Pets rule – new tenancy changes in place

As part of the sweeping changes to residential tenancies law, the laws around keeping pets in rental properties have now changed.

 What you need to know about the law changes on pets:

  • The changes came into effect on Monday 2 March 2020.
  • Tenants can keep a pet with the written permission of their landlord.
  • A pet includes any animal (other than an assistance dog, for which there is no need to seek permission).
  • If a tenant requests to keep a pet using the approved form (the form provided by Consumer Affairs and available on their website), consent cannot unreasonably be refused.
  • If a landlord wants to refuse a request after receiving the form, they have 14 days to apply for a VCAT order.
  • If such an application is made, VCAT will determine if refusal is reasonable (in which case the tenant will not be allowed to keep a pet at the property) or that the tenant can keep the pet.
  • In considering applications, VCAT will consider (amongst other factors) the type of pet, the character of the property and whether refusal is allowed under any Act.
  • If the landlord doesn’t apply to VCAT within 14 days of receiving the written request, consent is taken to have been granted.
  • If a pet damages the property, the tenant must repair any pet-related damage that goes beyond fair wear and tear.
  • These changes do not apply to rooming houses.