Finding a pet-friendly rental property in Australia can be challenging, with only 25% of all rental properties advertised as “pet friendly”. However, with Australia having one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, this statistic is starting to change.
In previous years, landlords have had almost full discretion over whether they allow pets - with the exception of guide dogs. But this won’t last for long, with many state governments pushing towards renters’ rights to rent with a pet, whilst also putting safeguards in place to protect landlords from damage and disturbances that some pets can cause.
Convincing a landlord to allow pets
Even if a property isn’t explicitly advertised as “pet-friendly”, there’s a few things that a renter can do to persuade a landlord to accept pets on their property.
Include a pet reference - if you’ve leased properties before with your pet, a pet reference from a previous landlord is a great place to start.
Consider renters’ insurance - consider getting renters insurance and ensure that the policy covers pets and any damage that is caused by the pet. This shows a financial commitment to ensuring the landlord isn’t left out of pocket if any damage was to occur by your pet.
See more tips in our article How to negotiate a pet-friendly lease
Rental laws by state
New South Wales
Property managers can choose whether to allow pets or not. The standard residential tenancy agreement that is issued by Fair Trading NSW includes an optional term that requires the landlords consent, requirements and restrictions regarding what type of pet is allowed, and whether the tenant must have the carpet professionally cleaned from time to time. Apartments, townhouses have their own strata bylaws which can be trickier to work with.
Sweeping rental reforms to be implemented in Victoria by mid 2020 mean that every renter will have the right to keep a pet on the property. Property managers will be able to protest this on a case by case basis, but only through an appeal to VCAT, and must have good cause to win the appeal.
The state is also introducing substantial rental reforms, which will also make it easier to rent with a pet. Current laws dictate that landlords must give permission for the tenant to keep a pet on the property. Under new rules, it will be more difficult for landlords to disallow pets, except under certain circumstances.
Similar to New South Wales, it is up to landlords to decide whether they’ll allow pets at their property, although increasing amounts of properties are being advertised as “pet friendly”. Landlords may include certain rules such as requiring professional cleaning, but may not legally require a pet bond.
New laws being introduced in 2019 by the ACT government make it easier for renters to keep pets, with landlords only being able to ban pets if they can demonstrate “reasonable” grounds. It is expected that renters can assume they will be allowed to keep pets in their rental property, but are responsible for any damage caused by their pets.
The state is one of the few that allow for pet bonds, which has a limit of $260, and can be used to meet the cost of fumigation at the end of the tenancy. Pets must be stated in the lease, with written permission granted by the landlord.
It’s up to the landlord whether they allow pets in their rental property, but prospective tenants can negotiate with their landlords through offering professional cleaning at the end of the lease. Tenants can also choose to apply to NTCAT to change the “no pets” clause if included in the lease agreement.
Tenants must gain the landlord’s permission to keep a pet at their rental property. However, the landlord may request that cleaning and damage costs are covered by the renter at the end of the lease.