I have just spent a rather fraught few weeks trying to find a house to rent.

With the Chronicle having carried a number of reports on the scarcity of rentals — particularly good ones — and the stresses of finding somewhere to live, I have now seen the story from the other side; from the sharp end of the tenant's travails.

It's tough out there.

My situation was made more difficult by having a dog in tow — we come as a package.

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Not too many landlords — and even fewer letting agents — want pets in the property.
One can understand why — the objection is reasonable and fair, and it is the owner's right to set the rules.

But I would encourage them to have a rethink.

Pets are dear companions to so many people — a vital part of their life, in fact — and it seems harsh that this should exempt them from a decent rental home.

Many of those pet owners are elderly; many of them are now widows or widowers, making their companion that much more important.

Word recently reached the Chronicle of a 65-year-old woman whose sole emotional support was her cat. She had two weeks to find a new home and the anxiety was making her ill. Her dilemma would not be unique in Whanganui.

It was recently reported that the state of Victoria in Australia was planning sweeping reforms to tenancy rules, allowing every tenant to have the right to have a pet in their rental property. Not often that the Aussies are so enlightened.

I would not advocate law changes here — just a change of heart by the keepers of the keys.

It is not hard to suss out a good tenant, or a good pet owner, or a well-cared-for and well-behaved pet. They are likely to look after your property far better than you might expect.