overcoming pet permissibility issues
Before you explore the idea of getting a new pet or moving with an existing pet, it’s vital to work out whether you’re permitted to keep a pet where you live or are planning to live. It’s a sad fact that many medium and high-density dwellings simply don’t permit pets. In most states of Australia, strata developments determine their own by-laws, and often the by-laws relating to the keeping of animals state that dogs and cats are not permitted. Similarly, tenants in rental accommodation are often banned from keeping dogs and cats.
We wanted to find out to what extent pet ownership is impacted by rental and strata conditions, so we asked our survey respondents what type of premises they lived in and whether they were actually permitted to keep pets.
We asked non-pet owners (people who didn’t own a dog or a cat but would like to) the reason why they didn’t own a pet: 67% of them said that the key reason was due to housing limitations. This included not being allowed to own a pet, not having enough space or because they were renting from a landlord who prohibited pets.
We then asked both pet and non-pet owners whether they were actually allowed to keep pets where they lived. Just 47% responded that they were permitted to keep a dog, while 58% said that they were allowed to keep cats.
For people living in rental accommodation, the situation was much worse: 24% were allowed to keep any type of dog, 13% were allowed to keep certain types of dog, 12% were unsure whether they were allowed to keep a dog and a whopping 51% were not permitted to keep a dog at all.
Not surprisingly, our research revealed that dogs were more likely to be permitted in medium-density housing (semi-detached, row or terrace houses) as opposed to higher density housing (fl ats, units and apartments). When we dug deeper and asked whether it was the landlord or the body corporate that was responsible for banning dogs, 39% said they were not permitted by their body corporate and 28% were not permitted by their landlord.
20% of pet owners told us they had to negotiate with their landlord or body corporate to gain permission to keep a pet, and 11% (mainly cat owners) indicated that the landlord or body corporate were unaware they had a pet.
For many people, therefore, pet ownership is not a choice they are permitted. They may want pets but are unable to own them because of restrictions imposed by landlords and body corporates.
It’s hard to understand why pets are so often banned from strata and rental premises. It seems strange that a country that boasts such high levels of pet ownership appears to be so restrictive about owning pets in certain types of housing.
Perhaps it’s become an automatic response in Australia to say no to pets, or perhaps there’s a notion that a pet-friendly development could become dangerously overrun with dogs and cats that create nuisance. Maybe it’s the idea that tenants with pets will be more problematic and properties will be more likely to suffer damage.
The hard facts, however, reveal that this doesn’t have to be the case. Pet-friendly developments tend to report minimal pet-related problems, and pet owners are shown to make excellent, responsible and reliable long-term tenants