Five Things That Tenants Need To Know About Changes To Pet Laws In Victoria

Law Blog

From March 2020, changes to pet laws in Victoria affect both tenants and landlords. Before the new pet laws, landlords could choose to ban pets from rental properties as part of each rental agreement. After the changes, renters have the right to keep a pet, although they must still ask for consent. However, the responsibility is now on the landlord to object to the request through legal channels. Here are five things that you need to know about the changes to the pet laws. 

1. If You Already Have A Pet Nothing Changes

As long as your current pet had already been accepted and approved to live in your rented property before the new per laws came in, then the new pet laws will not apply to you. However, you will still need to follow other pet laws in Victoria as stipulated by local councils. 

2. Landlords Can Only Object To Pets Under Certain Circumstances

Once a tenant has applied for consent to keep a pet, the request can only be refused under what is termed "reasonable grounds". It is up to the landlord to lodge this objection via VCAT. Reasonable grounds may include the breed of the pet and whether or not the property is historic. 

3.  Renters Still Need To Follow Established Pet Laws 

Each council in Victoria has different rules set out regarding which breeds of pet an owner or renter is allowed to keep, and how many pets are allowed to be kept on one property. The new pet laws in 2020 do not change or override these established pet laws. 

4. Renters Are Not Required To Pay A Pet Bond

The changes to pet laws in Victoria mean that no clauses can be included in rental contracts involving pets, and that includes pet bonds. However, if a pet damages a property, then the tenant will still be liable for paying for the damage. 

5. You Can Still Face Eviction If The Right Process Is Not Followed

Consent to keep your pet in a rental property in Victoria must still be attained, and the due process must be followed. Failure to do this can result in a tenant being evicted. If a landlord believes that a pet is being kept on the property without the proper consent, they can apply for an order to have the pet removed, via the tribunal. 

The changes to pet laws in Victoria and 2020 affect the rights of renters and owners. Always let your property manager and your landlord know of any decisions you make and be sure to follow the due process when applying to keep a pet.


27 April 2020

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