Pet ownership: what you can and can’t do

Even though two-thirds of Australian households are pet owners, finding a pet-friendly residence to rent can prove difficult and competitive. Basically, keeping a pet on the premises is at the landlord’s discretion, although assistance pets, such as guide dogs, cannot be refused.

There are differences in Australian states and throughout New Zealand about pet ownership rules and regulations during a rental term. 

The rules

Residential tenancy laws do not mention pet ownership, which leaves the landlord free to insert a ‘no pets’ clause. You should consult your landlord if planning to rent with a pet. 

In Victoria, for example, new laws on pets and renting came into effect on March 2, 2020. Tenants must request their landlord’s consent before bringing a new pet onto the premises. This is lodged with the landlord via a pet request form. In Victoria and the ACT, landlords must apply to a tribunal to prevent a tenant from keeping a pet.  

As for other Australian states and territories, tenants with pets are generally subject to landlord whim, although many of these states are seeking to follow Victorian and ACT changes to pet-ownership rules. For now, landlords outside Victoria and ACT can refuse pet ownership without providing a reason for unsuitability. 

In Western Australia, landlords are legally entitled to charge a separate pet rental bond to cover any potential damages to the property. 

If you are renting in New Zealand and your landlord allows pets on the premises, ensure that you state the particulars in writing in the tenancy agreement. This typically includes the number and types of pets and whether replacement pets may be involved. 

Other than general wear and tear, tenants are responsible for damage caused to a property by the pet.

Cats and dogs

Some landlords may choose to elect eligibility for cat ownership, but refuse dogs, due to a perception of higher maintenance costs and the likelihood of increased damage caused by certain canine breeds.  

Strata titles also have their own body corporate rules and fees in place regarding pet ownership.

Of course, if renting with a pet, you should apply the same conditions of regular upkeep and cleanliness to a property as other household tenants. 

If you require further assistance about pet ownership rights and regulations while renting, contact your local councils or tenancy unions.

You could also consult the Australian Veterinary Association, New Zealand Veterinary Association or tenancy services in your region for instructions and positive findings on tenants with pets. 

chrisbrown1224

Managing Director – New Vision Financial Services & New Vision Real Estate After years in the banking, finance & commercial sector Chris noticed that the industry needed a company with a personal touch that offered their customers a complete solution. In 2015 New Vision Financial Services was created to allow our consultants to use their experience (including approving and structuring large complex commercial transactions through to basic home loans) and to concentrate on offering a personalised service to their clients. With the growth and success of New Vision Financial Services a decision was made in 2019 to launch New Vision Real Estate to provide an end to end solution for client weather they be first home buyers or seasoned investors. Chris has built a team at New Vision Financial Services and New Vision Real Estate that have access to over 70 different lenders, insurers, lawyers, accountants and financial planners giving you more flexibility when making a decision. We offer a full service Real Estate agency offering Sales, Leasing, New Developments, House & Land and Commercial. Call me anytime on 0433 181 544 or email chris@newvisionfinancial.com.au The team at New Vision Financial Services have access to over 70 different lenders, giving you more flexibility when making a decision. Our consultants have had extensive experience within the banking, financial and corporate sector. At New Vision Financial Services we specialise in finance lending for home, investment, business, commercial, asset, debtor and many other requirements. As New Vision Financial Services has progressed, we have developed strong relationships with professional service providers such as; Financial Planners, Accountants, Settlement Agents, Leasing & Equipment Providers, Debt Management Specialists and any more to allow our clients access to a complete suite of services.