According to RSPCA Queensland, while the new rental changes seem good on the surface, it will still be a while until ‘moving home’ is no longer a reason pets are surrendered to the charity.
Under the new legislation, pet owners are still required to seek consent to have a pet and can still have their rental application rejected due to pets, but a reasonable reason has to be provided.
When rejected, pet owners can lodge a dispute with RTA, but it can be weeks or months without resolution. By that time, the rental may have been filled.
“We understand that not every pet will suit every property, but we do hope these new laws help keep people and their pets together,” says RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Emma Lagoon.
“When you move home, you shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to find pet-friendly rentals, but the reality is animals are still being surrendered due to this very reason.”
Currently, the top reason that pets are surrendered to the RSPCA is due to owner homelessness. Being unable to take a pet to a new rental is also one of the top reasons, along with owners no longer being able to afford to keep their pets.
Ms Lagoon says, “We really do hope these new laws have a positive impact for people with pets, but sadly I think we are a long way off seeing a drop in surrender applications.”
The RSPCA’s top tips to securing a rental with your pet:
- Get written references for your pet from previous property owners and neighbours
- Write a pet resume: list your pet’s likes, dislikes and personality traits, certificates of vaccination, desexing and training.
- If you’re able, arrange for your landlord to meet your pet to show just how great tenants they’ll be too.
- Don’t forget if you’re changing councils - check your local laws with how many pets you can have and any restrictions in that area.
Ensure your pet has plenty of enrichment when you’re not home: like long lasting chew toys and treats for dogs, and cat scratching posts for cats. Check out a DIY cat scratching post, wand toy and snuffle ball.
How landlords can help people with pets:
Research has long shown the positive impact pets can have on human wellbeing. The RSPCA is calling for more pet-friendly properties on the market to help keep the human-animal bond strong.
The RSPCA is also calling for more pet-friendly rentals with secure fencing that are open to families with dogs.
Sadly, the RSPCA still investigates hundreds of cases every year of animals being tethered in backyards as properties don’t have appropriate fencing. Many pets have died, become tangled, or developed severe behavioural issues when left tethered.