RAI Case Study | Pets

Klaudia | Private Rental | Pet Owner 

Shelter WA has sought case studies to coincide with the release of the Rental Affordability Index (RAI). For 29-year-old Klaudia, living in a house without her pet dog is not an option. This is where her awful rental experience begins. 

People love their pets. Research shows that owning a pet can make us physically and mentally healthier. Unfortunately, each year hundreds of pets are surrendered to animal shelters by people who need to rent but cannot find a property that will let their pet live with them. This is what Klaudia faced.

“I have always wanted to have a puppy,” Klaudia said. “We had just moved into a new private rental, which was a flat, and we let the landlord know we were buying a puppy.”

Klaudia was told this would be fine and that owning a pet was allowed and specified within the rental contract.

Klaudia

“We found a puppy, a tiny dachshund, and we had it for a week, but then I got a phone call from the strata company that was managing the whole complex and they said that dogs aren’t allowed, and that our landlord had provided us with the wrong information.

Klaudia and her partner were horrified, and things got worse when told they had only two options.

“Either we could get rid of the dog, or move out within a week,” exclaimed Klaudia. “I could not part with the dog, we had to look for a new place, we had to break the lease, it was a very costly process. We had to pay the rent until they found a new tenant, we had to pay re-advertisement fees, we had to pay a cleaning fee, on top of trying to find a new place to live.”

The couple could not even house the dog with them while looking for a new place, the dachshund needed to be left with a house sitter adding to the mounting costs.

“So many places in Perth were not pet friendly,” said Klaudia. “Application after application denied as they just don’t want pets, any pet. A dachshund is tiny, they don’t grow into massive dogs, but it made no difference.”

Eventually after a stressful process, a place was discovered on the last day before they needed to move out.

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“The new place has a big garden and lots of other pets,” Klaudia said. “In the end it was a good outcome but to go through all of what we went through, and at that time I had just started a new job, it was so stressful.”

The couple are seeking legal advice regarding this situation.

If you are a landlord, you can make a difference. You might not have thought much about the consequences of ticking the ‘no pets’ box whenever your property comes up for rent. But there are consequences. This was Klaudia’s story.

The upcoming review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 will be an important opportunity for these sorts of tenant issues to be addressed. We need rental reform so people who rent can have a safe and secure home.

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