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Tough reality for pet owners in rental properties

CALLING FOR CHANGE: Tenant, Kim Warren, her daughter Charlie and Elders Real Estate property manager, Krysti MacRae are encouraging landlords to make exceptions for pets like the Warren's family cat, Jasper.
CALLING FOR CHANGE: Tenant, Kim Warren, her daughter Charlie and Elders Real Estate property manager, Krysti MacRae are encouraging landlords to make exceptions for pets like the Warren's family cat, Jasper. Claudia Jambor

FINDING a new place to rent shouldn't come with the heart-breaking cost of parting ways with your beloved pet.

Sadly, this is a reality faced by many pet owners according to Northern Rivers Animal Service secretary Vicki Kelly - who said the majority of their dog and cat surrenders arise from rentals that aren't pet friendly.

"I'd rather live in a tent that give away my dog, but some people don't have the choice," Ms Kelly said.

The climbing number of pet surrenders due to living circumstances compelled Ms Kelly and NRAS to campaign to real estate agents in the Northern Rivers to better educate landlords about opening their properties to those with furry friends.

Elders Real Estate Alstonville property manager Krysti MacRae said the landlord determines whether pets are allowed in rentals.

In 2010, changes to the Residential Tenancies Act allowed for a special lease for pet owners, stipulating the property must be professionally cleaned and fumigated inside and out for all pests.

As a pet lover, Ms MacRae said she educates her landlords about the special lease and outlines the benefits of opening up rentals to pets such as opportunity to diversify clientele and securing stable tenants.

By educating her landlords, Ms MacRae has seen a steady increase in pet-friendly rentals in her portfolio from 5% to 35% over the past six years.

Tenant, Kim Warren, of Alstonville, hopes to be "a credit to pet owners" because she maintains a high standard of hygiene in the house with her cat, Jasper.

Just for Pets founder, Karen Justice - like NRAS - is working to accelerate the shift towards pet-friendly rentals by championing for Byron Bay to be the first city in Australia to introduce a "pets-are-welcome policy" for all rentals in the shire.

A community forum about the policy will be held on Wednesday, November 23 from 7pm-9pm at Byron Bay RSL.

Topics:  editors picks landlords pet-friendly rentals real estate rentals



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