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Bringing rentals and pets into modern living

The Auckland Property Investors Association (APIA) is supporting the Government’s move to introduce pet bonds.

By: Sally Lindsay

18 April 2024

Landlords will be able to charge an extra two weeks rent as a pet bond as long as the tenant takes responsibility for any damage cause by the pet.

APIA says the move to streamline the process for tenants to keep pets in rental properties marks a significant step towards modernising the residential tenancy landscape.

The proposed changes will clarify previous confusion surrounding the enforceability of ‘no pets’ clauses in tenancy agreements. Under the new framework, tenants will be required to seek permission from their landlords to keep pets, with landlords only able to refuse consent on reasonable grounds.

APIA general manager Sarina Gibbon emphasised the importance of balancing tenants’ rights and landlords’ interests. “It’s about time the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) reflects the realities of modern living, where pets are considered part of the family. “This law needs to facilitate, not stifle, the relationships between tenants and landlords.”

Gibbon highlighted the potential benefits of the proposed changes, noting that tenants with pets often demonstrate greater commitment to their rental properties, leading to longer tenancies and better property maintenance.

“For too long, landlords have hesitated to accept pet-owning tenants due to concerns about property damage. This law change has the potential to alleviate those fears and foster mutually beneficial relationships between landlords and tenants,” she says.

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APIA says there is a need for laws that support both landlords and tenants, fostering a climate of cooperation rather than conflict.

“We need more win-win solutions like this in our policy landscape,” Gibbon says. “The proposed changes represent a positive step towards ensuring that both landlords and tenants can enjoy the benefits of responsible pet ownership while safeguarding property interests.

Pets escaping violence

Pet Refuge is also in favour of the change, hoping it will lead to more families finding safe homes for themselves and their pets after fleeing family violence.

Pet Refuge provides temporary shelter for the pets of people escaping abuse, and pets often end up staying with it for longer term care as people struggle to find secure and suitable accommodation.

“We always hope to be able to reunite owners with their pets as soon as possible, but we’ve had some animals in our care for months at a time while their pet parent searches high and low for somewhere that will take them both” says Julie Chapman, Pet Refuge chief executive and founder.

“While Pet Refuge always want to reunite pets with their owners, finding rental accommodation that will allow them is so hard, that there have been times where we’ve had to find the pet a new home because it has been impossible for their family to find a place they can all live in safety together.

Since opening its doors in 2021, Pet Refuge has cared for more 450 pets whose owners have escaped family violence.


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