Calls to end 'pet rent' as tenants charged for animals

Updated / Monday, 18 Oct 2021 21:11

Pet owners reported instances of being charged additional rent for their pets

The Labour Party has called for an end to the practice of landlords charging 'pet rent', after tenants complained about being hit with additional charges in order to move their animals into a property.

It comes as one developer in Ireland has said charging rents for pets is "the norm in modern developments".

The party's housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan also said the "blanket ban on pets by many landlords and even approved housing bodies is simply unfair".

"This affects everyone, from older people moving into senior citizens accommodation who are asked to give up their beloved furry friends, to families renting who are excluded from ever owning a family pet.

"Pets play a huge role in many people’s lives. They provide companionship and emotional support, enhancing overall well-being. With a greater percentage of people renting now than ever before, we have to explore ways that allow responsible owners have their pets and companions in their rented homes," said Senator Moynihan.

"Charging 'pet rent’ is yet another example of the power imbalance in the rental market between renters and landlords. Renters are expected to put up with extortionate rents, evictions at the drop of the hat and many can’t make the place feel like a home."

Ms Moynihan called for Government support for her party's renters’ rights bill.

"Current policies do not go far enough to help renters. It should be no surprise to anyone that at the start of the pandemic, many renters fled Dublin at the first opportunity because they simply do not feel at home in their accommodation," she added.

Read more: On a tight leash - landlords charging 'pet rent'

Housing charity Threshold said there is "no reason" why tenants should be denied the companionship of pets.

Pets are good for mental health, relieve loneliness and have a place at the heart of families. There is no reason why tenants should be denied this companionship or charged excessive amounts to keep pets.

— Threshold (@ThresholdIRE) October 18, 2021

Hidden costs for pets and cars

Pet owners reported instances of being charged additional rent for their pets on RTÉ's Liveline this afternoon.

Roy Ferris said he went to view a two-bed apartment at Griffith Wood in Dublin on Saturday and was told he had to pay pet rent for his two cats, Iris and Issac.

He claimed that the cost is €75 per pet per month and the apartment price at the development in Dublin is now out of range.

However Greystar, the developer and operator of apartment properties, has said they charge a €75 monthly fee for one or more pets, which is in place to cover soiling and additional wear and tear caused by the pets.

A spokesperson said there is no fee for pets which remain contained, such as gerbils, hamster and birds.

The company said while many developments do not allow or limit pets to certain sections, Greystar is pet friendly and allows residents to keep them.

Greystar said pet rents "are the norm in modern developments".

Roy's cats, Iris and Issac

Mr Ferris said that he and his partner Sandra are thinking of moving home and were interested in moving to this development, which has rental-only units.

He said they were told the cost of renting the two bed apartment is €2,250. However, he said the true cost is much more than that.

He said there is an added €50 cost for each car parking space, and he and his partner have two cars.

Mr Ferris said the apartments are lovely, but he is "miffed" that his time has been wasted because if he had known this, he would not have bothered going to see the property.

He said he has been living in rented accommodation for "some years" and has never heard of such a thing, adding that he will just look elsewhere for accommodation.

Another caller to the programme, Mary, said paying rents for pets is an ongoing problem. She said she has a dog, but her landlord does not know.