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Providing tenants with a fair procedure on the request of keeping a pet

It is always important as a renter to ensure that you have asked permission to keep pets in your property. In Victoria, there are new regulations regarding the keeping of pets in rental properties which are now in place.

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).” 
  • Tenants have always needed to request permission from their landlord to keep pets in their properties, however now the new laws are in place so that landlords cannot unreasonably refuse pets, unless there is a practical reason. 
  • Renters will now have to submit the Consumer Affairs Victoria form.
  • You cannot be asked to pay a pet bond. 

What if I already have a pet?

The new pet laws don’t apply to pets that have already been accepted and present in the rental property before the new laws commenced.

Is there a chance the pet request wont be accepted?

A rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse consent to a renter keeping a pet. If a rental provider wants to refuse, they have 14 days to apply for a VCAT order. VCAT may order that, either:

  • The rental provider'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 rental provider 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.

"Before seeking consent, renters should check that the pet they intend to keep complies with council laws and other laws about pet ownership. These laws apply regardless of whether the rental provider has given consent for a pet. For more information, visit the Pets section – Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions website.”

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 I bring in a pet without the property manager’s consent?

If the rental provider 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 pet damages the rental property?

The renter must repair any pet-related damage to the property that goes beyond ‘fair wear and tear’. VCAT can adjudicate disputes about repairs.

It is always important to keep your property manager and landlord informed of any big decisions regarding your property. To ensure there are no issues, stay informed of your rights regarding pets, and fill out the pet request form.

 

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