Victorian landlords will no longer be able to “unreasonably” stop you from having a pet as part of a new property law that is about to come into effect.
If you’re living in a rental property, getting a furry companion can be a huge gamble. Finding a pet-friendly property isn’t easy, and if you have to move on a whim, it can make it really tough to get approved.
Thankfully, it’s all about to change from March 2. According to Consumer Affairs, landlords in Victoria will no longer be able to “unreasonably refuse consent to a renter wishing to keep a pet”, which means they can only stop you from adopting a dog or cat if they seek approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
You’ll still need to get written permission from your landlord before you adopt a dog or cat, but the new law means they’ll have to come up with a good excuse to stop you from doing so.
If your landlord wants to stop you from living out your dog parent dreams, they’ve got 14 days to lodge it with VCAT. From there, VCAT will evaluate everything from the type of pet, the property and its fixtures and fittings.
And to make it an even sweeter deal, you can’t be asked to pay a pet bond (although, you will be charged for any damaged that go beyond general wear and tear).
The news is a huge win for animals, with the RSPCA citing forced surrenders (which is often a result of a change in living situation) as the reason for 15% of their intake per year.
“We have long held concerns about existing rules that allow landlords to automatically include a ‘no pets’ clause in rental agreements,” RSPCA chief executive Liz Walker told realestate.com.au.
“RSPCA Victoria deals daily with animal owners who have no choice but to surrender their animals to us, either to get into the rental market or when moving to a new rental property, … causing significant stress and grief to the owner, and to the pet.”
Obviously, there are exclusions to the rule. For instance, if you live in a heritage-listed house your landlord might be able to prevent pets in order to protect the property, or if you live in an apartment, you likely can’t get a pet chicken. But as a general rule, Victorian renters just got a hell of a lot less lonely.