Why landlords should accept tenants with pets
Pet owners grapple with rental insecurity. Despite the popularity of pet ownership across countries such as Australia (where 63 per cent of households include a pet), the United States (62 per cent) and United Kingdom (46 per cent), rental policy rarely recognises pets as important members of households. Instead, landlords and property agents typically restrict the right to keep pets.
Reports from animal welfare organisations suggest these policies make it difficult for pet owners to find rental housing. There is also evidence of connections between rental insecurity and poor animal welfare outcomes.
Research shows that insecure housing, including difficulties finding pet-friendly rental properties, is a key factor driving people to relinquish their pets.
The 'no pets' clause
My research shows that pet ownership can trigger feelings of housing insecurity for renter households. The research involved an open survey with 679 households that had rented with pets in Sydney, as well as 28 in-depth interviews.
The majority of survey respondents rated finding pet-friendly housing in their suburb as difficult. They perceived that it became more difficult to find rental properties after they acquired their pet.
About half of those who always declared their pets when they applied for properties had been given pet ownership as the reason their application was rejected. These figures are likely to represent only a small proportion of those who have been rejected for pet ownership as reasons for rejection are rarely provided.
The competitive nature of Sydney's rental market, which gives real estate agents a larger pool of tenants to choose from, was believed to have increased the challenge. A small number of households had even been offered rental housing if they got rid of their pet. These experiences led to a sense of rental insecurity and feelings of stress when participants wanted or needed to move house.