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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watto23 watto23 2:25 pm 10 Nov 10

georgesgenitals said :

Jim Jones said :

Tooks said :

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

Assuming you have 20-30k handy for a deposit.

Rent something for two years at $500 a week instead of $800 a week and save the difference. $31,200.00 saved in 2 years.

Yes exactly. Plus interest on the money. Then once you have bought a house, you could get a rental and rent it to pet owners. I love pets, but i wouldn’t rent a house to someone with pets if i didn’t have to. Same for renting to people with kids, or groups of young guys.

In fact it was because my mate and I had difficulty renting a place and people assuming we were going to wreck it, that I bought in the first place.

Sleaz274 Sleaz274 2:21 pm 10 Nov 10

Apart from all the comments above which appear pretty valid.

For $800 a week ask forgiveness and not permission.

Repeat after me
“Do you have any pets?”
“No.”

Then when you have inspections your beloved pets can be at someone elses house for the day. Also just a question but how the hell do you afford $800 a week and still feed your pets, eat yourself, drive a car and pay the bills???

Clown Killer Clown Killer 2:20 pm 10 Nov 10

We had no trouble renting our place out – mind you we specified that we would only rent to people with pets – I just cant trust people who dont have pets.

Genie Genie 2:19 pm 10 Nov 10

georgesgenitals said :

Jim Jones said :

Tooks said :

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

Assuming you have 20-30k handy for a deposit.

Rent something for two years at $500 a week instead of $800 a week and save the difference. $31,200.00 saved in 2 years.

Couldn’t have put it better myself… Although, rent somewhere around the $400 mark per week, I’m sure you could save up to another $500-$1k a month for savings and you’d have more than enough saved up for a house deposit within 12-18months.

paperboy said :

arescarti42 said :

Seriously, how much damage can a pet do?

Ask Joel Monaghan

LOLZ =P

paperboy paperboy 2:00 pm 10 Nov 10

arescarti42 said :

Seriously, how much damage can a pet do?

Ask Joel Monaghan

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 1:47 pm 10 Nov 10

Jim Jones said :

Tooks said :

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

Assuming you have 20-30k handy for a deposit.

Rent something for two years at $500 a week instead of $800 a week and save the difference. $31,200.00 saved in 2 years.

Property Manager Property Manager 1:37 pm 10 Nov 10

Amanda Hugankis said :

I’ve seen responsible, mature, employed people do more damage to a rental than a single cat or dog. What about people who cook spicy food regularly? That smell never comes out.

Yes, there is always the human factor and that’s hard to manage. A bad tenant without a pet will do less damage than a bad tenant with a pet. So, based on the human factor you have identified, the landlord faces less risk by choosing a tenant without a pet – at least if the tenant turns out to be a turd the damage will be less than if they had a few greyhounds.

So you have in fact made an inadvertent argument FOR the ‘no pets’ policy.

You’re right about the spicy food, but how do you know which individuals will be cooking them? Unless you want to make assumptions about certain ethnicities and cultures I don’t know that you can pick it. If you start making those assumptions you will find yourself before the Human Rights Commission defending charges of racial discrimination.

And I dare say you’ll lose.

banjo banjo 1:06 pm 10 Nov 10

I do the opposite with my property. I DO allow pets and collect more rent because of it. As MATTM250 already pointed out, he is willing to pay more in rant than what is being asked to be able to have pets and be given a go. I don’t know why more property owners don’t do this, the extra rent collected more than pays for potential damage in the long run and there are ALWAYS families looking to rent with pets. It’s more of a niche market on top of what already is a tough market (renting) to begin with.

Amanda Hugankis Amanda Hugankis 1:00 pm 10 Nov 10

I’ve seen responsible, mature, employed people do more damage to a rental than a single cat or dog. What about people who cook spicy food regularly? That smell never comes out.

Eirlys Eirlys 12:55 pm 10 Nov 10

I’d have to agree, why the large amount of rent? That being said all the comments about buying a place. Sure I’ll buy a house, oh wait I don’t have $20000 spare for a deposit and I am responsibile enough not to try and live beyond my means. That and given the market in Canberra I doubt that I will ever be able to buy a house here (not for lack of wanting to). Not unless my house ended up with two incomes at about the $80,000 level ( which we don’t have).

Now I understand landlords have valid reasons for not wanting pets (all those listed above, and of course the simple fact of money money money). But seriously there are houses on all homes advertised as “family” houses that say “no pets” I have always wondered if these people actually believe these families don’t have pets. I feel sad if there is a generation of children who grow up without interacting with animals (and learning how to) because they didn’t have the chance.

Oh and to the real estate agent who when asked if a canary would be a problem said “won’t it be outside?” *headshake*. Who puts a canary outside in Canberra in winter or autumn? seriously. What did they they my canary was going to do sing at the walls?

Thumper Thumper 12:42 pm 10 Nov 10

Seriously, how much damage can a pet do?

Drink all your booze. Have wild parties when you’re not there. Do burn outs up and down the street in your spare car.

Oh yeah, don’t let their cute little fuzzy faces fool you….

youami youami 12:36 pm 10 Nov 10

arescarti42 said :

We were told that the owners would rather leave the place vacant than “RISK” have a pet on the property.

This kind of thinking boggles the mind. The owner would rather incur DEFINITE losses of $3500 a month whilst their property is vacant, compared to the POSSIBLE losses incurred if the tenant is an irresponsible pet owner?

Seriously, how much damage can a pet do?

Negative gearing

p1 p1 12:34 pm 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.

Plenty of people working in the field of their specific higher education qualification for that wage, and that would make them a professional couple.

MissChief MissChief 12:14 pm 10 Nov 10

I’m a renter, an owner and a landlord. I just realised this year, having always lived with cats but not having a cat at the present rental property, that I get the privelege of rats instead. I’d much rather the cat. At least it doesn’t chew up the carpet, chew holes in the walls, get into the pantry, leave droppings around the place and when poisoned, stink up the house. Something for landlords to consider perhaps?

arescarti42 arescarti42 12:07 pm 10 Nov 10

We were told that the owners would rather leave the place vacant than “RISK” have a pet on the property.

This kind of thinking boggles the mind. The owner would rather incur DEFINITE losses of $3500 a month whilst their property is vacant, compared to the POSSIBLE losses incurred if the tenant is an irresponsible pet owner?

Seriously, how much damage can a pet do?

Tooks Tooks 11:45 am 10 Nov 10

Jim Jones said :

Tooks said :

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

Assuming you have 20-30k handy for a deposit.

Fair point.

Erg0 Erg0 11:35 am 10 Nov 10

That seems like a pretty reasonable explanation of the motives that I’d suspected were behind the “no pets” policy.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 11:34 am 10 Nov 10

Tooks said :

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

Assuming you have 20-30k handy for a deposit.

madamcholet madamcholet 11:33 am 10 Nov 10

$800 is quite a big commitment on your salaries and would agree that they might consider this a risk, however, if you have longevity in your workplaces etc then that shouldn’t faze them too much. Would get you quite a flashy place though. My mortgage only costs us $500 a week and we earn $160k between us.

Agree that RE’s in Canberra (or the world over), especially their rental departments, are atrocious. The dog thing is also a mystery. I have a dog, and when we get around to buying a new house and renting ours out next year I would definitely accept house trained/well behaved dogs.

Post this again next year and you can rent my house – that’s if you want to live in the Beautiful South in an average 3 bedroom house that would probably only cost $500 max. We may even throw in the gardener.

Property Manager Property Manager 11:24 am 10 Nov 10

Dare I stick my neck on the block? Here goes…

I understand that having a pet while being a renter can be a massive hindrance. You have asked why – here are some reasons:

* Allergies: Whether its the owners or potential future tenants, allowing pets in the property now can cause allergy issues for future occupants. There is no amount of deep cleaning that will extract all the cat or dog hair from the fibres of carpet. The owners have to consider the future of the property, not just the immediate needs of one possible tenant.

* Lies: You have references, you have clean pets, they are only ever outside, they are clean, desexed and well trained. Unfortunately no one ever says their pet is a bastard, so it’s hard to know who is telling the truth until it’s too late. As usual there are some bad apples ruining the bushel, and those that lie about how good their pets are ruin it for those that have great pets.

* Increased wear and tear: While tenants are expected to pay for any damage done during their tenancy (including any done by pets), they aren’t responsible for fair wear and tear. It is reasonable to expect that a pet will cause an increased rate of wear to the property – not damage that the tenant can be held to account for, but wear that could have been avoided if the owner chose not to allow pets. Just like a single professional who is only around on weekends is likely to cause less wear on a property than a family of 6.

* Smells: Like smokers, pet owners rarely recognise the pungent aroma of their much loved, but those who don’t share your enthusiasm can smell it a mile away. Such smells linger, and while extensive cleaning may neutralize it, this causes its own issue – see below.

* Additional cleaning: Similar to smoking clauses in tenancy agreements, tenants will initially agree to extensive cleaning at the end of their lease to remove any trace of the pet or smoke etc. Problem is that when it comes time to deliver the tenants regularly believe that their level of cleaning is enough, despite previously agreeing to have additional work done. To enforce the initial agreement the owner has to claim against the bond, which ends up at the tribunal and costs them significant time and money to pursue. Meanwhile they either face a vacancy until it gets done, or risk potential issues with the next tenants who don’t want to smell your dogs.

Hopefully this outlines some of the factual reasons why property owners choose not to allow pets at their property.

I suspect that pet owners will believe that none of this is relevant as you believe you have the right to take spot with you – he’s a part of the family and it’s not right to discriminate based on any of the above reasoning. Unfortunately you are incorrect.

I am a renter, and I would love a dog almost as much as I’m sure my infant daughter would love a little puppy. Unfortunately though I’d prefer to leave my options open when renting so that we aren’t limited to living in the few rentals that will allow pets. That is a conscious decision that we have had to make.

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