Pets under the rental property pinch
Unsplash/Bruno Cervera

New analysis suggests that pets are being squeezed out of the rental market.

Guest post – Terri Scheer Insurance

Only eight currently available rental properties in Sydney (and surrounding suburbs) allow pets, while there are 10 pet-friendly rentals in Melbourne and just seven in Adelaide.

This is according to an analysis of current rental property listings on by Australia’s leading landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer.

“A lack of pet-friendly rental properties is concerning especially in the country’s two most populated capital cities,” said Carolyn Parrella, Terri Scheer Insurance Executive Manager.

Almost one-third (31%) of all Australians are renters according to the latest Census data while only 10% of rental properties advertise as being pet-friendly.

Every year hundreds of pets are surrendered to animal welfare organisations by families who need to rent but cannot find rental properties that will accept their pets. The Animal Welfare League claim it is the fourth highest reason people give for surrendering their pet.

“The numbers currently don’t stack up,” Ms Parrella said.

“There are a number of benefits for savvy landlords who allow pets in their rental properties, while it also makes renting accessible to more Australians and reduces the number of forfeited pets.”

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Benefits in having a pet-friendly rental

Research has found that two-thirds of Australians own a pet.

Ms Parrella said accepting pets could give landlords access to a broader selection of prospective tenants. “This could mean landlords are able to rent their property sooner and reduce advertising costs,” she said.

“Tenants who find a pet-friendly rental property may also choose to sign longer leases knowing they can keep their furry friends.”

Pet-proofing your rental property

“From our experience potential damage is the main reason stopping landlords from allowing pets,” Ms Parrella said.

Pet-related damage can include soiled carpets, claw and teeth markets on walls and door frames, and damage to gardens and exterior fences.

“However there are a number of ways landlords can pet-proof their properties,” Ms Parrella said.

“This could include installing animal runs, to enclose cats and dogs to specific areas of the home, or replacing carpets with tiles and floorboards which are lower maintenance.

“Landlords may also choose to enforce a reasonable pet policy, which could include requesting that pets are housed outside under shelter or limiting the number or type of pets at the property. For example, an apartment may be more suited to cats or small dogs.

“While there are a number of measures landlords and tenants can take to minimise the risk associated with pets in rentals, accidents do happen, so it’s worthwhile considering an appropriate landlord insurance policy.”

From as little as $1 per day, a Terri Scheer landlord insurance policy can insure landlords against risks such as loss of rent, damage and a landlord’s legal liability.

Terri Scheer has recently made improvements regarding pet damage to its landlord insurance policies, which include increasing the limit for pet damage to $2500 and removing the need for pets to be named on the lease.

Making you and your pet more appealing tenants

Ms Parrella said it was important tenants could show prospective landlords they are a responsible pet owner.

“Tenants with pets who can provide a reference from a previous landlord may be more likely to secure a rental property,” she said.

“Tenants could also provide information about their pet in terms of their nature, Council registration, vaccinations and any training. A pet resume could be used. Pet owners may also find it beneficial to introduce the prospective landlord to their pets, to demonstrate their good behaviour and suitability.”

Tenants with pets may be more appealing if they offer to go ‘above and beyond’, says Ms Parrella. This could include offering to pay for carpet cleaning to remove pet hair and any odours.

Terri Scheer Insurance
Terri Scheer Insurance

Terri Scheer Insurance is an Australian landlord insurance specialist and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Suncorp Group. In 1990, Terri Scheer created a specialist policy for landlords to cover the risks they would most commonly face in Australia. The company aims to help protect landlords' investment properties and rental income streams from common tenancy-related risks.