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New rental laws to help pet owners find a home

September 30, 2022 7:38 am in by
AAP Image/Dan Peled

Significant rental reforms come into action on October 1 aimed at making it easier for tenants to keep pets.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland CEO Antonia Mercorella says tenants will have increased rights, but consent for animals is still required.

“Property owners can no longer simply have a blanket ‘no-pet’ policy, and instead, property owners will be required by law to consider pet requests on a case-by-case basis,” she says.

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“Property owners will only be able to refuse a pet request if they can establish one of the prescribed grounds available under the new laws, such as if the premises doesn’t have a fence or facilities to humanely accommodate the pet, or if keeping the pet is likely to cause costly damage to the premises or inclusions and the repair cost would likely exceed the rental bond being held.

“The property owner also needs to respond to the pet request in writing within the statutory timeframe of 14 days, or consent will be deemed. Further, if the property owner’s negative response does not align with the available grounds to decline the request, approval may be deemed under the laws.”

Ms Mercorella says property owners will also be able to impose certain conditions.

“For example, an approval could be subject to the condition that the pet is kept outside at the premises, if it’s not the type of pet that’s ordinarily kept inside,” she explains.

“Or if the pet is kept inside, the property owner could include a condition requiring carpets in the premises to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy.

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“In addition, both parties should be aware from the outset that any damage caused by pets during the tenancy has been excluded from the definition of fair wear and tear, meaning property owners will be able to seek compensation for pet related damages to the premises and inclusions.”

Just 0.8 per cent of rentals across the greater Sunshine Coast region are available and given the tight market it’s expected those without pets will still be prioritised.

“We understand that not every pet will suit every property, but we do hope these new laws help keep people and their pets together,” says RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Emma Lagoon.

“When you move home, you shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to find pet-friendly rentals, but the reality is animals are still being surrendered due to this very reason.”

The organisation recommends pet owners put together an application for their furry friends and get references from previous landlords and neighbours to help their chances.

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Prescribed grounds for saying no to a pet request:
Keeping the pet would exceed a reasonable number of animals being kept at the premises.
The premises are unsuitable for keeping the pet because of a lack of appropriate fencing, open space or another thing necessary to humanely accommodate the pet.
Keeping the pet is likely to cause damage to the premises or inclusions that could not practicably be repaired for a cost that is less than the amount of the rental bond for the premises.
Unacceptable risk to the health and safety of a person. For example, a venomous pet.
Keeping the pet would contravene a law; keeping the pet would contravene a body corporate by-law.
Tenant/s is/are not prepared to consent to a condition.

Pet approval conditions examples:
If pet is not a type of pet ordinarily kept inside—a condition requiring the pet to be kept outside at the premises.
If pet is capable of carrying parasites that could infest the premises—a condition requiring the premises to be professionally fumigated at the end of the tenancy.
If pet is allowed inside the premises—a condition requiring carpets in the premises to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy.

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