As a country, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, but finding a rental property that allows pets is a difficulty that many have been facing. Renting with pets is becoming more accepted as the benefits of pet ownership are becoming increasingly recognised. In light of this, many Australian states have reviewed their laws on keeping pets in rental properties which is making it easier in a legal sense, for people to become or continue to be pet parents.
A landlord may not advertise their property as pet friendly but may consider the idea if approached by a clearly responsible pet owner. This application can be further supported if you and your pets come with a glowing reference from a previous landlord or neighbour. Some pet owners even provide a pet resume outlining training and a list of their references that can attest to their pet’s behaviour.
Some tenants chose to suggest adding an addition clause on the rental agreement which may include cleaning carpets annually, fixing any possible damage caused by a pet or a pet bond. Be honest with your landlord and don’t try to hide pets if they aren’t permitted as it’s highly likely that you will be found out.
Ensure that your pet is not going to be a problem for the landlord or the neighbours by sorting out any behavioural issues such as barking, digging or escaping. If it’s something you can’t sort out on your own, call in the experts for assistance.
Each state of Australia is governed by a different set of rules when it comes to renting with pets, so it’s advisable to check the relevant rules that apply to your situation. We have provided a brief outline of the state’s regulations below.
Renting With Pets by State
For NSW rental tenants, there are no laws prohibiting pet ownership but the standard residential tenancy agreement issued by Fair Trading NSW includes an optional term requiring the landlord’s consent, restrictions on the type of animal, and whether carpets need to be professionally cleaned. Apartment and townhouse complexes however are governed by their own set of bylaws. You can find more information at Fair Trading NSW.
In Victoria, rental tenants have the right to keep a pet in a rental property but they must first get consent from their landlord. The new laws make it much harder for landlords to refuse and they need to prove that they have a good reason, to be able to appeal their decision with VCAT. Further information can be found at Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Under current legislation, rental tenants in Queensland are required to get written permission in their tenancy agreement to have a pet in their rental property and it stipulates they are also responsible for any damage to the property caused by their pets. The special terms of the agreement can also stress that tenants have the property fumigated and the carpets cleaned when their tenancy is up. More information on this topic can be found at the Queensland Governments Residential Tenancies Authority.
In South Australia, it is at the landlord’s discretion to allow tenants to keep pets in a private rental property. Most landlords will ask for an agreement to be signed enforcing certain rules, such as no noisy barking or professional cleaning when the tenancy ends. For strata or community title properties, approval is usually also required from the strata or Community Corporation. You can get further information from SA.Gov.au.
Residents of the ACT can keep pets in a rental property if their tenancy agreement permits it. If the tenancy agreement does not have a provision about pets, the tenant may have a pet without seeking the permission of the landlord. A tenancy agreement can impose a requirement that the tenant must seek the landlord’s consent before keeping a pet, but a tenancy agreement cannot prohibit pets completely. Further information can be found at the ACT Government – Residential Tenancies amendment Act 2019.
In Western Australia, pet bonds are a usual part of a residential tenancy agreement where pets are permitted, and the law states that no more than $260 can be charged to meet the cost of fumigation at the end of the tenancy. The presence of a pet must be stated in the lease, and permission given by the landlord. You can find more information about Western Australia pet bonds here.
Northern Territory residents are allowed to keep pets in their rental property. A tenant must first provide 14 days written notice to a landlord describing the proposed pet. They cannot keep pets at the property before the expiry of the 14 days. Further information can be found in the Residential Tenancies legislation.
In Tasmania, a rental tenant can only have a pet at the property if the landlord has agreed, or it is stated in the lease agreement. The terms of the lease may state that any damage caused by the pet is the tenant’s responsibility. This may include repairing grassed areas and having the property fumigated at the end of the lease. Further information can be found on the Tasmania Government website.
Don’t be put off of a property that is not advertised as pet friendly, as many landlords will permit pets for the right tenant. The main tip is to ask the landlord directly and you should be able to come up with an agreement that works for everyone.