The Residential Tenancy Act 1997 is currently going through significant changes with some of these changes already coming into effect. One of those changes which came into effect on Monday 2nd of March 2020 relates to having a pet at a rental property and the requirements for both the Renter and Rental providers (Landlords).
If a renter would like to keep a pet at a rental property then they will need to seek written consent from the rental provider before bringing the pet to the property. The request must be in writing using the approved Pet Request Form from Consumer Affairs.
The rental provider can not unreasonably refuse consent for a pet. If a rental provider refuses consent for a pet at their property then they will have to make an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order to exclude the pet from the property. The rental provider has 14 days to make this application after receiving the renters request. Should they not make the application to VCAT within the 14 days then consent is taken to have been granted for the renter to keep the pet at the property.
Before making 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 on the property
- whether refusing consent to keep the pet on the property is allowed under any Act.
The new pet laws do not apply to pets that were already present in a rental property before the new laws commenced. Should the pet cause any damage at the property that goes above ‘fair wear and tear’ then the renter will still be responsible to make repairs.
Pet ownership comes with many responsibilities and is a commitment for the life of the pet. Before deciding on having a pet join your family careful consideration needs to be made as to the suitability of the property for a happy and healthy life of the pet.