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Rental crisis in Tasmania results in agents pitching “pet bonds” as temporary solution

Rental crisis in Tasmania results in agents pitching “pet bonds” as temporary solution

As the rental market in Hobart is incredibly tight, landlords don’t need a reason to exclude pet-owners from their rentals.

However, it’s something that the state’s peak real estate body is looking to tackle.

One of the ideas being suggested is a pet bond.

What’s the landlord’s main concern about letting pets into their rentals?

"Wholly and solely the damage to the property," Mark Berry from the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania (REIT) says to ABC Life.

And, he said, it wasn't always easy to predict which animals could pose the biggest threat.

"If we are talking about a budgie, the potential damage is next to nil," he said.

"With a goldfish, you have opened yourself up to somebody with, say, a 1,000-litre fish tank in the lounge room.

"If that were to crack, all of a sudden the landlord has 1,000L flowing through the lounge room."

According to the tenants Union of Tasmania, a tenant with a pet isn’t always a liability.

"There is no evidence to suggest tenants with pets are worse tenants," TUT solicitor Ben Barlt said.

"The evidence shows that tenants with pets are more likely to stay in their existing property for longer, so there's actually financial incentive for more landlords to accept tenants with pets."

Mr Berry said real estate agents agreed.

"I think actually tenants with pets have the potential to be better tenants, because they are already showing a responsibility," he said.

A pet bond is looking to be the answer.

A pet bond is an amount you pay above your normal rental bond to keep a pet. At the time of writing, Western Australia is the only state where a landlord can legally ask for a pet bond.

Mr Bartl said some prospective renters in Hobart were so desperate that they were offering pet bonds voluntarily.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures," he said.

"If it is a choice between a pet bond or no pets, then the Tenants Union would support a pet bond as it may alleviate the situation for some tenants caught between putting a roof over their head and keeping their pet."