Apartment hunting can be a task, but as many pet owners know, finding a pet-friendly home is a whole new challenge. Follow these steps to make the rental search a breeze.
Defining pet friendly can be tricky because it’s not always a straightforward all-clear to bring your pets with you. The landlord might be open to pets, but you may need to meet some criteria to get the tick of approval. Here are six things to check off while hunting for your next home.
1. Get up to speed on your tenant rights
Tenancy laws in many parts of Australia make it easy for landlords to discriminate against renters by allowing them to select tenants without animals. In Victoria, renters who want a pet must ask their rental provider (landlord) for permission, but rental providers need a good reason to refuse the request. Other states have different approaches to pets in rental properties, so check with your local advocate if in doubt.
2. Check if there are any breed restrictions
You might also face restrictions on which animals are welcome. Generally speaking, the most common issue will be dog breeds. Get a clear understanding of how the landlord defines breed restrictions, so you’ll know if your dog will pose a problem. If the breeds on the ‘no’ list include larger or aggressive dogs and your pup meets that criteria, be prepared to work harder on the sell.
Tip: Certain dog breeds do better in an apartment setting! If you don’t own a dog yet but plan to get one with permission, consider checking out these breeds first.
3. Create a Pet Resume
If you want to improve your chance of success in finding a pet-friendly property, prepare a Pet Resume ahead of time. Consider it a way to showcase your pet and speed up the screening process. You can add a photo, a brief description of your pet and details about vaccinations and training. References from previous landlords or neighbours can help too! Many landlords will be flexible with policies if you show you and your pet will make responsible tenants.
4. Start your search on Rent.com.au.
At Rent.com.au, we’re here to help with your quest to find the purr-fect pet-friendly home for you and your best mate. You can use our site to search for properties that allow cats and dogs, making it easier to find a suitable home. To find pet-friendly homes, search your go-to suburb, open the filters to select Features and then Pets Allowed on the dropdown menu.
5. Offer to pay a pet bond
A pet bond is like a security deposit for your pet. You pay this cost upfront, but you can get the money back if there aren’t any damages to repair when you move out. Whether or not you’re also required to pay a pet bond should be explained in your lease agreement – and will vary depending on where you live. There may also be costs to fumigate the home at the vacate if you’ve owned pets that could have fleas.
6. If you’re hitting a wall, put your best foot forward
Why don’t all rental properties allow pets? It’s a toughie. There’s no specific reason why, but liability plays a role. Pets can cause damage that goes beyond what your rental bond covers. They can also lead to complaints that a property manager doesn’t want to handle. But even with a ‘no pets allowed’ rule, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Write the landlord an email explaining your position, making the request and demonstrating how your pet won’t inconvenience anyone.
Moving soon? Streamline your application by creating a Renter Resume on Rent.com.au. Your pets are moving with you! Set up your Pet Resume within your Renter Resume and let the landlord know if your pet is registered, vaccinated, insured and any qualifications they’ve achieved – even if it’s only puppy pre-school!
Lauren Vardy is the Content Manager at Rent.com.au, Australia's largest company dedicated to renters (ASX:RNT). Lauren has worked with Rent.com.au since 2015 and manages the Rent.com.au Blog. Formerly a journalist with Fairfax Media and Rural Press, Lauren has worked with multiple media groups in Australia and internationally on a freelance basis through publications including the Esperance Express, Southeast Asia Globe, Colosoul Magazine, The Sunday Times, and more.