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Rental rights: Landlords could soon be banned from preventing pets

Pet owners may soon have more rights when it comes to securing a rental property.

A composite image of a sign indicating there are properties for rent and two adorable miniature dachshunds.
Renters would have more rights to keep pets under proposed new laws. (Source: Getty / Yahoo Finance)

The number of Aussies looking for furry companions during the COVID-19 lockdowns boomed, but renters found themselves having to choose between their pets and a roof over their head.

Now, the New South Wales Labor leader has proposed a new law, which could see landlords banned from denying renters the right to have a pet.

Under current laws, a landlord has to approve a renter owning a pet and doesn't have to give any reason if they choose not to.

But NSW Opposition Leader Chis Minns said if he won the March state election he would change the laws, putting the onus on landlords to show why a pet couldn't be kept.

Under the proposed changes, landlords would have 21 days to give an acceptable reason to a newly created Rental Commissioner. If a landlord was unable to provide a reason, tenants would, by default, be legally entitled to keep pets.

“Just because a person lives in a rental, it doesn't mean they can't make it a home, and for so many people renting across our state that includes a family pet,'' Minns told the Daily Telegraph.

“Under NSW Labor, the rules will be simpler and fairer for both renters and owners. Labor's plan will streamline the process and set a firm deadline so that renters can have more certainty.”

Close to 80 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 renters 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.

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