Do you know what the law says about pets in your state? Here’s the lowdown.

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By RENT.COM.AU

As a pet owner, you have the responsibility for the welfare of your pet. Not to mention council obligations which apply equally to homeowners and to tenants. Here’s what the law says about having pets in your state:

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New South Wales

Can I keep a pet?
Good news. There’s no term in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) that prohibits you from keeping a pet, or requires you to ask for your landlord’s consent before you keep a pet. However, many landlords will include a clause in the lease which restricts tenants from having a pet – and there is no specific ban on them doing so.

Pet bonds
Pet bonds are not lawful in NSW. 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 are instead kept in an account maintained by the landlord or agent.

Cleaning at the end of your tenancy
Additional terms that require you to have the premises professionally cleaned or fumigated when you move out are usually illegal and invalid, but there is an exception where you have been permitted to keep an animal on the premises. You may only be required to have the premises professionally cleaned or fumigated if it is necessary to rectify an issue. For instance, your landlord can not require you to fumigate the premises if you kept a goldfish.

Links to more info
Tenants Rights Manual 
Tenants NSW: Factsheets
RSCPA: Renting with Pets
Fair Trading NSW
Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW


Brisbane

Can I keep a pet?
A tenant may only keep pets on the property if the tenancy agreement states that pets are allowed. It may also state the number and type of pets that may be kept and whether the pet can be kept inside or outside the house. Before renting a property, a tenant should discuss whether pets will be allowed with the property manager/owner and if the property is suitable for pets.

Pet bonds
A separate pet bond cannot be charged.

Cleaning at the end of your tenancy
Pest control may be required if pets are allowed. This should be stated in the tenancy agreement. Tenants should think about whether the property has enough room, fencing, pet doors etc for a pet and whether the pet could cause any damage to the property e.g. torn screens or lawn damage.

Links to more info
Tenants Queensland
Crisis accommodation information
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal


Victoria

Can I keep a pet?
In Victoria, there are no laws that directly cover pets in tenancies or residencies. However, it is possible to include a clause that bans pets in a lease. You, as a prospective tenant could accept, reject or negotiate such a clause.

If you, or another resident has a pet or intends to get one, you should get permission from the landlord or owner and include the permission as a term of the tenancy before moving in.

Pet bonds
The Residential Tenancies Act (the main law covering renting in Victoria) does not mention pet bonds. If a landlord wants to take a pet bond and the original weekly rental amount was less than $350 per week, they must apply to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to seek approval to take more than four weeks’ rent as a bond.

Cleaning at the end of your tenancy
Pest control may be required if pets are allowed. This should be stated in the tenancy agreement. You, as the tenant, should think about whether the property has enough room, fencing, pet doors etc for a pet and whether the pet could cause any damage to the property e.g. torn screens or lawn damage.

Links to more info
Tenants Union of Victoria 
Consumer Affairs Victoria 
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal


Western Australia

Can I keep a pet?
A tenant may only keep pets on the property if the tenancy agreement states that pets are allowed. It may also state the number and type of pets that may be kept and whether the pet can be kept inside or outside the house. Before renting a property, a tenant should discuss whether pets will be allowed with the property manager/owner and if the property is suitable for pets.

Pet bonds
If you, as the tenant, are permitted to keep pets capable of carrying parasites which can affect humans, a pet bond may be charged. Lessors/agents must lodge the security bond as a single amount, specifying the amount taken as pet bond. The amount you can be charged for a pet bond depends on the type of lease agreement you have. The pet bond must be no more than $260 unless the weekly rent is more than an amount set by regulation ($1200 per week as at 1 June 2011).

Cleaning at the end of your tenancy
Pest control may be required if pets are allowed. This should be stated in the tenancy agreement.

Links to more info
Tenancy WA
WA Department of Commerce 


South Australia

Can I keep a pet?
The Residential Tenancy Agreement expressly forbids you to have pets in the property without the landlord’s consent. If you have a pet, advise the agent and do not attempt to conceal the fact as this could create a problem for all parties.

Pet bonds
No pet bonds can be taken in South Australia.

Links to more info
Consumer and Business Services 
Legal Services Commission of South Australia


Australian Capital Territory

Can I keep a pet?
The first and most important thing to remember is that there is NOTHING in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 that restricts a tenant’s ability to keep a pet.* The word ‘pet’ doesn’t appear once in any of the 136 sections in the body of the Act, or in any of the 100 clauses in Schedule 1 that make up the Standard Residential Tenancy Terms. Keeping a pet or pets is ordinarily not a breach of the agreement and therefore not an issue.

Pet bonds
No pet bonds can be taken in Australian Capital Territory.

Links to more info
Tenants’ Advice Service
ACT Government – Tenant Advice
Canberra Community Law



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