Renters forced to ditch pets
Fri, 22 Feb 2013 8:43a.m.
By Kloe Palmer
Rental properties are being snapped up in Christchurch, but many pet owners are being left out in the cold.
Accommodation is hard to come by as earthquake repairs continue and people are forced to relocate, but it's especially difficult if any of your family members have more than two legs.
Katie Cawley doesn't have children, but she does have dogs.
"They are my children," she laughs.
But she's had to move back in with her mum because no landlords want these guys on their property.
"It's very unideal," says Ms Cawley. "I'm 25, I don't particularly want to be at home. I love my family but it makes life very difficult."
Landlords basically have a default no pets policy. But property managers say in some cases they should loosen up, as in Christchurch at the moment there's a different type of tenant moving around the market – responsible, but displaced.
"A lot of them have owned their own homes and they're out of their homes for quake reasons, and so they have their family pets and they know how to look after them a little more than traditionally," say Tony Brazier of Brazier Property.
"It isn't fair on people like me," says Ms Cawley. "I'm a professional, I have got two dogs who aren't home in the day and who are big couch potatoes and wouldn't do anything, and I can't get a house."
For Ms Cawley, getting rid of her dogs isn't an option, but many others have no choice.
Dogwatch, which specialises in re-homing dogs, says healthy animals are too often being dumped or put down.
"If the situation get so bad the only other option is to ethane the dog, and I know that vets are getting sick of doing it because they're having to put down perfectly healthy family dogs, but there's just nowhere for them," says Pam Howard.
In the two years since the 2011 quake, Dogwatch's kennels have been packed with quake refugees.
"We help as much as we can, but the reality is it just doesn't happen overnight," says Ms Howard. "We can have dogs on our books for months before we find them homes."
As for cats, more have been checking in and for longer at feline motels, some staying for over three months.
But it's even tougher for their owners. Currently hundreds of potential tenants are turning up to view and fight for rentals, but if you've got a four-legged family member, you might find you're immediately knocked further down the list.
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22/02/2013 8:32:24 p.m.
Patty Wunder wrote:
LBV said Exactly what I think! Kids and college students are way worse than I am with my dog and 3 cats! I am super clean! We are very lucky but would love something bigger but everyone says no pets! Or what about smokers! They even ave more options!? For someplace as nature lovin and outdoorsy, I would expect more from people! I could rent almost anywhere with a dog and cat in Chicago! We paid a higher deposit and maybe n extra $10 a month but its worth it and you got your deposit back when you were a responsible pet owner!
22/02/2013 4:13:14 p.m.
The stupid thing is - if you have good tenants, then dogs won't be an issue. The worst that you will have to do is get the carpets cleaned at the end of the tenancy. Dogs will actually cause less damage than kids will if you have a good dog owner.
Owning a pet can do really good things. You have a responsibility to exercise and feed it, but the companionship is irreplaceable. Something definitely needs to be done.
22/02/2013 1:59:20 p.m.
That's been the default position of landlords in Melbourne for years. It means most tenants just lie and say they don't have pets and hide all evidence before an inspection.
There should be a law against discriminating against pet owners. Housing is not a want but a need.
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