It’s not uncommon to face challenges moving with pets, but Australia’s rental laws are slowly changing to make things easier. But what’s the go renting with pets where you live? Here’s the lowdown.

If you have further questions about your rights as a renter in Australia, get in touch with your local tenant advocacy service.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Can I keep a pet in NSW?

In NSW, landlords can refuse to allow a tenant to keep a pet without providing a reason – unless it’s an assistance animal.

Whilst there is no term in the Residential Tenancies Act (2010) that prohibits you from keeping a pet, or that requires you to ask for your landlord’s consent before you keep a pet. The reality is that most landlords will include a clause restricting pets in the lease agreement. There’s no specific ban on them doing so.

The standard form of the residential tenancy agreement (your lease) issued by NSW Fair Trading includes additional terms which require you to have your landlord’s consent to keep animals. Those terms may be crossed out when you and the landlord sign the agreement, but if they’re not crossed out, they will apply to your agreement.

But, change is coming – in the 2023 State Government elections, both parties promised to review the RTA with respect to renting with pets. With Labour now in power and a new Rental Commissioner appointed, the review is well underway and new legislation is expected in the next few months, whilst the details are not yet public they are expected to be similar to changes made in VIC where a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse a request for a pet.

The NSW government asked renters what they thought as part of the consultation process, 87% of people responding wanted it to be easier to rent with pets (https://www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/pets-in-rental-homes)

But what about strata?

Back in August 2021, new regulations relating to the keeping of animals and by-laws came into effect for strata laws. Strata schemes may have a by-law about the keeping of animals. A by-law can only prohibit pets where the keeping of an animal would unreasonably interfere or impact other occupants.

Blanket upfront bans on animals cannot be imposed.

Do I need a pet bond in NSW?

Pet bonds are not lawful in New South Wales.

Landlords and agents sometimes ask for additional amounts of bond (that is, over and above the usual four weeks’ bond) if you keep a pet.

These ‘pet bonds’ are often not lodged with Renting Services, and instead are kept in an account maintained by the landlord or agent.

Do I need to have my rental fumigated when I move out?

If you rent a property in New South Wales, you may only be required to have the premises professionally cleaned or fumigated if it’s necessary to rectify an issue.

It’s not enough that you simply kept an animal, there must be some uncleanliness or infestation as a result.

For example, your landlord can’t require you to fumigate the home if you only kept a goldfish. 🐟

VICTORIA

Can I keep a pet in VIC?

Yes, you can keep a pet in Victoria. If you want to have a pet in your property, you must ask your rental provider (landlord) for permission.

Your rental provider must have a good reason to refuse your request.

If you want to keep a pet, you should complete a Pet request form for each pet you want to keep, give this to your rental provider and keep a copy for your own records. Your rental provider then has 14 days to make a decision.

Where possible, give your rental provider information that will help them decide whether or not your pet is suitable to be kept on the property. This could include information about your pet’s temperament, age, training or other characteristics or references from a vet or previous rental provider.

Do I need a pet bond in VIC?

No. Rental providers and owners cannot ask for an additional bond as a ‘pet bond.’

If you have a pet during your lease and your pet causes any damage while you’re renting the property, your rental provider can make a claim on your rental bond. A second ‘pet bond’ is not required and does not need to be paid.

Do I need to have my rental fumigated when I move out?

If fumigation is required, it will be included as a term in your lease agreement.

QUEENSLAND

Can I keep a pet in QLD?

Yes, you can keep a pet in Queensland. Before you rent a property, you should seek permission from the property manager/owner to keep one. Note: Rental law changes commencing 1 October 2022 mean landlords will need to provide a reason to decline a pet.

You can only keep a pet on the property if your lease agreement states that pets are allowed.

Your lease agreement may also state the number and type of pets that may be kept and whether the pet can be kept inside or outside the property.

Do I need a pet bond in QLD?

No. A separate pet bond cannot be charged in Queensland.

Do I need to have my rental fumigated when I move out?

If, after a request, you’re allowed to keep a pet, the responsibility for fumigation and cleaning will fall on you. This should be written into your lease agreement.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Can I keep a pet in WA?

If you live in Western Australia and want to keep pets on your premises, you must seek permission from your landlord. Under current legislation, (this is currently in review), your landlord is not required to provide grounds for refusing the request.

One incentive for landlords to allow animals in WA is to seek a pet bond before the tenancy commences.

The proposed changes to the RTA are still working their way through to legislation (expected around mid 2024), you can read more here – https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/residential-tenancies-act-review

Do I need a pet bond in WA?

If you’re permitted to keep a pet capable of carrying parasites that can affect humans, a pet bond may be charged.

This bond can only be applied to the cost of any fumigation of the premises that may be required at the termination of the tenancy.

Your lessor/agent must lodge your security bond as a single amount, specifying the amount taken as a pet bond.

A maximum amount of $260 may be charged for a pet bond, irrespective of the number of pets being allowed.

Tenants cannot be charged a pet bond for an assistance dog.

Do I need to have my rental fumigated when I move out?

Pest control or fumigation may be required if pets have been allowed on the property. This information should be specified in your lease agreement.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Can I keep a pet in SA?

SA is the latest state to review their RTA with respect to Renting with Pets and as of the legislation passing in Nov 2023, renting with pets is now a whole lot easier.

Now its going to take a little time for it to wash through the industry as it’s all pretty new but essentially it comes down to common sense. The tenants must apply and then agree with reasonable conditions imposed by the landlord (eg cleaning carpets at the end of the tenancy, or outside pet only). Tenants also have the ability to appeal to SACAT if they think the conditions are unreasonable or if their request for a pet was unreasonably refused.

Its still being processed but more info here – https://www.premier.sa.gov.au/media-releases/news-items/tenants-to-be-allowed-pets-in-rental-properties-under-new-rental-reforms

Do I need a pet bond in SA?

Pet bonds cannot be charged in SA.

Do I need to have my rental fumigated when I move out?

We expect this to be part of the recent changes – if you have negotiated pet cleaning as part of your rental agreement then yes.

TASMANIA

Can I keep a pet in TAS?

In Tasmania you can only have a Pet if:
– the owner has agreed to it, or
– it is in your lease

So it’s still pretty tough in Tasmania but there are calls for a review of the RTA to bring it into line with mainland states.

More info here: https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/housing/renting/beginning-tenancy/pets#Am-I-allowed-to-have-a-pet-in-a-rental-property?

Do I need a pet bond in TAS?

Pet bonds cannot be charged in TAS.

Do I need to have my rental fumigated when I move out?

This should be covered in your tenancy agreement (but generally, yes).

Summary

Most states have either recently reviewed their Residential Tenancy Acts (RTA’s) or are in the process of introducing new legislation that among other changes, should make renting with a pet easier.

But, right now (Jan 2024) is one of the toughest markets we have seen for renters. We have record low vacancy rates across the country and prices are at all time highs. You know its super competitive out there and even more so for properties that are advertising as pet friendly so now more than ever, you need to be prepared.

A few quick tips that may help

– Treat your enquiry/application and the inspection as if it was a job interview. Not saying its right but the reality is that you are in a competitive process – be neat, be polite.
– If you are able to, visit your local real-estate agent and introduce yourself. In the heat of battle at an inspection you won’t always get the time to make an impression, seeing them mid-week may help.
– Have everything you need paperwork wise ready to go. Consider a “pet resume” as a means of demonstrating that you are a responsible owner.

Our biggest piece of advice in this current market is to start looking for a rental sooner rather than later to make sure you can find a property suitable to rent with pets. Once you’re in, ensure you and your pet/s are star tenants and your time in your rental should be a happy one!

Rent.com.au

Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.

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