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 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.