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Your Rights as a Pet Owner

Your Rights as a Pet Owner

  • by Admin R&C

Australians love their fur-babies. So much so that more than two thirds of Australian homes have pets - the highest incidence of pet-ownership per household of any country in the world!

Despite this, every year in our country, 20,000 cats and dogs are euthanised due to renters being unable to take their pets with them to a new rental property. ‘No pet’ clauses have forced many Australians to part with beloved members of their family.

25% of Australians live in strata-managed housing
30% of Australians rent
62% of Australians own a pet
Only 5% of advertised rental properties allow pets

The facts

  • Each state and territory has legislation that sets out the legal rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.

  • Many of these laws don’t say anything about keeping pets on a rental property.

  • Often the lease agreement contains the terms that allow or prohibit the tenant keeping pets.

  • ALL STATES currently require permission from your landlord to keep a pet.

  • If you are renting in a unit or townhouse, the body corporate or strata will also have by-laws about keeping pets, so you will need to ask their permission too.

  • If you own your unit or townhouse, you will still need to seek permission from your body corporate.

  • Certified assistance dogs can’t be refused.

Responsible pet owners are proven to make very good tenants; they sign long term leases and take good care of their homes.

Pet friendly rentals:

  • Have shorter vacancy periods

  • Require less marketing cost

Pet owning tenants:

  • Stay 65% longer in rental properties

  • Contribute to a sense of community in strata properties

Pets are good for people, and are proven to improve both physical and mental health:

  • 91% of pet owners say their pet is their best friend

  • 25% of pet owners have paid higher rent to secure pet friendly housing

  • Pet ownership saves $2 billion annually in health care costs

How can I convince my Landlord to accept my pet? 

Create a ‘pet resume’ outlining your pet’s history, training, health management, lifestyle, and references from any properties you have occupied previously with a pet. This will give your landlord a clear idea on what to expect by allowing your pet. See our guide to creating a pet resume below.

How to create a pet resume

Download our pet resume example

Strata - How is the decision made?

An owner cannot unreasonably withhold their consent. However, it may be reasonable to have conditions on the types of pets allowed.

Strata laws are designed to protect the rights of owners, who have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their property. Your pet must not interfere with that.

When considering an owner’s application for a pet, the body corporate or strata may impose reasonable conditions on the approval to reduce the risk of nuisance or interference of the pet on the peaceful enjoyment of other residents.

These may relate to the type of pet (breed or size), how the pet is brought into and taken off the property, cleaning up and disposal of waste or mess caused by the pet, and the regular treatment of the pet for fleas.

Members of the strata group may object to your application if they suffer from severe allergies or phobias to certain pets.

What happens if the landlord or strata say no? 

In every state, there are tribunal processes if you believe the decision is unjust. Note that discrimination based on breed or size is not evidence-based.

You will need to submit an application and represent yourself at a mediation session.

If that session does not reach a conclusion, you can apply for a hearing.

What happens if I have a pet, and then my landlord or strata change their mind?

You have the right to submit a formal complaint via the tribunal process in your state.

Your responsibilities as a pet owning tenant:

  • Not to interfere with the reasonable peace or comfort of your neighbours.

  • Keep the premises clean.

  • Leave the premises at the end of your tenancy in the same condition as the start, excluding fair wear and tear.

  • Your lease may require fumigation and carpet cleaning when you leave.

Your State

VIC: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au
QLD: http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/
NSW: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
SA: https://www.sa.gov.au
WA: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au
NT: http://www.consumeraffairs.nt.gov.au
ACT: https://www.tenantsact.org.au


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