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 In Lifestyle Property Management

How to keep a pet in a rental

Tenants are still liable for any harm their pet causes to their rental home if it’s beyond normal wear and tear, so the change in the law doesn’t mean pets can run wild in your home.

Keeping pets in rental properties has been a source of contention between landlords and tenants since time immemorial. Up until recently, landlords have had the ability to refuse tenants with pets occupying their rental properties – but that’s about to change.

In September 2018, the Victorian Parliament passed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. One of these changes stipulates that a landlord will only be able to refuse to allow a tenant to keep a pet under certain circumstances.

From 2020, landlords will have to demonstrate to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal why it would not be appropriate to have a pet in their property. This could be the case if the home is obviously an unsuitable environment for an animal, or if the scope of repairs would exceed reasonable expectations.

Prior to these changes landlords could include a ‘no pets’ clause in the rental agreement from the outset. Now, tenants will still have to seek written permission from their landlord to have a pet, but it will be much harder for landlords to refuse.

‘In the event where a landlord is allergic to animals and they are leasing out their own home temporarily, the situation could be very damaging,’ said Marshall White One property manager Chanelle Kemelman. ‘It will also allow people to have multiple pets, and without boundaries, a significant amount of damage could result.’

At Marshall White, tenants must apply to their landlord in writing and provide information about their pet, including their name, breed, age and council registration number. If the landlord agrees, a ‘pet clause’ is added to their lease, stating the tenant is responsible for keeping the pet safe and secure, and the house must be cleaned thoroughly at the end of the tenancy to maintain the standard of the property.

In addition, Marshall White can also request a higher bond for properties over $350 per week to cover any damage caused by a pet to a home.

Tenants are still liable for any harm their pet causes to their rental home if it’s beyond normal wear and tear, so the change in the law doesn’t mean pets can run wild in your home.

Chanelle says pets can cause all kinds of issues in a home, including carpet stains, scratched floors, torn window furnishings and flea infestations.

‘Consider your pet’s age, general behaviour, temperament and level of training. Any kind of pet can cause excessive wear and tear to your home if not properly supervised,’ she advises.

‘Also think about whether or not your chosen home suits your pet. For example, I wouldn’t recommend a large dog in a one bedroom apartment!’

So how can you be sure that your furry friend doesn’t upset your landlord?

To reassure your landlord that your pet will be on their best behaviour, you can get a ‘pet resume’ with references from their obedience school and any previous landlords.

Making sure your pet has enough toys or items to entertain themselves when you’re not at home is essential, as bored and isolated pets are most likely to wreak havoc on your home and belongings. For example, if your cat likes to scratch the furniture, provide them with an appropriate scratching post instead.

Ultimately the most important thing is that your pet is properly trained and cared for. It’s always best to be upfront with landlords and property managers about your pet, to foster a harmonious and well-functioning living situation for you and your pet.

If you need any further assistance or have any questions, please contact our Marshall White Property Management Team (03) 9822 8711.

All images sourced from Unsplash.

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