Pets And Your Property: What’s Changed?
As of March 2nd, tenants, landlords and property managers in Victoria must comply with a new set of regulations regarding pets in investment properties. These changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) have been designed to enhance tenants’ rights when it comes to leasing in Victoria.
The latest update from Consumer Affairs identifies that landlords in Victoria are no longer able to “unreasonably refuse consent to a renter wishing to keep a pet”, once a tenant has provided their landlord with a completed Pet Request Form. This request form details the pet’s type, breed and other identifying details in order to ensure it is an appropriate fit for the property.
A landlord can only refuse a pet request if the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) orders that it is reasonable to do so. A landlord has 14 days to apply to VCAT if they’ve elected to refuse consent for a pet. As a tenant, if you do not hear from your landlord within this 14-day period, you’re able to keep the pet.
Who does this apply to?
This change in the residential tenancy act applies to all tenancy agreements where residents are looking to introduce a pet, regardless of when the lease commenced. The new legislation does not apply to pets already present before 2 March 2020. Prior to this date, there were no established laws directly associated with landlord’s approval of pets in rented homes.
Of course, there are requirements that must be met by a tenant for this agreement to be mutually beneficial. A tenant must agree to undertake appropriate cleaning or fumigation for pet-related damage, which is consistent with a tenant’s existing duty not to damage the property or interfere with the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of neighbours.
Landlords are not to ask for additional bond as ‘pet bond’ for their property. If a tenant does not meet their duties, a landlord can instead provide them with a breach of duty notice. This notice informs the tenant of their requirement to fix the breach or pay compensation for any damage, and states that the tenant must not breach the same duty again.
Looking to learn more about the changes to the residential tenancy act? Landlords, tenants and property managers can find all the information and latest updates on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
Our expert team aim to ensure your investment experience is a breeze. We’ll inform you of any changes you should be aware of and how they may impact upon your experience as a tenant or landlord.