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The isolation of COVID-19 caused many shifts in Australians’ lifestyles, not least among them the accrual of a furry companion. But with a third of the population renting, has this had an impact on the listings landscape?
According to William Clark, a data analyst with Ray White, the situation is decidedly mixed across the country, but largely this has to do with differing legislation in each state with regard to how and when a landlord can refuse a pet on their property.
“Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and ACT do not grant landlords automatic right to refuse pets, and rejecting a pet application requires a department-approved reason to do so. This explains their lower numbers for pet-friendly listings, as it is the default state of a rental listing to grant this permission upon application,” he explained.
NSW, South Australia and Western Australia, meanwhile, give landlords much more power to refuse pets. In the Northern Territory, landlords can choose whether pets are able to reside with their tenants, but they have only a 14-day window to reply to a tenant’s intent to house a pet if they want to reject the request.
Among these states, NSW leads the way in listings for pet-friendly rentals. Sydney was the capital city with the highest number of listings accommodating pets, though it also has the largest market out of the areas in which “pet-friendly” is a significant search term.
All of the capitals, except for Brisbane, recorded an uptick in pet-friendly ads between 2021 and 2022, though in the Sunshine State, the decrease is likely attributed to the industry adjusting to the default of pets being accepted.
For tenants looking for a pet-friendly listing in the states with stricter rules, Mr Clark noted that it might be worth targeting specific suburbs that are more likely to accommodate an animal companion.
“Suburbs with high concentrations of apartments like Macquarie Park and Belconnen stand out, as landlords with more than one unit in a block may employ one agent for all apartments and use the same listing for the units in that apartment. Northcote is a clear outlier, and is an example of a leader in frequent granting of early permission to tenants,” he said.
He also commented that suburb demographics might help guide renters to areas where landlords’ are open to pets, or where attitudes are changing.
“One pattern that leaps out about these [pet-friendly] suburbs is the median age. Suburbs like Kingswood, Macquarie Park and Werribee all have a median resident age in the early 30s, and this could provoke agents to advertise a pet-friendly rental,” Mr Clark said.
He suggests that tenants might even try contacting property managers who appear to deal with a large number of pet-friendly rentals, as they are likely more accustomed to helping landlords understand the considerations involved with allowing animals on their property.
“Reaching out to agents for referrals to pet-friendly rentals is a great idea. They are more likely to have properties in their network with pet-friendly landlords than a tenant would otherwise find simply trying to search through individual listings,” Mr Clark said.
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Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.
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