New laws commencing on 1 July 2020 shall mean Victorian landlords will only be able to refuse pets with the approval of the state’s civil and administrative tribunal.
According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, renters will still need written permission from the rental provider before they bring a pet into their home, but this permission can only be refused with approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
A fact sheet provided by the state government has advised that a landlord “cannot unreasonably refuse consent to a renter keeping a pet”.
Under the new legislation, if a rental provider does want to refuse, they have 14 days to apply for a VCAT order — if this has not occurred within 14 days of receiving a written request for a pet, consent is taken to have been granted.
The “reasonable grounds” that VCAT will consider include the type of pet the renter wants to keep, the character and nature of the property itself, and whether refusing consent to keep the pet on the property is allowed under any legislation.
Under the new law, a pet is classed as any animal except an assistance dog.
If renters do intend to keep a pet on the rental property, they have been advised that it’s best to be upfront with rental providers as early as possible.
Renters will also be required to check relevant council laws and other laws surrounding pet ownership, as these laws apply regardless of whether the rental provider has given their consent.
A detailed reference guide from Consumer Affairs Victoria has also outlined where a rental provider reasonably believes a renter is keeping a pet without consent, the landlord can apply to VCAT for an order to exclude the pet from the property.
This would take into consideration the same factors as an initial approval process.