Recent legislation in Victoria allowing pets in rental properties as the default position for all tenants is gaining momentum in other Australian states, but if you don’t want an animal living in your rental property, can you say no?
Many landlords don’t like to risk renting their properties to pet owners due to the various types of damage that can be done to the home by pets.
While pet owners are currently required to give a reasonable security deposit and are responsible for payment for repairs and damages done by pets, landlords often times do not want the hassle of going through the process of collecting additional monies to cover the cost of damages inflicted on their property by pets.
Currently, the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 does not prohibit renters from keeping a pet or require a renter to ask permission from their landlord to house a pet.
However, the majority of landlords include limiting clauses within their rental agreements to refuse rental to pet owners. These clauses can include:
The only exception to this current standard is assistance animals. As such, landlords currently hold the control over the contingencies of their rental agreements and the inclusion or exclusion of pet allowances.
However, there is a movement afoot to alter the control of the situation and give pet owners additional rights.
Various states within Australia are looking to use legislation to change the current regulations or lack thereof. Examples include:
At the moment, landlords can still limit their rental agreements and refuse to rent to pet owners. Yet it is possible these laws will change, limiting a property owner’s right to refuse pet owners’ rental privileges.
If a landlord wants to continue to restrict renters with pets, they can resort to some of the following to help ensure their properties are well kept and the damages from pet occupancy are mitigated in their property:
For now, while the law does not allow landlords to prohibit renting to pet owners, it does give unfettered decision-making power to landlords to restrict their rental agreements as they choose to and many rental property owners will continue to exercise this right via their lease agreements.
It is yet to be seen what types of legislation will be proposed and how it will affect the rights of landlords and pet owners, alike.