COVID saw an increase in people bringing home companion animals, and rightfully so, they provide us with love, companionship, comfort and emotional support. It is horrific to think that people are now facing the prospect of having to give these animals up. I think it is easy to label this issue as a rental crisis issue, but it’s not, it’s a legislative one. Landlords shouldn’t have control over whether someone has a companion animal. To some pets are the equivalent of having kids and landlords don’t have control over saying no to children.
Rescue services cannot deal with the influx of animals they are receiving nor should they. They don’t have the funding or facilities to be able to cope. It’s becoming a question of taking in animals or having them put to sleep. Why are we in this situation? Neither of these options should even be on the table.
The ABC published a story on this issue over the weekend citing one family that had applied for 26 homes with their cat Rex. They were denied all of them and Rex has now been surrendered. I don’t want to live in a society where this happens, where animals aren’t seen as beings and humans are having to decide between a house and their beloved fur kids. I know I am not the only one who thinks this: the latest statistics show that nearly 60 per cent of households here in Australia have a companion animal.
Here at Doggy Day Care Brisbane, I write rental references for clients with fur kids all the time. I also look over unfair and impractical body corp rules: some are truly outrageous. The solution is simple. We need to legitimise the increase of people renting as a way of life, myself included. We need to treat renters as adults, capable of holding down a job, running a company, raising a family, meeting commitments, budgeting etc instead of as a group of people who need rules and regulations around how they live in a place they are paying a premium for.
We are behind Europe and the US when it comes to renters rights, in particular around companion animals and it’s time we committed to a better life for renters and their fur kids.
I urge the Queensland Labor Government to table legislation that will make it easier to rent with a companion animal. This was discussed before COVID and we are now seeing the effects of not having this legislation in place. We cannot wait much longer, animals are losing their lives and their families and humans’ mental health is being affected by these decisions and yet the solution is simple.
New Victorian Laws
The Westender asked the office of the Minister for Housing for an update on the Government’s legislative reform agenda.
“The Palaszczuk Government remains committed to rental law reform that provides better protections for renters and lessors and improves stability in the rental market.
“In late 2019, the Government sought feedback across a range of renting issues, including better ways for renters and lessors to reach agreement about pets.
“In 2020, the Palaszczuk Government prioritised responding to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the residential rental sector by establishing a set of temporary COVID-19 regulatory measures.”
The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) sets out the rules around pets in residential rental properties.
The Residential Tenancies Authority advises that tenants should choose a rental property that matches their lifestyle and needs before signing a tenancy agreement.
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