According to the RSPCA, 62% of households own pets – which equates to around 24 million pets. It’s estimated that over 30% of Australian currently rent which means every 2 in 3 rental properties will have pets. So, when it comes to owning a pet and renting a house in Australia, particularly in Melbourne, what are your rights?
Victoria Consumer Affairs
Consumer Affairs Victoria states that ‘in Victoria, there are no laws that directly cover pets in rented homes. However, as part of the Victoria rental reforms which are due to take effect in July 2020, tenants will be able to keep a pet after seeking permission from their landlord.
The laws outlined by Australian and Victorian bodies apply to both owners and tenants. If either party breaches these laws, a breach of duty notice may be issued. It is quite normal for a property manager to discuss a prospective tenants’ situation to the owner before finalising a rental agreement however ultimately it is up to the landlord and/or body corporate to decide whether or not pets are allowed.
If you plan to move into a unit complex or if you’re an owner planning to buy in a complex, it is likely that an owners corporation manages the rules around pets and where they may or may not be allowed.
An important note: assistance animals are not considered pets as they are highly trained and help people that have a disability. Failing to allow an assistance animal to reside in a rental property may result in a breach – for more information about assistance animals in renting you can click here.
No doubt tenants are always asking if they will be allowed their pets, but often property owners are unsure if you should allow pets in your rental property in Melbourne. There are a few things to consider.
Tenant Situation and History
It’s not uncommon for a landlord to ask to see an animal before it is allowed in a rental property. Things such as size, temperament, cleanliness and how a tenant handles the animal can sway a property owner one way or the other. As a landlord, if you are undecided about whether or not to allow pets in your investment property, feel free to reach out to Nikita to discuss your options.
Type of Property
If you own a small unit in a large complex, you may have a different view than if you were to own a 5 acre property outside of the city. Towards the centre of Melbourne, there are typically more units and that may dictate whether animals are allowed in your rental or not, or perhaps which type of animal is allowed. Given that 2 out of 3 rental applicants will have pets, it is important to consider the effect on your property’s rentability if you do not allow pets. On the other hand, there could be downsides such as damage, unclean houses or neighbour complaints.
Safeguards and Insurance
If you do allow pets into your rental property, you should be aware of the possible damage that pets can cause. Some landlord insurance policies will cover pet damage however understanding your policy before making this decision is very important.
If your insurance policy doesn’t cover pet damage, can you put other safeguards in place? For example, you could add specific sections in your rental agreement or ask Living Melbourne to undertake more regular rental inspections. At the end of the day, it is an investment property and you have to make what you think is the best decision for that property.
As a tenant or prospective tenant, you must also understand that the house you are renting or applying for was once, or could be the owner’s home. It could be the next home of a family looking to rent in Melbourne or the home of a person with severe pet allergies. We all love animals but we also like to look after our owners’ investments whilst maximising the enjoyment you get out of your home.
How Living Melbourne Can Help
At Living Melbourne, we are experienced in managing all types of rental properties. We understand that we create the dialect between property owners and tenants. With years of experience, we know how to handle negotiations around pets and properties. We can advise on what the best option may be for your investment property but at the end of the day, it is your call on whether you allow tenants to bring their beloved pets into their new home or not.
If you’re a tenant and are looking to rent but can quite find which properties allow pets, call us today to discuss the options we have available.
Both parties have rights when it comes to pets, properties and renting in Melbourne. We will always prioritise our owner’s best interests whilst maintaining the highest standard of living for our tenants.