As of March 2nd, Victorian tenants, landlords and property managers must comply with a new set of changes to the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). These changes have been designed to enhance tenant’s pet ownership rights when it comes to leasing in Victoria. However, this set of regulations has been met with some pushback from landlords. Today’s MetroPM blog aims to explore these changes and how they may impact you.
The latest information from Consumer Affairs Victoria identifies that landlords in Victoria are no longer able to “unreasonably refuse consent to a renter wishing to keep a pet”, however these changes do not apply to residency rights in rooming houses, caravan parks or residential parks. Renters are also still subject to the rules set by their local council and these rules centre around the number and type of pets allowed.
A tenant must complete a Pet Request Form and submit this to their property manager or private landlord. The Pet Request Form details a pet’s type and other identifying details, allowing a landlord to ensure the pet is an appropriate fit for the property’s size and location.
If a landlord chooses to refuse a pet request, they must do so through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). VCAT will then act as the deciding body on whether a refusal is reasonable.
The pushback from landlords comes in the stipulation that they have just 14 days to apply to VCAT if they’ve chosen to refuse consent for a pet. And, as a tenant, if you do not hear from your landlord within this 14-day period, your pet has automatic approval.
Rights and responsibilities
Naturally, tenants must meet a set of requirements and uphold their tenancy agreement for this circumstance to be mutually beneficial. A tenant must agree to undertake appropriate action regarding pet-related damage beyond regular wear and tear. This is consistent with a tenant’s duty not to damage the property or compromise the reasonable peace, comfort or privacy of their neighbours.
Landlords must not ask for additional bond or ‘pet bond’ for their property. However, if a tenant does not meet their duties, a landlord can provide them with a breach of duty notice informing the tenant of their requirement to fix the breach or pay compensation for any damage. This also states that the tenant must not breach the same duty again.
The professional team at MetroPM aim to ensure our landlords and tenants are well informed when it comes to their rights and responsibilities. We’ll inform you of any changes you should be aware of and how they may impact upon your real estate experience. To learn more about the changes to the residential tenancy act, visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website or get in touch with our friendly team.