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Keeping investors up to date on the latest pet law changes in Victoria

In Victoria, there are new regulations regarding the laws surrounding renters and their rights to keep pets. Recent legislation which is now in place is a must for investors to understand.

Firstly, know that as a property investor, potential renters of your property must still request approval from you to keep a pet in your property.

What has changed?

According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, “the new renting laws mean renters can keep pets at a rental property, with the written permission of the rental provider (landlord). Rental providers can only refuse permission with approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).” 

Renters have always needed to request permission from their landlord to keep pets in their properties. Now, under these changes, the procedure for this has altered.

Renters will now have to submit a form to Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Another fact to keep in mind is that you cannot ask prospective renters to pay a pet bond. 

What if my renters already have a pet?

The new pet laws don’t apply to renters and their furry friends that have already been accepted into a rental property prior to the new laws starting.

Do I have to accept the pet request?

As an investment property owner, you can’t unreasonably refuse consent to a renter keeping a pet. If you do want to refuse, you have 14 days to apply for a VCAT order. VCAT may order that, either:

·       Find an investor’s refusal is reasonable and/or the pet is excluded from the property, or

·       The renter can keep the pet on the rental property.

If the investor does not apply to VCAT within 14 days of receiving the written request, consent is taken to have been granted for the renter to keep a pet on the property.

What reasonable grounds will VCAT consider?

Before arriving at a decision, VCAT may consider at least the following factors:

·       The type of pet the renter wants to keep, or is keeping, on the property.

·       The character and nature of the property itself, including appliances, fixtures and fittings on the property.

·       Whether refusing consent to keep the pet on the property is allowed under any Act.

What if my tenant brings in a pet without my consent?

If an investor believes that the renter is keeping a pet without their consent, they may apply to VCAT for an order to exclude the pet from the property. This only applies if the pet was brought into the property after the new laws commenced.

What happens if my tenant’s pet damages my property?

A renter must repair or pay for any pet-related damage to the property that goes beyond fair wear and tear. VCAT can adjudicate disputes about repairs.

As an investor, you do have the right to refuse a pet in your property, providing there is a reasonable justification.

Any damages caused by the renter’s pet, just like any damage caused by the tenant, will be their responsibility. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us

Disclaimer: The information in this publication and the links to further information within it are provided for general information only and should not be taken as constituting professional advice from Little Real Estate. You should not rely on the accuracy of this information and should seek independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how any of this information relates to your unique circumstances. Little Real Estate is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, or from our website.