Rental market leaves pet owners out in the cold

James Healy with pug Ava and sphinx cat Fluffy

Pet owners on the Gold Coast are struggling to find accommodation, with many forced to relinquish their animals.

Local James Healy said he found it difficult to find a pet-friendly rental for his small dog and cat.

Despite being financially qualified, with full-time work and good pay, Mr Healy was refused repeatedly before an application was finally accepted.

“It took two months, approved the day before I had to vacate – it was scary,” he said.

The Animal Welfare League of Queensland is concerned about the lack of pet-friendly rentals in the area.

AWLQ spokesperson Joy Verrinder said about 20 percent of their animal surrenders were from owners unable to find pet-friendly accommodation and body-corporate by-laws prohibiting pets.

“It is an issue at the moment. Even if the owner is okay (with having pets on their property), body corporate can still change their mind,” she said.

Ms Verrinder said the AWLQ wanted to see more pet owners educated about their rights as tenants, and a change in the law to allow for more pet-friendly properties.

She urged pet owners not to give up when confronted with housing issues, and that more advice and support could be found on the AWLQ website.

Kelly Dryburgh from Glow Properties said more tenants were challenging body corporate by-laws in court. Recent cases had ruled in favour of pet ownership.

Ms Dryburgh said responsible pet ownership was the key to securing a pet-friendly rental and advised renters to desex, microchip, regularly exercise and register their pets.

She said owners who did not have good experiences with pets on their property were unlikely to rent them out as pet-friendly again.

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