Single mum forced to rehome pets to secure rental strata

Last year I went through a breakup, sold our house and moved into a rental apartment with my daughter, Francesca. We also had four pets including three birds – Eagle the canary, Stewie the budgie and Polo the cockatiel - and our dog, Benji.
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We searched for weeks for an affordable rental that accepted all our pets but were rejected one after the other because we had too many. It was heartbreaking having to choose which pet to rehome in order to secure an affordable rental. We could only take Benji and one bird.

Our pets are everything; they’re family, more than just pets. They bring peace, joy and harmony into our home. They have been our biggest companions through good and bad times. Our little white Maltese cross, Benji, can pick up when we’re stressed or when something’s not right. They depend on us for care, but we depend on them to bring our lives something more than work and daily grind.

Stressful pet friendly rental search

Looking for a pet friendly rental was quite stressful and frustrating. It was really an awful experience! When we asked if pets were allowed, we were always met with the answer, “Would have to ask the owner if they’ll permit pets”, “What type of pets do you have?”, “Will depend on what strata say if the owner is OK with it” or “It doesn’t solely depend on the owner”. The worst one was, “I’m not sure if the owner is OK with pets, but we can ask upon application.”

Every single application form asked for all our personal details, financial, job and past rental details and we had to fill in a separate application for our pets. Francesca even created a pet CV for Benji with a photo and all.


We had to rehome two of our beloved birds, Polo and Eagle, because when we applied for a rental strata, we were rejected on the basis of “too many pets for the apartment, birds may cause too much noise”.

So, I reduced to Benji and our budgie Stewie and re-submitted. Mind you, I took into consideration the large space and size of the apartment thinking not only of my daughter and myself, but also of my pets. The apartment was big enough!

A week after we re-submitted the application based on only Benji and Stewie, we were told by the agent that the “committee” were first 3 against and 2 in favour, and then a few days later that it was 50/50.

Francesca and I continued to attend other home inspections and finally found a place advertised as pet friendly. At the complex, there were five to six dogs of different sizes in the garden area, all playing together and well-behaved. There was even a dog in one of the units that was open for inspection!

When we asked the agents about pets, they said yes pets are welcome and to simply place them on the application form. We submitted our application and were advised the next working day that we were accepted.

During this time, I was still waiting on a reply from the other strata application. I advised the agent that we were withdrawing our application as we had found a pet friendly one and expressed my disappointment on the lengthy wait for an answer, called strata out as being disrespectful to not only us but the owner and themselves as an agency.

That same day we saw that unit had been given to someone else. We are pretty sure the strata/owner were waiting on me to withdraw the application since they couldn’t refuse me as a tenant on the basis of having pets.

Real estate agents need to do better

The process of renting with pets needs to be a bit more streamlined and clearer. Agents should have the knowledge beforehand if the owners are willing to accept pets or not and should be preparing for all possible questions that might be thrown at them and not just assume that all tenants are the same.

Owners would be able to make a quick decision on the applicants and not lose potential rental money. And applicants wouldn’t have to waste so much time filling in forms, collecting all the requested documents and chasing employment and personal references.

Tenants shouldn’t have to go through the whole application process before finding out if they’ll “possibly” be accepted with their pets.

Francesca and I were told by some agents it’s ‘up to the owner’ and then by others ‘it’s actually up to strata’ or ‘it’s up to strata but in the end it’s really up to the owner.’

Which one is it?

Patricia, NSW
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