Despite Australia’s reputation for being an animal loving nation, when it comes to finding a pet-friendly rental it can be hard.
Landlords are often nervous about potential damage or the hassle of pet tenants and it’s estimated only 10 per cent of rentals allow furry housemates.
However, attitudes towards pets and renting are changing.
Our 2014 Tenants and Sharers report found landlords are open to accepting furry friends if tenants paid slightly more rent.
The data also shows four out of five landlords will say yes, as long as there are guarantees in place, such as insurance and a compulsory flea fumigation at the end of the lease.
Some tenants may try to have a pet and not inform their property manager.
However, if caught, which is likely with regular property inspections, you risk being evicted and blacklisted.
Discuss with your landlord
If you want to let with your pet we recommend asking, even if there is no pet-friendly signs.
Just because a property isn’t marketed for furry friends doesn’t mean the landlord won’t let you bring in those family members.
If you have been a good tenant then it is most likely they will allow a pet as replacing a renter is a lot of effort, so you have a lot more power than you may think.
Organise to chat with the landlord or property manager to see if it’s a option.
But remember not all landlords will be able to say yes to pets.
Their first obligation is the maintenance of the property – and some rentals are not compatible to share with animals.
But with renters starting to have success by kicking off the conversation, we think it’s worth asking.
Having an animal in a rental property is mostly at the landlords discretion in Australia.
However, with more than 60 per cent of households having a pet, matched with a dropping rate of homeownership, more renters are wanting pet-friendly accommodation.
This has resulted in legislation making it illegal to refuse an assistance animal and at least one state government has introduced a separate pet bond.
Encouragingly in 2018, Victoria became the first jurisdiction to overhaul rental legislation completely, making it easier for tenants to have animals.
It has been a popular reform and we expect more states will follow.
Changes in the Tenancy Act pet lovers should know about
Times are changing when it comes to landlords and pets with many states becoming more flexible toward furry tenants.
Recently, Victoria took the unprecedented step of giving tenants the right to have a pet.
According to the new laws tenants must get permission to have an animal.
However, landlords wanting to reject a pet tenant must plead their case before the state tribunal.
The reforms have not yet come into force, but are part of a suite of rental changes to be progressively implemented by July 1, 2020.
New South Wales
Pets are allowed in rentals in NSW but you must have the consent of the landlord.
It is the renter’s responsibility to ensure the property is suitable for their animal and they are liable for any damage caused.
Furthermore, if you have a pet that is excessively loud or a nuisance interfering with the peace of your neighbours, it can be deemed a breach of your lease.
However, if a landlord carries out a rental inspection they must take care if an animal is on the lease.
If they fail to do so, for example, they leave the gate open and a pet escapes, they can be held liable.
In Queensland it is estimated 62 per cent of households have a pet, but only one in ten rentals allow animals.
Currently, a tenant must have permission in writing for their furry tenants.
Landlords are often reluctant, highlighting damage and issues with pets attracting fleas as the main reasons.
But with an increasing scarcity of pet-friendly accommodation, attitudes are changing and rental laws, relating to pets, are currently under review.
This is the only state in Australia where a pet bond is enshrined in law.
Landlords are allowed to charge up to $260 to cover the cost of fumigation at the end of the lease.
This is on top of the normal bond.
Pets must be included on the rental agreement, which will state the number and type of animals allowed and the whether they must be kept inside or outside.
Keeping pets in rentals in SA is up to the property owner.
It is estimated two out of three households have pets in the state and it appears landlords are increasingly accepting animal tenants.
It is recommended renters submit a pet application, and a pet agreement must be signed before the animal moves in.
Pet bonds cannot be charged.
According to the Residency Tenants Act of 1997 (Tasmania) a tenant must not keep pets without their landlord’s permission.
There has been recent calls to review the rental rules to make it easier for renters, however, the government has ruled out changes at this time.
If you are a pet owner you are responsible not only for the welfare of your animal but also how they behave at home.
While many rentals will have “no pet” clauses sometimes a simple discussion with the landlord or property manager can convince them to change their mind.
Tenants must get the consent in writing and will also need to carry out additional cleaning when leaving the property.
While it may be daunting landlords are increasingly accepting animals and it’s worth having the conversation.
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