Just over two-thirds of Australian households own a pet.
Of these 38% are dog owners and 29% are cat owners. In addition to this, just over half of the people who don’t currently own a pet admit that they would like one.
Australia has the highest rate of pet ownership in the world. Only America, where 65% of homes have a pet, comes close.
In total, it is estimated that there are 24 millions pets in Australia. This includes dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, insects, cows, sheep, goats and even horses. I don’t know how they count the fish and insects, but there is a regular pet count so someone is doing the hard yards.
And if these statistics don’t prove how important pet ownership is in Australia, then perhaps this will: more of us live in a house with a cat or a dog than with a child.
By excluding pets, landlords are missing out on a significant rental premium; longer tenancies and often less hassle.
We have found that tenants will pay between 10% and 20% more to have a pet. The higher premium is when the property is well catered for pets – like having a secure fenced yard.
Most tenants with pets also want to say longer in their current rental abode, with the average tenure being 24 months and not the more typical 6 month lease.
This is because there are not a lot of rental properties available to lease that allow pets.
For example a quick search on realestate.com.au has found that just 22% of the rental properties available for lease, in Brisbane, allow pets. This proportion is 25% on the Gold Coast and 31% on the Sunshine Coast.
In regional towns, rental properties allowing pet ownership appears higher with 38% of Mackay’s properties for lease, for example, allowing pets.
Allowing pets is higher, as one might expect, for detached homes (33% in Brisbane) and is lower for townhouses and apartments (both 17% and again for Brisbane).
Our work has also found that many tenants with pets are prepared to pay a pet bond. My suggestion is that the interest earn’t here goes to the RSPCA.
But in actuality the vast majority of tenants with a pet aren’t different to those that don’t have an animal. If fact my experience, true it is a small sample, has been that tenants with pets were better occupants than those without a pet.
Now I live on acreage, have pets of many types and so maybe I am biased.