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Push to make Byron Bay pet-friendly for renters

A push is underway in Byron Bay to make the city the first in Australia to adopt a policy that sees pets welcome in rental properties. 

The campaign is being led by local animal activist Karen Justice, Real Estate Australia reports. 

Ms Justice, who is the managing director of independent pet retail group Just For Pets, says there are not enough rental property landlords that accept tenants with pets - and this is causing problems for many people. 

Statistics from the RSPCA from July show that the number of rentals allowing pets is a very small proportion of the overall available. 

For instance, the figure is only two per cent of all rentals in Sydney and one per cent in Melbourne. The most relaxed city in this respect appears to be Hobart, which boasts the highest proportion at 12 per cent - still a very small figure. 

Brisbane is in second place with eight per cent, followed by Darwin, Perth and Adelaide, with pets allowed in five per cent for the former city and four per cent each for the latter two locations. 

Ms Justice raised concerns that many people are in a position where they are forced to give up their pets to secure a place to live. She is attempting to work with real estate agents and the local council in Byron Bay in the hope of raising awareness of the issue and work towards a more tolerant approach. 

"It's such a small number of [rental] houses that allow you to have pets," she remarked.

"Even if you have been a responsible tenant for years, landlords deem having a pet detrimental to a rental property."

"Right now, the Australian average is about four per cent of available rental properties will take pets. If I can get Byron Bay to 20 per cent of properties that will take on pets, it would be an amazing start."

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