“I can’t find somewhere to live with my kitten…”

September 20, 2019
The real kitten did not want to be identified so we’ve used a file photo!

My experience with renting in my current unit while owning a pet has been great. I’ve never had any issues, but soon my lease will be up and I am struggling to find a place that will take my kitten in as well. I believe that all units/houses/apartments should consider permitting pets.

I see so many posts about people having to re-home their pets due to lessors not accepting them, which I don’t think is fair for the pet or the owner! Let’s face it, we love our fur-babies and they love us! We should always have the opportunity to be with them no matter where we live. Anonymous

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

You can also tell us your own story by emailing [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

“My dog is my best mate….” Lauren and Alex’s story

September 3, 2019

Renting with Pets

“I got my dog, Rylie, about two-and-a-half years ago,” explains Alex, a Queensland tenant and pet owner. “I was very lucky to live in a house where pet ownership was permitted. After I moved out of that house, I encountered difficulties. Almost every rental  advertisement said, ‘no pets’. It took two months to find a new pet-friendly house, and it was right down to the wire. I was accepted into a new home just days before my lease ended.”

After months of searching, Alex was fortunate to move into a share-house with his friend, Lauren, and her poodle, Lottie. The two dogs get along well, and their lessor is willing to have tenants with pets.

Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t find pet-friendly rentals. Despite having one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, only around 10% of rental properties in Queensland allow pets. This disparity contributes to the rate of animals being surrendered. The Animal Welfare League claims 25% of pets were surrendered last financial year due to an inability by renters to find pet-friendly homes.

“I had another dog a few years ago, his name was Chief,” says Lauren. “I had him for six years, but because he was so big, I struggled to find a house for him. Eventually, I made the difficult decision to re-home him to a family who owned a large property. I know he is happier there and the family continue to send me photos and messages.”

Lauren’s previous experience with Chief made her very selective when it came to choosing Lottie, years later. As a student, she knew homeownership wasn’t an achievable goal in the near future. She deliberately selected a poodle because of their small size and inability to shed fur. Lauren hopes these traits will improve her likelihood of securing future rental homes with Lottie.

“My dog is my best mate. It doesn’t matter the time of day, she’s always there for me, and I never feel alone,” says Lauren. “It just doesn’t seem fair that people should be discriminated against in their rental housing for owning a pet.”

“My dog promotes a healthy lifestyle for me,” continues Lauren. “Lottie encourages me to take daily walks, and pet ownership also gives me a higher sense of responsibility that carries into other areas of my life.”

Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of pet ownership on people’s health, happiness and resilience. For the elderly, chronically ill, children or those with mental health difficulties, a pet can indeed be a lifeline, providing a reason to get out of bed each day.

When we know just how important pets are to Australians, it seems unfair that tenants are expected to surrender their pets or forego the opportunity of pet ownership.

While Lauren, Alex and their dogs enjoy their current home, knowing how few rental properties accept pets, does play on their minds.

“I’m heading overseas soon, and my Mum will mind Riley while I am away,” says Alex. “But when I get back, I’m in for some trouble trying to find a new home.”

“I try to live day-to-day and not worry,” says Lauren. “Because I already had problems renting with a large dog, I’ve chosen a breed that can fit with my lifestyle and should make finding a rental home possible. But you just never know.”

Both Alex and Lauren would like to see improved pet-ownership rights for tenants. “It would be nice to be given a chance from lessors and agents, instead of just being condemned from the start,” says Lauren.

“We give up thousands of dollars in bond money to live in a rental home, so it seems unreasonable that pet owners are denied an opportunity flat out,” agrees Alex. “It also encourages tenants to sneak pets onto a property and breaks down communication between tenants and lessors.”

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair for pet owners, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

If you have experienced unfair rental practices related to pet ownership, share your story with us. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.

“I lost my home for no reason…” Susan’s story

July 9, 2019

“I rented a unit in regional Queensland for 18 months without any problems,” says 61-year-old Susan, “then one day, my tenancy was unexpectedly ended. I asked for a reason on several occasions, and the real estate agent just kept repeating, ‘we don’t have to give you one.'”

As a pensioner with health issues, the implications of moving were enormous for Susan. She could not afford the additional costs of relocating and knew she would be hard-pressed to find a similar home for the same price. “My mental health suffered badly, because of the stress and friendships I was leaving behind,” she says.

Susan had invested both time and money into the property, making it a home she was proud of. She had repainted the interior, put up shelving, replaced a small bathroom mirror with a larger one, made curtains for the bare windows and purchased lampshades for the lights. She tended to the small garden each day, adding plants and watching them thrive.

“I was a good tenant, but got treated very badly in the end,” she says.

Under current Queensland laws, agents and owners can end tenancies without any grounds, making it possible to discriminate or retaliate against tenants.

Unfair evictions are just one contributor to the growing rate of homelessness in women over the age of 55, along with low incomes and superannuation due to time out of the workforce or working low-paid jobs while caring for children or parents.

This time, Susan was lucky and found somewhere to live.

“A community support service helped me to move my belongings into a friend’s granny flat. I am lucky it also has a garden, so I have somewhere to spend my time each day,” explains Susan, “but it doesn’t seem fair that I had to leave when the apartment was rented out again after I left.”

If a property is to remain on the rental market, we believe a tenant who is meeting their obligations should be able to continue residing there. It’s a small change that doesn’t cost lessors or the government money but would have a positive impact on renters like Susan.

Take action!

To support our initiative to change Queensland laws and make renting fair, sign up for our campaign updates and share this post with your friends.

If you have experienced unfair rental practices, share your story with us. Email [email protected] or send us a video on our Facebook or Twitter page.