Sunday Star Times
Pet owners struggling to find animal-friendly homes in a tight rental market are using novel techniques to impress potential landlords.
Property managers say offering an extra week's rent as a "pet bond", providing references from vets and taking the dog along to meet the landlord are common.
Aucklander Nick Cooper recently launched the Pet Property website to help animal owners find suitable rentals. He estimates only 10% of advertised properties allow animals and says many landlords don't consider allowing animals despite tenants often being willing to pay extra. He also knows first-hand the frustration of looking for a house.
"Some of the properties that say they are pet friendly aren't even fit for people."
About six dogs a week are left at the Auckland SPCA because their owners can't find pet-friendly housing and in Wellington, 117 animals have been surrendered to the SPCA since February by owners moving to "no pets allowed" properties.
SPCA spokeswoman Lisa Snow says people need to think about the consequences of having a pet before getting one and make provisions to keep them if they move.
"They're part of your family you wouldn't leave the kids behind."
Aucklander Amanda Carston has been searching for two months for a rental place where she can take her burmese cat Prada. "It's crazy."
But Harcourts group national property manager co-ordinator Carol Benny said although she knows responsible owners are struggling to find suitable places, she also knows of cases where pets have damaged properties, including a dog that scratched through a laundry door and a room ruined by mould caused by a tropical fish tank.
Ray White Glenfield tenancy manager Shannon Corbett recommends people taking the pet, especially dogs, to meet the landlord. Cooper suggests emphasising that pet owners tend to be longer-term tenants and dogs can be good security.
Landlords may also respond to offers to get the house professionally cleaned, to pay for any damage caused by a pet, or to pay the maximum four-week bond rather than two or three.
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