a pet product manufacturer that interviewed a staggering 3200 people Australia wide to determine the result. A very “independent” campaign indeed that had nothing at all to do with stirring up some media attention to market more of its products.

Try levelling and reseeding a lawn in a Canberra winter after the tenants just f$%#ed off leaving a mountain of dog crap and a damaged fence behind. Pet not authorised. Of course, this made the property a lot more difficult to lease to subsequent tenants……

This whole bond thing wants a severe overhaul. I favour an amount of 8-12 weeks rent. This “might” (big ask) encourage tenants into a range of better behaviours as opposed to the poor landlord continually sticking his hand into his pocket all the time fixing tenants “accidents”. Far too often, tenants get to “kick the landlord in the groin financially” as they exit a property…

This could work: (works in the US!) get a medical certificate from your doctor that you need your pet as a companion animal for reasons of disability … : )

Grimm said :

The bond is a pittance in comparison to, for instance, having to re carpet one or more rooms because of cat urine.

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Completely agree.

I also love the argument that children are far more likely to cause damage. In my experience, the worst a child has done is some colouring in on the wall and some stickers on the wardrobe… dogs on the other hand have caused damage far greater than the bond covers on more than one occasion… never again.

Alexandra Craig said :

Grimm said :

I think your “right” to have a pet vanishes while you are occupying a very expensive asset owned by somebody else. Property managers and owners should definitely be able to refuse requests to move an animal into the property. They own the damn thing.

If you don’t like it, buy your own place. Otherwise live by the terms of the contract you have signed. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to sign it.

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

Children are far more likely to cause damage to a house, and as far as I know you can’t make people sign a clause saying “I will not have children here”, so why pets?

Sorry, but as a landlord what you propose is unworkable in the real world. I’ve let people have pets before, but I don’t make a blanket rule allowing it. Each case needs to be considered on its merits. It’s not being intentionally difficult, it’s mitigating risk.

Grimm said :

The bond is a pittance in comparison to, for instance, having to re carpet one or more rooms because of cat urine.

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

Indeed

The bond is a pittance in comparison to, for instance, having to re carpet one or more rooms because of cat urine.

What’s being suggested is that landlords should have no right to decide upon the terms under which they offer use of THEIR property. It’s a ridiculous suggestion.

At the end of the day, if you are a tenant, you need to respect the landlord’s wishes as it is their property. If you don’t like it, then you need to be prepared to either rent elsewhere or save up to buy your own place. without the pet itself, you’d also be able to save up faster for a deposit (which costs much more than a bond). Hard line, maybe, but if ownership of the pet is the tenant’s choice, the landlord shouldn’t have to change their reasons for not wanting a pet just to make the tenant’s life easier. It wouldn’t be hard to find another tenant without a pet to take the house.

Also, in apartments and townhouses, it’s not up to the landlord. A lot of house rules as set out in the body corporate records restrict owners from having pets in the building and common property. For houses, many do not have the enclosed backyards necessary for dogs, or enclosed cat runs. If the costs incurred to establish these, or the damages caused by their removal exceed the bond, it is difficult to claim extra monies. It’s not unreasonable to bar animals from the premises.

Blen_Carmichael3:37 pm 17 Nov 15

Charlotte Harper said :

I don’t think anyone is saying it’s OK to ignore or breach a tenancy agreement here. The argument is that perhaps more landlords should be open to allowing pets.

Actually, the argument was “I think that property managers shouldn’t be able to refuse reasonable requests to bring pets”. Markedly different.

Charlotte Harper said :

Also, describing bonds as “a pittance” doesn’t match with my experience as a renter. As a full-time student with casual jobs to scrape together money for rent and bills the bond amounts always seemed huge. Nothing compared to a house deposit, of course, which is why so many people are renting rather than “just buying their own place”.

Pittance is all relative I am afraid. Yes it is a lot for a renter, but by the same token it doesn’t take much damage to exceed the cost of a bond, and even then as the poster who first used that word said, the bond system is heavily skewed towards the tenant.

In my place the last tenant I had did about $5k worth of damage to a built in wardrobe and to a few walls that needed to be repaired after someone decided to use them as a boxing bag. It took me a year to get my money, when it was as clear as day the damage was not fair wear and tear which is what the tenant argued. I would have taken the matter to my insurance company, but the amount was not really significant enough and I would have lost out anyway.

Oh the damage to the wardrobe was for them using the bottom shelves as a ladder to get to the top shelf rather than buying a little stool. But the damage was so bad the whole thing needed replacing. Bond gone in one item, yet they argued wear and tear. Sadly whilst maybe not the majority this is the kind of person owners need to protect themselves from.

Start your own property portfolio and let it all of the pets you want.

For my properties though – No.

Alexandra, as someone mentioned on the facebook page (and provided a linked to the tenancy tribunal FAQ on the matter), whilst there is nothing in the Residential Tenancies Act about pets, there is provision to put in place conditions of occupancy so long as they don’t contradict the act. Pet clauses are one that, rightly or wrongly passes this test so entirely legal and binding.

Additional clauses are mutual clauses agreed to by both owner and tenant. As the tenant if you don’t agree don’t sign, it is that simple. As a landlord if it costs money through less possible tenants then so be it also.

Now as someone who in the past has been a landlord I’ve always had no pet clauses. Mostly because the house I was renting was my own home I was going to move back into, not some rental property I had no emotional attachment to. You will find in Canberra there are a lot of private homes rented this way.

The way I approached it seemed to be like your landlord who allowed the cat. If the tenant asked I would consider what animal they were proposing and say yes or no. One tenant did exactly what you did and asked for a cat I said no problems. Had they asked for a dog the answer would have been no. However without that clause I wouldn’t have been able to choose what animal I would allow, unless of course I listed them in detail in an extra clause that was agreed to by both parties on signing.

Alexandra Craig said :

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

It is not that simple I am afraid. In an ideal world yes, but we don’t live in the ideal world.

Alexandra Craig said :

Grimm said :

I think your “right” to have a pet vanishes while you are occupying a very expensive asset owned by somebody else. Property managers and owners should definitely be able to refuse requests to move an animal into the property. They own the damn thing.

If you don’t like it, buy your own place. Otherwise live by the terms of the contract you have signed. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to sign it.

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

Children are far more likely to cause damage to a house, and as far as I know you can’t make people sign a clause saying “I will not have children here”, so why pets?

Because the pittance of a bond is unlikely to cover the cost of major damage and the process of withholding that bond is tedious and heavily geared against landlords. If the bond doesn’t cover the costs to repair, do you have any idea how long and costly the process is to be awarded further costs? Then there is the issue of getting blood from a stone.

In the end, it is somebody elses property. If you don’t like the conditions set out in the rental agreement, don’t sign it and find a place offering conditions you do agree with. Pretty simple.

Why is it ok for a tenant to ignore or breach a tenancy agreement? Would you be cool with your landlord breaching the bits of the agreement they don’t like too?

Charlotte Harper2:40 pm 17 Nov 15

I don’t think anyone is saying it’s OK to ignore or breach a tenancy agreement here. The argument is that perhaps more landlords should be open to allowing pets. We rented with cats and a dog and while it was always hard to find a place because most say no pets, when we did, we treated the house as though it were our own. I can’t think of any damage they caused aside from some scratches on a back door which we had repaired.
Also, describing bonds as “a pittance” doesn’t match with my experience as a renter. As a full-time student with casual jobs to scrape together money for rent and bills the bond amounts always seemed huge. Nothing compared to a house deposit, of course, which is why so many people are renting rather than “just buying their own place”.

Alexandra Craig1:26 pm 17 Nov 15

Grimm said :

I think your “right” to have a pet vanishes while you are occupying a very expensive asset owned by somebody else. Property managers and owners should definitely be able to refuse requests to move an animal into the property. They own the damn thing.

If you don’t like it, buy your own place. Otherwise live by the terms of the contract you have signed. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to sign it.

But if the costs of any potential damage can be covered by a bond, or an additional clause to have the place fumigated, re-turfed or whatever, then why say no? It’s just being intentionally difficult. If I was a landlord and someone wanted a pet, of course they can have one. But if they trash the place then yes of course I will want them to clean it up/repair it.

Children are far more likely to cause damage to a house, and as far as I know you can’t make people sign a clause saying “I will not have children here”, so why pets?

Grimm said :

If you don’t like it, buy your own place. Otherwise live by the terms of the contract you have signed. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to sign it.

Totally agree with this one. As a pet owner you shouldn’t just assume that they are able to move from rental to rental with you. This is why I won’t have an animal until I have my own place – it would be irresponsible otherwise.

I think your “right” to have a pet vanishes while you are occupying a very expensive asset owned by somebody else. Property managers and owners should definitely be able to refuse requests to move an animal into the property. They own the damn thing.

If you don’t like it, buy your own place. Otherwise live by the terms of the contract you have signed. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to sign it.

Blen_Carmichael12:38 pm 17 Nov 15

Disclaimer: I am an ACT landlord.

>>The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not mention the word ‘pet’ once. Nor does it mention ‘cat’ or ‘dog’. It’s not in there at all. So, as far as the legislation is concerned, Canberra does look pretty pet friendly.<>I think that property managers shouldn’t be able to refuse reasonable requests to bring pets.<<

Put it this way, if you go to a friend's house, do you believe your desire for your pet to accompany you should prevail over their objection? Incidentally, I do allow our current tenants to have a dog. They are exceptionally good tenants and I'm confident they'll do the right thing. But that discretion should remain with the owner/property manager.

I ran into this issue several times, but not just in the ACT. When I lived in NSW and WA, it was always a mission to have pets. I did find though, that the WA set up for Pet Bonds a great idea. Basically you pay a bit of extra security when you sign the lease to have a pet. And that is designed to cover any issues such as pest control or damage if the need arises, otherwise it is refunded with your normal bond when you move out.

I am very lucky to have the cruisiest landlord ever here in Canberra. She lets me have my cat, doesn’t care if the place looks lived in or not, and is happy for me to do my car restoration in the yard too.

And the best part is that when I’ve been without a car on 2 occasions (this time around it was written off), she’s lent me her spare car. All I have to do is maintain it like I would my own, and I’ve paid for 3 months rego and insurance on it this time as she let the rego lapse. It was cheaper than hiring something, and it also meant her car wasn’t sitting unused for months like it usually is, which is better for the vehicle.

I also found when I lived in Dubbo that the real estate was causing most of the grief, after bumping into the landlord one day, who was doing some maintenance on the gardens. He was blown away by all the trouble I had getting things fixed, and the photos of how untidy the place was before I moved in. When he found out I was moving to Canberra and putting my stuff into storage, he was so helpful, lent me his panel van and trailer for a couple of days and even invited me over to his place for a drink or two at the end of it. In the end he cancelled his contract with the agent and went to managing the units he had with his wife instead.

I think a lot of real estate agents have a lot to answer for when it comes to the management of properties. It shouldn’t get to the stage where you’re on the phone constantly trying to sort out automated rent billing issues, trying to get things fixed all the time, etc. I am also of the belief that the pet restrictions are mostly their own doing as well.

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