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Surge in pet ownership has rental downside


Surge in pet ownership has rental downside

Pet owners are surrendering their fur babies in heartbreaking numbers due to the rental crisis. WORDS: Tracey Johnstone.

They are often your best friend; faithful, loving, welcoming you home with glee, keeping you company when life seems hard, but now these four-legged friends are creating headaches.

REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella sees that as the number of apartments grows and the level of pet ownership increases, “an objective balance is certainly required when managing pet ownership in residential communal environments”.

There are currently 62,336 dogs and cats registered with the Sunshine Coast Council.

“It’s important that body corporates carefully consider the rights of individual lot owners and what’s best for the pet,” Ms Mercorella says.

“QCAT have handled a number of disputes regarding imposing complete bans on pet ownership within community titles schemes, however it’s determined that’s an unreasonable approach, which we also agree with.”

For renters, finding an available property in this very tight market leaves little room for negotiating with owners for permission to keep a pet in residence. For some devasted renters it can mean having to relinquish ownership of their fur-baby.

REIQ Sunshine Coast zone chair Matt Diesel says he sees a lot of people trying to ensure their rental applications land at the top of the bundle.

“Some people are considering rehoming their pets or giving them to a family member in the interim just to make sure they stand out and are in a position to secure a rental,” Mr Diesel says.

As a result, there has been a surge in pets surrendered to the community group Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge (SCARS).

SCARS president Penny Brischke says that between January and April there has been about 40 pets come to her group due to the rental problems.

The scarcity of rental properties which allow pets has always been an issue on the Coast says Ms Brischke. But since late last year as the available rental property crisis started to hit its peak of just 0.4 per cent availability, so too has the surrendering of pets.

“Last year it was only about 60 pets for the same reason,” Ms Brischke says.

“We have had people living in cars for weeks trying to hold onto their pets, hoping they can find a property that will let them take them. That is devastating
for them.”

“It is important in this current market to be really thinking sensibly about whether you are in a stable enough position to have a pet and provide for it for its life.”

Did you know

43,530 Sunshine Coast households have a registered pet. The breakdown of households with dogs and cats is:

  • Cats – 8509
  • Dogs – 38,821
  • Households with both a dog and a cat – 3800

Source – Sunshine Coast Council

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