Unprecedented rental crisis has seen a devastating knock-on effect for family pets as owners are forced to do whatever they can to secure a place to live.
Unprecedented rental crisis has seen a devastating knock-on effect for family pets as owners are forced to do whatever they can to secure a place to live.

Pets pay ‘heart-wrenching’ price in rental crisis fallout

Queensland's unprecedented rental crisis has seen a spike in families surrendering their beloved family pets.

Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge said people were requesting to surrender their pets because they were unable to secure pet-friendly housing in a regional rental market with 0.3 per cent availability.

"In the first five weeks of this year we were taking in more animals (because of the rental crisis) than in the three months at the end of last year," centre manager Penny Brischke said.

"It's heart-wrenching.

"The animals that get sent to the pound that's quite different, people don't want them … but when it comes to families and people that love their pets but just can't find accommodation and are then having to give up their pet that has been in their family for four or six years, they are the ones that are just heartbreaking."

Among those surrendering animals are single people forced into homelessness now living in their car and families having to downsize into smaller homes and apartments that do not allow pets.

 

Five-year-old Terrier Cross Jessie, who is up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge. Photo Lachie Millard
Five-year-old Terrier Cross Jessie, who is up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge. Photo Lachie Millard

 

"They are not problem animals, they are animals that have been well trained, that have been members of the family," Ms Brischke said.

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said there was an "unprecedented level of diminishing rental availability" across the state.

Ms Brischke said surrendering pets due to a lack of pet-friendly rentals has always been a problem, but it has magnified this year.

Animal Welfare League of Queensland Strategic Director Dr Joy Verrinder said the tragic situation reinforced the need for legislation which allows tenants to keep pets, similar to the laws in Victoria and the ACT. 

 

Three-year-olds Kaos and Leia, who have always been together are now up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge, which is seeing a dramatic increase in pets being surrendered due to the housing rental crisis on the Sunshine Coast. Photo Lachie Millard
Three-year-olds Kaos and Leia, who have always been together are now up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge, which is seeing a dramatic increase in pets being surrendered due to the housing rental crisis on the Sunshine Coast. Photo Lachie Millard

 

"A tenant would still be required to seek consent from a property owner. The property owner can only refuse with approval from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal based on a set of prescribed reasons," Dr Verrinder said. 

Maleny grandmother Anne Brown adopted 4-year-old Shadow in February after her original owners, a family, couldn't secure a pet-friendly rental on the Sunshine Coast.

"I feel for the family that had to give her up," she said.

"It's obvious she has had a really happy life, she's not a problem dog at all, she is well behaved, she has a beautiful nature."

 

A kitten up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge. Photo Lachie Millard
A kitten up for adoption at Sunshine Cost Animal Refuge. Photo Lachie Millard

 

 

RENTAL VACANCIES

Sunshine Coast 0.3%

Gold Coast 0.7%

Rockhampton 0.2%

Fraser Coast 0.6%

Brisbane City's middle ring 1.6%

Brisbane CBD 3.3%

 

KEY

0-2.5% = tight

2.5-3.5% = healthy

3.5% and above = weak

(source: REIQ)

 

Originally published as Pets pay 'heart-wrenching' price in rental crisis fallout



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