Pets in residential tenancies reforms to commence early - Legislation update

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2 March 2020
Legislation updates

The Consumer Legislation Amendment Act 2019 allowed early commencement of reforms related to pets in renting that were passed in 2018. It inserted a new Division 5B into Part 2 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (the Act).

Division 5B regulates pets under residential tenancy agreements, and comes into effect on 2 March 2020.

These changes only apply to general tenancies under Part 2 of the Act. They do not apply to residency rights in rooming houses, caravan parks or residential parks.

From 2 March 2020:

Tenants must seek their landlord’s written consent to keep a pet at a rental property, using the new Pet request form (Word, 583KB)

Landlords must not unreasonably refuse consent for a tenant to keep a pet.

If a landlord wants to refuse consent, they will have 14 days after receiving the form to apply for a Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) order. VCAT may order that the:

  • landlord’s refusal is reasonable and/or the pet is excluded from the property, or
  • tenant can keep the pet on the rental property.

Before making a decision, VCAT may consider:

  • the type of pet the tenant wants to keep
  • the character and nature of the property itself, including appliances, fixtures and fittings
  • whether refusing permission to keep the pet on the property is allowed under any law; for example, a local council law
  • anything else it considers relevant.

If the landlord does not apply to VCAT within the 14-day period, consent is taken to have been given for the tenant to keep a pet on the property.

Tenants remain responsible for pet-related damage

Landlords can require tenants to repair damage caused by their pet. This remains the same under the new laws. For more information, view our Pets in rental properties page.

A number of other renting reforms passed in 2018 will come into effect by 1 July 2020. For more information, view Changes to renting laws.