26 May 2023

RSPCA WA has welcomed today’s State Government announcement about rent reforms, including a change that will make it easier for tenants to keep pets.

The animal welfare organisation said WA’s current rental squeeze had brought the need for changes to rental laws into sharp relief.

RSPCA WA CEO Ben Cave said the organisation had received 647 inquiries about pet surrenders already this year, around 30 a week.

‘Not being able to secure pet-friendly housing is among the top-three reasons why people say they can no longer keep their pets,’ Mr Cave said.RSPCA WA CEO Ben Cave

‘It’s truly heartbreaking, not just for owners and their animals, but for the staff here too who manage these traumatic separations.

‘RSPCA WA has long advocated for the kind of reforms announced today. We congratulate the State Government on this decision and are grateful to have been invited to be a part of the consultation process.’

In a media release issued today, the State Government said changes to the Residential Tenancies Act would mean tenants will not have to choose between a rental property or their pets.

Landlords will be able to refuse consent for the tenant to keep a pet, but only with permission from the Commissioner for Consumer Protection and only when it is reasonable to do so.

‘This is a much more common-sense approach already in place in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT that recognises the importance of human-animal relationships and the physical and mental health benefits they bring,’ Mr Cave said.

The change will help animals like four-year-old American Bulldog Pugsley whose previous family had to choose between the dog they’d loved since he was a puppy, and a roof over their heads.

‘Any pet owner can empathise with what a terrible position that would be to find yourself in,’ Mr Cave said.

‘I have young children and it’s impossible for me to imagine how I would tell them that our dog couldn’t come with us to our new home.

‘It’s really hard on the pets too. While we make our shelter as inviting and loving as possible, it’s not a home and the people they love aren’t here.’