Renting with pets

Dogs and cats are like family members to many Western Australians, but it’s not always easy for an animal-loving tenant to find a pet-friendly landlord.

Compounding this issue currently is WA’s tight rental market, with animal shelters reporting large numbers of pets being surrendered by renters unable to find a property willing to accommodate them.

In WA currently, tenants wanting to keep pets on the premises must seek permission from the landlord, who is not required to provide grounds for refusing the request.

One incentive for landlords to allow animals is to seek a pet bond before commencing a tenancy agreement to cover the potential costs of fumigating the property after the tenant moves out.

Many tenancy agreements already include this provision, with new figures revealing there are currently 78,644 bonds containing $19.83 million worth of pet bonds in WA.

A pet bond of up to $260 can be charged in residential tenancies, while for long-stay tenancies in a residential park a maximum amount of $100 can be charged. The only exception is for assistance dogs, for which a pet bond cannot be charged at all.

When lodging bonds, landlords and agents should know they must lodge the entire security bond as a single amount, specifying the amount taken as a pet bond.

Another issue that has arisen during this time of low vacancy rates is scammers targeting tenants with fake rental listings.

So far in 2021, Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet has received 20 reports of rental scams, with six people losing a total of $9,140.

We therefore urge tenants looking for rentals to go through a licensed real estate or property management agency rather than responding to online ads, and to avoid sending money for properties they haven’t inspected. That way they can be assured the property being offered is a genuine rental.

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