WA market: Rental scams, pet struggles

Tenants are being urged to avoid sending money for rental properties they haven’t inspected to avoid being targeted by scammers.

Lanie Chopping, Western Australian Commissioner for Consumer Protection, said this was one of the best ways to be assured the rental property being offered was genuine.

“Another issue that has arisen during this time of low vacancy rates is scammers targeting tenants with fake rental listings,” she said.

“So far in 2021, Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet has received 20 reports of rental scams, with six people losing a total of $9,140.”

“We urge tenants looking for rentals to avoid sending money for properties they haven’t inspected. That way they can be assured the property being offered is a genuine rental.”

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Ms Chopping said Consumer Protection also recognised the struggle to find pet-friendly rentals in WA.

Dogs and cats are like family members to many Western Australians, but it’s not always easy for an animal-loving tenant to find a pet-friendly landlord,” she said.

“Compounding this issue currently is WA’s tight rental market, with animal shelters reporting large numbers of pets being surrendered by renters unable to find a property willing to accommodate them.”

Under WA’s current legislation, tenants wanting to keep pets on the premises must seek permission from their landlord.

Landlords are not required to provide grounds for refusing the request.

One incentive for landlords to allow animals is to seek a pet bond before commencing a tenancy agreement to cover the potential costs of fumigating the property after the tenant moves out.

Many tenancy agreements already include this provision, with new figures revealing there are currently 78,644 bonds containing $19.83 million worth of pet bonds in WA.

When lodging bonds, landlords and agents should know they must lodge the entire security bond as a single amount, specifying the amount taken as a pet bond.

Find more information about rental scams and tenancy bonds in WA on the Scamnet or Commerce WA websites.

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