Finding rental accommodation with pets is possible

Trying to find rental accommodation when you own a pet can be tough, particularly in a tight rental market, but it is possible.  While it can often seem like you’re being forced to make a decision between your furry friend and a place to live, it is becoming increasingly common for owners to allow pets.

Who makes the decision?

If a rental property is leased through an agency it will be looked after by a property manager. Their role is to manage the property for the owner, but under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) it is the owner who chooses whether pets will be considered.

Increasingly property managers are advising owners to keep an open mind. They are aware many people own pets, particularly cats and dogs, and that these ‘fur babies’ are often much loved members of the family.

How to approach renting with pets

Responsible tenants with good pets now have better prospects, particularly if they ask for the Pet Lease Agreement available to them when using a REIWA property manager.

To give yourself and your pet the best chance of approval, consider the following:

Be upfront

As a tenant it is always best to be upfront with the property manager and owner about your situation. If tenants are forced to give up a pet because their landlord does not allow it, it’s almost always because the pet was obtained after the lease was signed or wasn’t declared in the first instance.

References help

A good way to sway favour in your direction is to provide references for your animal(s). A positive letter from a previous land owner or property manager is viewed very favourably and can help considerably with the approval of your application.

Approval is case by case

If you receive approval for a particular animal, then approval is for that animal only. Further approval must be sought for additional animals or a replacement pet if the original one dies or moves out.

Enquire about a pet bond

Under the RTA, a pet bond of $260 may be taken if approval is given for a dog or cat. This money can only be used for fumigation where required. Any repairs to damage caused by the animal that is not rectified by the tenants at the end of the lease will be deducted from the main bond.

An owner or property manager cannot request bond money for additional animals, nor can they ask for more than $260 regardless of pet numbers.

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