Don't worry, it's nothing bad. You just have to own a pet. Finding a rental can be a nightmare for pet owners, so landlord Jessica* is wanting to help those struggling to find somewhere that accepts them.
“I see so many people, surrendering animals to the RSPCA because they're moving somewhere and the owners won't let them have a pet,” she told Yahoo News Australia. “So we have the opposite policy, we will only rent to people with pets.”
It’s one of three apartments around the leafy suburb of Willoughby that Jessica makes available exclusively to pet owners. Over the years tenants have had a range of animals including German shepherds, rottweilers, labradors, cats and even a pair of ferrets.
Why Sydney landlord will only rent to pet owners
The idea of renting to pet owners came after a stint living in Paris and then New York where it was accepted that people renting apartments would have pets. “It’s just not a big deal over there, so it just frustrated me when I moved back,” she said.
“The apartment is clean, it’s freshly painted. Having a pet doesn’t mean you have a bad unit,” she said. “Having pets means you usually get tenants who stay a long time… it’s good business sense to have someone with a pet.”
If you're interested in renting the apartment, there's another surprising aspect to the offering — rather than go through an agent, you'll need to speak with the owner directly. "I don't deal with real estate agents, simply because I don't think they treat people ethically or correctly," she said.
Are many pet owners facing cost-of-living pressure?
Under the NSW Residential Tenancies Act tenants aren't required to ask before bringing a pet into the house, but a landlord is able to prohibit them in their rental agreement.
Yahoo has reported on the desperate plight of pet owners who struggle to find affordable accommodation amid the cost of living crisis. In February, a 53-year-old full-time chef had to leave her pet cat in the foyer with food and bedding after she was evicted from her building and forced to live in her car.
In March a cat and her kittens were abandoned in front of a vet with a note. In that case, the owner simply couldn’t afford to feed the cat any longer.
RSPCA NSW told Yahoo News Australia there is an "uncomfortable trend" involving increased surrenders coupled with a lower rate of adoptions. Each adult dog costs about $1000 per stay and the average number of days adult dogs are spending in care at RSPCA NSW is skyrocketing:
7.7 days in October, 2020
16.5 days in October, 2022
34.3 days in March, 2023
* Jessica is not the landlord's real name. She requested we use a pseudonym.
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