The Residential Tenancies Act in Victoria has been improved with new legislation introduced, making it easier for tenants to have pets with more states likely to follow suit.
Landlords may only refuse tenant’s permission to keep a pet if they have been granted permission by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Renters are much more likely to get written approval from landlords in light of the recent legislation which took effect from March 2nd 2020.
Following the new rules set in place, Landlords won’t be able to ‘unreasonably’ refuse or deny prospective rent applicants based on pets which could end up being better for everyone in the long run.
Can Landlords Deny the Request for a Pet
Landlords are no longer allowed to deny a pet on unreasonable grounds.
However, they can refuse a pet request by the tenant if they get it approved by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). The landlord must approach VCAT, and get their approval to deny the request.
A landlord is given 14 days to contact VCAT. The only exception being the tenant’s request for an assistance dog, under no circumstances can the landlord refuse that request.
VCAT takes into account several factors when deliberating these cases. They take into account the species of the pet, the local council’s regulations, and feedback as to how it might affect the neighbors or other residents.
The fixtures and fittings, along with the appliances present within the rented space, are all a matter of interest to VCAT while it deliberates its decision.
Landlords must now present a convincing well-rounded argument to deny a tenant’s request to keep a pet.
An example could be that within a high-density living situation, some apartment residents might have allergies, and they initially moved into the apartment when it was declared a pet-free zone, before the new legislation.
The New Legislation’s Effect on Existing Lease Agreements
Leases signed before the new legislation came into effect on March 2nd 2020, are exempt from this new clause. However, any future leases or rent agreements signed in the future will have to consider this.
It is predicted that VCAT will be receiving a massive influx of applications requests from landlords to deny tenants from keeping pets within their rented spaces.
Extra clauses are expected to be part of lease agreements that ensure any damage caused by a pet is coverable by the tenant, and include frequent professional cleaning, cleansing, and fumigation of the rented property.
However, it must be noted that ‘pet bonds’ are not legal in any shape or form.
Perfect tenants usually have an excellent reference, so they can be trusted to be responsible pet owners. Landlords will be far more willing not to put up a fight when the request to keep a pet comes from an ideal tenant.
The pet request forms are readily available from the Consumer Affair Victoria website. Along with other helpful details into the application of the law for both landlords and tenants.
The form has to be filled out and sent to the landlord for an official request to keep a pet.
This request is a vital component of the entire process, and while the law favors the tenant’s right to keep a pet, this part must not be skipped under any circumstances.
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