Australia certainly stands out as an animal-loving nation with some of
the highest rates of pet ownership in the world.
With around one-third of all households renting, what are the pros of a
pet-friendly investment property?
And what are a landlord’s legal responsibilities?
A 2019 survey by Animal Medicines
Australia found that 5.9 million households own a pet, and for
those that don’t, over half would like to.
When asked what barriers prevent pet ownership, the main response was a
lack of suitable housing.
In addition, the links between pet ownership and improved mental and
physical health is now well documented.
As tenants, pet owners are often willing to pay a
little more and lock in longer leases to secure a home for themselves and their
Yet only 10 percent of rental properties currently allow tenants to
keep pets, leaving a significant gap in the market.
Some landlords are taking the plunge and discovering the advantages of
including pet owners in their pool of prospective tenants.
For others, they may want to dip a toe rather than jump right in.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to ask for a ‘pet resume’ which can be used
to help ease concerns about the risk of pet-related property damage.
Complete with photos, details of the pet’s size and breed, the resume
acts as a reference check, providing landlords a sense of certainty when it
comes to approving tenant requests for a four-legged friend.
As social attitudes are changing, so are the laws that outline the
rights and responsibilities of landlords, property managers and tenants.
Some states have taken the lead and updated tenancy laws to allow for
more open and honest communication about renting with pets.
what you need to know:
· VIC: On
2 March 2020, Victoria rolled out new laws which gave tenants the right to own a
pet. Using pet request forms, existing and prospective tenants can
put a case forward to be allowed a pet and landlords must not reasonably
refuse. If a landlord is to refuse the request, they must submit that dispute
to be heard by tribunal.
· NT: On
18 February 2020, the Northern Territory parliament passed a landmark amendment bill to give tenants the
right to keep a pet by notifying their landlord in writing. If there is
reasonable belief the landlord will suffer hardship, or the community is put at
risk if the pet stays in the home, this can be challenged at tribunal.
· ACT: For
landlords and property managers in the Australian Capital Territory, new laws
came into effect on 1 November 2019 which prevented the exclusion of pets being
written into leases. Each tenant’s request for a pet will now be handled on a
case by case basis. Again, if a landlord wants to refuse the tenant’s request
to have a pet, they will need to go to tribunal.
· QLD: A
review into the Queensland’s tenancy act got underway late in 2019. Renting
with pets was high on the agenda. Currently all tenants must get permission in
writing as part of the tenancy agreement to have pets in a property.
For states that are yet to move on any changes, there are already some
clear guidelines and protections in place for landlords who allow pets in their
· SA: In
South Australia, pet agreements are required for any lease that allows pets to
lay out clear ground rules for property maintenance and management.
· WA: Western
Australia is currently the only state to allow a pet bond to be taken when a
pet is named on the lease. A sum of up to $260 can be held to pay for
fumigation costs once a tenant vacates.
· TAS: If
landlords in Tasmania allow pets, the tenant must also arrange for fumigation
of the property at the end of the lease. Unlike Western Australia, a separate
bond can’t be set aside for this, but it can be written as a condition of the
This article was written by the team at EBM RentCover and was
originally published here. EBM RentCover is one of Australia’s leading
landlord insurance providers, protecting more than 150,000 rental properties
Thursday, 30 July 2020