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Here’s how pet-friendly rental laws are in each state

·4-min read
Dog watching man on computer
Many states and territories are making it easier for renters to keep pets. (Source: Getty)

Pet ownership exploded during the pandemic, with a third of Aussie pet-owners acquiring their cat or dog in the past two years according to new data.

However, home ownership rates have declined over several decades, with increasing numbers of Australians now expecting to live in rental accommodation long term.

And, unfortunately, finding a pet-friendly rental isn’t always easy.

In fact, 79 per cent of renters reported that pet ownership was making it more difficult to find a property to live in, according to a survey by Choosi.

Around 37 per cent said their furry friend made it “much more difficult” to find a rental, and 42 per cent said it made it “somewhat more difficult”.

Despite the extra layer of stress pets brought to the rental search, nearly all agreed their pets were worth the trouble.

Around 96 per cent said their animal had positively impacted their well-being, with 49 per cent reporting their pets had a calming influence on them during the pandemic.

Pet tenancy laws around Australia

Given the surge in pet ownership and declining rates of home ownership, it’s not particularly surprising that 68 per cent of pet owners supported changes in tenant and strata regulations to stop landlords banning pets.

Fortunately, regulation is changing. According to research by Rents with Pets, in many states and territories, residential tenancy laws are being relaxed to make it easier for responsible pet owners to keep cats and dogs in private rentals.

In Victoria, renters must ask for permission to keep a pet but landlords must have a “good reason” to refuse the request.

Rental providers can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an order to refuse permission.

In the Australian Capital Territory, there’s a similar system in place: ​​pet owners must generally seek permission and the landlord must apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal if they want to reject the request.

The Northern Territory has also brought in these rules. If the landlord wants to refuse the tenant’s request for a pet, they will need to lodge an application with the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT)

Queensland has also recently committed to rules to stop lessors putting blanket bans on pets.

Under the tenancy law changes, landlords will not be able to refuse a tenant’s request for a pet unless it's a reasonable excuse as outlined by the state government.

The rules are due to come into force on October 1.

At the moment, if you want to keep a pet in a rental, you’ll need to seek permission from the property manager/owner, and a tenant can only keep a pet on the property if the tenancy agreement states pets are allowed.

In New South Wales, landlords are still allowed to include blanket “no pets” clauses in tenancy agreements, and refuse the request to have a pet without providing a reason.

There have, however, been some changes that stop strata by-laws having blanket animal bans.

Higher bonds also can’t be charged for tenants with pets in NSW.

In South Australia, whether or not you can keep a pet remains a decision for the property owner.

It’s the same in Western Australia, where landlords don’t need to provide a reason to deny a renter’s request for a pet.

However, the Department of Commerce has presented a review of the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) with the intention of changing the guidelines to make the ability to rent with a pet the right of all tenants.

WA also permits landlords to request pet bonds when drawing up a tenancy agreement to cover the potential costs of fumigating the property after the tenant moves out.

In Tasmania, a tenant can only have a pet if the owner has agreed to it or if it's stated in the lease.

Pet owners are also responsible for leaving the property exactly as they found it, and will need to pay for any damage.

Landlords also can’t charge pet bonds in Tasmania.

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