Impossible renting in Canberra

mattm250 10 November 2010 79

God help anyone trying to rent a property in the ACT. We have been looking for over 6 months for somewhere bigger to rent. Either all of the properties listed on ALLHOMES are an issue of public safety or you need to be earning a six figure salary to be able to come close for consideration. Oh and if you have a pet, don’t even bother. I am so sick of spending hours searching the net for properties and calling agents only to find out that about 70% of them have already been rented and have been for some weeks. Come on people is it really that hard to spend 3 minutes updating the site if a property becomes unavailable. Stop wasting my time.

We recently applied for a property in North Canberra and put in an offer of $60pw higher than what was being asked (and I might add that we were and still are the only applicants) Due to the fact we have two small, very well behaved outside dogs. Apparently the six references we have from previous landlords and neighbors wasn’t good enough to prove that we responsible and clean pet owners. We were told that the owners would rather leave the place vacant than “RISK” have a pet on the property. Might I also add that part of the rental contract was to tidy up and maintain the already overgrown garden. Why would we do the work to have a rogue dog destroy it. This house has now been vacant for 2 months.

I think it is ridiculous how landlords and agents are allowed to discriminate against pet owners especially considering that over 65% of ACT residents own a pet of some sort. The ACT is the only state/territory in Australia that is allowed to advertise “NO PETS” I’ve heard of a tenant being refused because the owned a guinea pig. Insane, what damage could a guinea pig do. I’ve seen children do much more damage to a property than our dogs have ever done. i.e. NONE. We walk our dogs for an hour twice a day so when their at home there so exhausted, they sleep all day.

Most of the properties we are looking at are around the $800 a week mark and we are a professional couple earning a combined income of $125000 p/a. Does it really sound like we would let a pet destroy a property.

I understand that some landlords have been burnt severely by irresponsible pet owners but that’s what references and regular inspections are for.

Stay tuned for an update that I’m sure that I’ll have on another property by the end of the day.

Now I’ve finished my rant, let me know your thoughts.

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79 Responses to Impossible renting in Canberra
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Tooks Tooks 11:24 am 10 Nov 10

Any reason you’re not buying a house? You could be paying off a mortgage for far less than $800/week.

Erg0 Erg0 11:24 am 10 Nov 10

I’m surprised to hear that the ACT is the only place where “no pets” is allowed in the ad, I was under the impression that this was commonplace pretty much everywhere. Maybe they just apply it more sneakily in other jurisdictions.

In any case, pets and renting don’t mix well – to get what you want on one side you’ll probably have to compromise on the other. This may be unjustified in your case, but that’s the way it goes. I couldn’t say I’m surprised that people renting out the kind of house that goes for $800 a week are little snobby about who they’ll rent to.

icantbelieveitsnotbutter icantbelieveitsnotbutter 11:24 am 10 Nov 10

I have to jump on the combined 125k / $800 p/w band wagon… what are you thinking? Get realistic and aim for middle bracket homes of around $500 p/w and you’ll get one. End of story.

busgirl busgirl 11:24 am 10 Nov 10

I realise…not release!!!

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 11:23 am 10 Nov 10

Sounds like a crappy situation, my sympathies. I would strongly suggest buying a property instead.

busgirl busgirl 11:23 am 10 Nov 10

My 3-bedroom investment property in Kambah is providing me with $400 a week in rent. What are you thinking looking for a rental property for $800 a week? That is far too much to be paying in rent. Get a mortgage instead…or have a look at some cheaper rentals. And for the record, being a responsible pet-owner myself I release that there are other responsible pet-owners out there so actually don’t have a problem with my renters having pets (and yes the property has a lovely garden). Might I suggest you have a think about how you present yourself to the real estate agent when applying for the rental…I’m not making any assumptions about you but they do judge a book by it’s cover. And yes the formula of rent being no more than 1/3 of your income (in a previous comment) is correct. You seem to have champagne taste on a beer wage.

sneaky sneaky 11:20 am 10 Nov 10

Is it really that surprising that someone with a really nice house that is able to fetch $800 a week in rent doesn’t want someone else’s pets living there? If they’re willing to go without rent for weeks without any applicants that’s their business, otherwise it’s supply and demand and if someone without pets can pay it, wouldn’t you choose them?

You You 11:16 am 10 Nov 10

LlamaFrog said :

a professional couple earning a combined income of $125000 p/a – $60-$70k per year each does not make you a professional couple. double that before you consider yourself middle class.

I think your monocle just popped.

LlamaFrog LlamaFrog 10:51 am 10 Nov 10

a professional couple earning a combined income of $125000 p/a – $60-$70k per year each does not make you a professional couple. double that before you consider yourself middle class.

ps0104 ps0104 10:50 am 10 Nov 10

You are looking at places costing $800pw on a combined income of 125k? Perhaps your issue lies right there.

The widely accepted formula used by real estate agents to calculate one’s ability to ‘afford’ a rental property is that the weekly rent must not make up more than one third of the applicants weekly income. A combined income of 125k would equate to approx $2403pw BEFORE tax. This is pretty much bang on $800pw.

If 125k is before tax, your actual income would be significantly less than this and you would be considered ‘unable to afford’ $800pw. Whether this is true or not only you know, but that is the rule that 99% of property managers will go by in the absence of very compelling other reasons.

Also understandable is that fact that if an investor owns a property that can be rented for $800pw- its a pretty damn flash place. No wonder they dont want to take a risk with pets, regardless of how well trained you and others say they are.

Perhaps you need to start looking at places more like $5-600 pw???

Solidarity Solidarity 10:47 am 10 Nov 10

Unfortunantly it is thier house, not yours, it is thier property and they don’t want pets, that is thier decision, not yours. Doesn’t matter what you think, it is not your house.

That said, renting here is pointless, and I suggest you buy your own house, then you can have as many pets as you want!

You You 10:46 am 10 Nov 10

Totally agree. Canberra’s rental market is absolutely ridiculous. After investigating moving overseas, I actually discovered that the real estate market and overall cost of living in what is classified as some of the most expensive major cities in the world, is actually CHEAPER than Canberra. The price you pay for being surrounded by public servants I guess.

gospeedygo, i’d highly recommend that you look into moving into a share house. You can find a place in the inner north for $150 – $200 a week. Unless you’re a rich public servant, living by yourself in Canberra is just simply not worth it.

Peewee Slasher Peewee Slasher 10:43 am 10 Nov 10

I’m a lanldord, I was nce a renter. My values have remained the same, being once a responsible tenant who looked after the property and now being a home owner who looks afer the property.

I sympathise with your plight. I’ve had pets, none at the moment. Things really haven’t changed. I can recall lining up to rent a house in 1984 and there were 30 people there. No pets were allowed. During that time period, I didn’t own pets, so I increased my chance of renting.

I won’t allow pets in my rental property. It’s a supply and demand thing, I don’t have to.

Good luck in your search (sincerely).

Noezis Noezis 10:41 am 10 Nov 10

Try Tamara Baxter from LiveIn Property Management.

I dealt with her in another industry unrelated to property and she is extremely professional, and willing to assist in any manner possible. Whilst I don’t know if she works with tenants who have pets, based on her past performance I would suspect that she will assist in anyway she can.

luther_bendross luther_bendross 10:39 am 10 Nov 10

Unfortunately that’s the reality. The landlord can dictate their terms, pets or no pets. We rented a place in Canberra with two dogs, the landlord (private rental) was fine with it, but there was always a good understanding that we’d fix whatever the dogs chewed. Now that we own, we’re unsure if we’ll open our house to dog-owning tenants simply because you don’t know what you don’t know. 80% of dog owners are responsible, but 20% are very irresponsible.

Having said that, $800/wk is a lot, no?

Gantz Gantz 10:35 am 10 Nov 10

You know, I hear so many of these stories ‘blah blah the agent is ridiculous blah blah how can they do that? Its sooooooooo hard to find a place!’
Ive been renting for 5 years, 3 properties, and not once a major problem, beside the usual slow actions of an agent.
Ever thought the problem may actually lay with you, the renter? So quick to attack the real estate agent for minor things you could correct yourself, relying soley on them is not the best thing you can do.

And yeah 65% do own pets, guaranteed 50% have not informed the owner/agent.

carnardly carnardly 10:35 am 10 Nov 10

A young couple I know have a big dog and got a rental house about 4 weeks ago after searching for about 3 weeks. They are both young kids that previously lived at home and they did it fine. A sample size of one obviously isn’t a fair indication, but maybe these people were lucky, or they were just “given a go”.

gospeedygo gospeedygo 10:26 am 10 Nov 10

Mmmm, this obviously doesn’t bode well for anyone wanting to leave home for the first time does it? Sigh, looks like I am stuck here for a while then…

iceu- iceu- 10:24 am 10 Nov 10

$800 a week? Those are upmarket houses, why not try something in a lower price range? Or better yet, why not just buy a house considering you could pay less than that on a mortgage?

We rented two places before we bought our house, they were the only two we applied for and we were accepted for both. No pets, but we even got one of them before my partner had found a job in Canberra.

My friend and his partner recently changed rentals with their large outside and inside dog. They were also accepted for the first place they applied for (which was also very affordable).

Other friends have had more difficulty but they all got a place in the end. Chatting to the agents, having applications ready at the inspection, good presentation and even a pet “resume” will all help.

q-hole q-hole 10:21 am 10 Nov 10

I agree, it’s absurd. If you write a clause into your rental contract then what’s the problem? The hassle we had to go to because we had a cat (one cat, not twenty) made us think very hard about keeping our pet.

In the end it has the catalyst for us buying a place – having a large mortgage is still preferable to having to justify having a pet in your life.

Have you tried private rentals?

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