Tasmania puts pets front-and-centre of new rental proposals

The Tasmanian government has announced a series of changes to tenancy laws to fulfil its election cycle promises.

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Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs, Madeleine Ogilvie, has announced that the state government has put forward legislation to allow pets in rentals and minimise the dangers of toppling furniture.

With legislation surrounding pet ownership in rentals first promised in the lead-up to the state’s last election, Ogilvie stated that the proposed changes “would ensure that Tasmanians do not have to choose between a place to live, and the pet they love”.

This reform would represent a stark shift from the state’s current laws which stipulate that tenants are only able to keep a pet inside their house if the property’s owner has agreed, or if this condition has been included in a tenant’s lease.

“As part of our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future, we are amending the law so that owners will not be permitted to unreasonably reject applications from prospective tenants because they have a pet,” Ogilvie stated.

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“Under the amendment, current and future tenants will be able to keep pets, as long as the tenant notifies the owner.”

Nevertheless, Ogilvie emphasised that the state government wants to “get the balance right” with the pet-related reform, with the minister detailing that owners will still be able to object and apply to the Tasmanian tribunal within 28 days of notification.

It was reported that property owners will have the ability to withdraw consent and pursue an order from the state tribunal requesting a pet’s removal if the pet has carried out “damage over and above reasonable wear and tear”, or poses an “unacceptable safety risk”, among other reasonable grounds for removal.

Ogilvie also said the proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act, if passed, would allow tenants to “fix potentially dangerous furniture like cabinets or TVs to walls”, on the condition that tenants are responsible for any plastering and paint touch-ups at the end of the tenancy.

The amendment follows the release of recent data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which revealed that 28 people, including 17 children under five, have died in Australia from toppling furniture.

Ogilvie stated that “being able to fix furniture to walls will prevent toppling furniture which we know is a real risk to younger children”.

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