VICTORIAN TENANTS MUST NOW REQUEST THEIR LANDLORD’S CONSENT TO BRING A NEW PET INTO THE PROPERTY
From 2 March 2020, Victorian renters will be able to keep a pet in their rental property provided they have obtained written consent from their rental provider.
The new laws will make it easier for both renters and rental providers to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to allowing and keeping pets in a rental property. Tenants must now request their landlord’s consent to bring a new pet into the property. Landlords must not unreasonably refuse. It does not matter when their lease started.
A renter requesting approval for a pet will need to complete the consent form (Word, 583KB).
If a rental provider believes that it is reasonable to refuse consent to a pet living in the property, they will have to seek an order from VCAT to refuse the pet.
VCAT can take various things into account when determining whether it is appropriate for a pet to be kept in a rental property. These include situations where:
- the property is not suitable for the type of pet the renter wishes to keep
- local council rules prohibit the keeping of certain animals
- the suitability of the pet, such as whether the pet may pose a threat to neighbours or other residents.
The new laws on pets are one of more than 130 rental reforms that will be introduced by 1 July this year.
For more information on the rental reforms package, visit the Fairer Safer Housing page on the Engage Victoria website.
Do the new laws apply to pre-existing pets?
The new laws do not apply to rental properties that already have pets. If a renter has a pet before 2 March 2020 in the rental property, there is no need to seek the written consent of the rental provider again.
However, if the renter wants to bring a new pet into the property, they must request the rental provider’s consent in writing. They must use the Consumer Affairs Victoria pet request form. Renters can do this by email if both parties have agreed to communicating in this way.
Before seeking consent, renters should check that the pet they intend to keep complies with existing council laws or other laws. These laws still apply regardless of whether the rental provider consents to the pet.
A rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse consent to a renter wishing to keep 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 should be excluded from the property (meaning the renter cannot keep the pet on the premises), or
- the renter can keep the pet.
If the rental provider does not apply to VCAT within 14 days of receiving the written request, they are taken to have consented to the request.
What reasonable grounds will VCAT consider?
Before arriving at a decision, VCAT may consider 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
- whether refusing consent to keep the pet on the property is allowed under any Act.
If a pet damages the rental property, the renter must repair any pet-related damage that goes beyond ‘fair wear and tear’.
Understanding the new laws
To prepare for these changes, we have provided a pets fact sheet that will help renters, rental providers, property managers, industry and support workers to:
• understand the new laws and their rights and obligations under the new laws, and
• understand how the new laws apply, based on different scenarios.
More information, including the pet request form, is available on our Pets and renting page.
Stay up to date with renting law changes
Source from Consumer Affairs.