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
mattm250 mattm250 8:34 am 11 Nov 10

Wow hasn’t this started a war of words. Well for a start. We are looking at ALL properties UP to $800 pw and because of work commitments we need to be fairly central, hence the prices. Secondly since when did you income determine class or whether or not were professional. Thirdly have any of you tried to get a mortgage whilst being self employed, the banks look at you like your a leaper. I’d have more chance getting a mortgage if I was an employee earning half as much.

deezagood deezagood 8:22 am 11 Nov 10

Just one of the 38 potentially suitable properties listed on all homes that allow pets. Do an advanced search, select house, with a rental range from 400 – 700 per week and for special features, select ‘pets allowed’. Narrow your search to not include properties already rented and houses with no price provided.

deezagood deezagood 8:18 am 11 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.

Rubbish. Many professional people (lawyers, doctors, veterinarians, scientists, accountants etc…) earn that amount in the earlier years of their careers. ‘Professional’ generally indicates the level of education or nature of work – not the income (otherwise all part-time workers would immediately lose their ‘professional’ status!).

We always allow pets in our renal properties; we just ask for references and ask tenants to pay an upfront pet-bond to ensure that any damages incurred may be covered in future.

I agree with previous posters regarding the nature of properties you are looking to rent; you may have to sacrifice location/luxury for something a little more down-market … but susurely it’s worth it to keep your pets with you?? The other thing to try is finding a slightly cheaper property and offering more than the weekly rental price if they allow you to have pets. Good luck!

Pandy Pandy 11:11 pm 10 Nov 10

You can have a pet in a rental house in the NSW without asking?


Vix Vix 10:55 pm 10 Nov 10

My policy? Birds in cages, fish in bowls and pet rocks.

st st 10:48 pm 10 Nov 10

It’s not hard to find rental property in Canberra, it’s hard to find good rental property with 2 car parks ; )

I-filed I-filed 10:47 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.

Whether said couple can afford $800 isn’t a matter of rule of thumb though- depends on lifestyle. If they are happy to spend the money on a nice centrally located house, and said house will save on petrol and mean they don’t need a second car, and they aren’t trying to save to buy a house, they can afford $800 a week if they are intending to eat mostly at home … I know a Tuggers EL1 couple who earn $240,000 between them and they have almost no disposable income – paying off big cars, furniture, maxed credit cards, holidays, private school fees for the kids …

roflmao roflmao 9:54 pm 10 Nov 10

I am all for pets, including indoor huskys, though i would understand the consern for a landloard on the pets being indoors, though i don’t understand what the problem is if they are agreed to being outdoor pets.

ainira ainira 9:51 pm 10 Nov 10

Where on earth have you been looking? That’s costing $800/week??? As far as I can tell, rental is flat right now based on our experiences and the number of ‘For Lease’ signs I see everywhere (which were NOT there two years ago):

– Hubby and I got a notice to vacate (by phone call) a few Fridays ago.
– We saw rental properties that Saturday and put in applications.
– Got approval for one of them on the Monday (as a back up place).
– Hubby saw another place that Monday arvo and we applied that night by email.
– Got approval for that place by Tuesday arvo.
– Signed lease on Wednesday morning.
– Picked up keys on Friday week (though the real estate agent was pushing for us to move in as soon as possible).

BOTH places that we got approval for had been vacant for about four weeks. We are paying $440/week for a 2bdr townhouse in Phillip. The first place that we got approval for was $410/week for 2bdr ground floor apartment in Kingston. When hubby looked at other rental houses in the $400/week range a month earlier, all the real estate agents said that it was DIFFICULT to find tenants in that price range as everyone is going for the $350/week places or less.

We are on a combined annual income of $135K. No idea why you’re finding is so hard.

poppy poppy 8:14 pm 10 Nov 10

I have several rental properties including one in the ACT and pets are always given fair consideration. The only time I have denied pets are; tenant wanted to have a young border collie on a 320m block with only a small concrete courtyard; and an existing tenant asking to buy a dog who was already consistently behind in rent and did not keep the property in good condition.

I am no bleeding heart; tenants who don’t pay or damage the property are out as soon as legally possible. But I don’t see any reason to deny an appropriate pet to a tenant with a good rental history.

Mick Green Mick Green 7:31 pm 10 Nov 10

Guinea Pigs are rodents. They can chew. They can chew like bastards.

screaming banshee screaming banshee 6:54 pm 10 Nov 10

Pitching up with six references could be your problem. I’d would either assume they are BS references, or that you never stick around long. Either way unattractive.

Fiona Fiona 6:06 pm 10 Nov 10

Surely you’re more likely to get into a $3-400/week property with a pet than a $800/week one? Just the amont of damage a pet can do to a better property over a cheaper rental…

Ko. Ko. 5:48 pm 10 Nov 10

When I was renting I just never told the real estate that I had a dog.

On the day of the inspections I’d just send the dog to someone else’s house and hide any evidence he was ever there.

I did that for four years and the half a dozen property managers we had never found out.

Ryoma Ryoma 5:03 pm 10 Nov 10

I sympathise with the poster, and agree completely with Banjo (#33). Having pets is one of the things that makes a house into a home in my view.

If various landlords (and even developers) realised how important this was to people, how much more they’d be willing to pay in rent, and just how many people make up this market, they could make a fortune.

This is an issue that even the ACT government (!) could make progress upon – not through legislation, but just encouragement.

Amanda Hugankis Amanda Hugankis 4:12 pm 10 Nov 10

Property Manager said :

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.

I have only made an argument for the no pets policy if we’re talking about renting to an irresponsible tenant who ALSO has a pet (or a few, as the number has now jumped to).

If we’re talking about a responsible tenant with a pet, as a landlord myself (also a tenant), I’d take the good tenant with a pet over the bad tenant without a pet every single time. On a quick canvas of friends/family who rent to all including pet owners, they’ve had far more trouble from those without pets than those with. Generally those with pets have been so grateful to be able to rent somewhere with Fluffy or Fido that they take the extra care with the property that general tenants often don’t.

On the spicy food issue – I don’t know how you tell … I was just thinking out loud! I thought as a ‘property manager’ you’d have some insight into this also. I get the feeling that if you could do something about it and avoid the tag of ‘discrimination’ and any possible legal action, the industry would do so before you could say ‘judgey wudgy was a bear’. I mean, I know that property managers would never discriminate or make judgements about potential tenants that they possibly shouldn’t … *cough cough*.

carnardly carnardly 3:15 pm 10 Nov 10

Wonder where Matt the original poster is now? Probably too scared to come back. lol

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 2:39 pm 10 Nov 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

a week mark and we are a professional couple earning a combined income of $125000 p/a

Mate, I’m on a single income more than that and there’s no way in hell I could find $800 a week for rent. That’s my fortnightly repayment on a $200K-odd mortgage. What’s your secret?

PS – good hunting.

Your single income means you pay a lot more in tax than two people sharing that amount as income.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 2:37 pm 10 Nov 10

watto23 said :

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, the deposit can be used to close the sale on a $460k property which, surprise surprise, costs about $800 per week to repay.

(I’ve assumed the whole deposit will be taken up in costs, and not applied to the principle)

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 2:37 pm 10 Nov 10

a week mark and we are a professional couple earning a combined income of $125000 p/a

Mate, I’m on a single income more than that and there’s no way in hell I could find $800 a week for rent. That’s my fortnightly repayment on a $200K-odd mortgage. What’s your secret?

PS – good hunting.

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