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 and renting 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.