Companion Animal Network Australia (Australia CAN) has called on the Albanese Government to introduce a law to make it easier for tenants to own a pet.

Australia CAN, which represents the companion animal welfare work of six member agencies that provide shelter, rescue, re-homing, fostering, health care and enrichment services to more than 50,000 animals every year across Australia, wants a national law similar to what Victoria introduced last year, in which landlords cannot refuse a tenant’s request for a pet without approval from a tribunal.

Trish Ennis, CEO of Australia CAN, said it’s already harder to rent due to the rental and housing crisis and even harder to rent with pets, causing people to have to choose between their much-loved companion animals and a home.

“We need a national, strategic approach in imposing regulations preventing landlords from discriminating against people with pets and contributing to thousands of animals being surrendered to shelters.

“Our members are reporting far too many pet surrenders solely based on rental and housing issues across all age groups. They are also finding that people are reluctant to argue against their landlord or strata’s ‘no pets’ policy because they are unwilling to risk losing their home or are unaware of their rights.”

According to member Animal Welfare League QLD, people needing to surrender their pet due to accommodation reasons has increased from 19 per cent to 27 per cent during the past two years.

Ennis said that the introduction of such a law would save money, protect lives, and avoid a lot of stress.

“We know this causes mental health issues for people, as well as disruption and separation anxiety for their pets. The increase in surrenders is also putting huge pressure on shelters and rescue groups across the country as many struggle with space and resources to care for these animals.”

There is a misconception around the difficulty of pet owning tenants, for example pet owning tenants are generally willing to pay more rent, pet friendly properties rent faster and reduce your advertising spend, and responsible pet owners can make excellent tenants and want to hold longer leases.

“Many landlords and rental agents have a ‘no pets’ rental tenancy policy because they may think it’s easier to manage a property without pets or the pets might cause damage. We know that a well-managed pet-friendly rental can deliver great economic outcomes for those willing to introduce a ‘pets considered’ policy.”

Australia CAN has a Rent with Pets program which provides information, advice and resources to support tenants and landlords to be responsible pet owner tenants and welcoming landlords and encourage pet friendly rental laws.

To stay up to date on the latest industry headlines, sign up to the Pet Industry News e-newsletter.