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New Pet Legislation For Rentals

By Ray White Whitsunday

The Act outlines a framework supporting parties in all tenancies to reach agreement on renting with pets. Tenants are required to seek the lessor’s consent to keep a pet at the rental property, and it is a significant breach not to do so. Lessors can provide approval subject to reasonable conditions as agreed with the tenant, or refuse the request only based on specific reasons under the legislation. They must also respond in writing to the tenant’s request within 14 days or the request is deemed to be approved.

Reasonable approval conditions

The conditional approval for the tenant to keep a pet at the premises should relate only to keeping the pet at the property. These conditions must be reasonable considering the type of pet and the nature of the rental property. Examples of reasonable conditions include:

  • requiring the pet to be kept outside of the rental property, if the pet is not a type of pet ordinarily kept inside. A similar condition for rooming accommodation would require the pet generally be kept in the resident’s room
  • requiring the premises to be professionally fumigated at the end of the tenancy, if the pet is capable of carrying parasites that could infest the property
  • requiring carpets to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy, if the pet is allowed inside the premises.

Lessor refuses request to keep a pet and provides a reason for the refusal

Under the Act, a lessor can only refuse a tenant’s request to keep a pet at the rental property based on any of the following reasons:

  1. Keeping the pet would exceed a reasonable number of animals being kept at the property.
  2. The property is unsuitable for keeping the pet because of a lack of appropriate fencing, open space or another item necessary to humanely accommodate the pet.
  3. Keeping the pet is likely to cause damage to the property and in addition could or would be likely to result in damage that could not practically be repaired for a cost less than the rental bond for the premises.
  4. Keeping the pet would pose an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of a person, including, for example, because the pet is venomous.
  5. Keeping the pet would contravene a law.
  6. Keeping the pet would contravene a body corporate by-law, house rules or park rules applying to the property.
  7. The tenant has not agreed to the reasonable conditions proposed by the lessor for approval to keep the pet.
  8. The animal stated in the request is not a pet.
  9. If the property is a moveable dwelling, and keeping the pet would contravene a condition of a licence applying to the property.
  10. Other grounds prescribed by regulation.
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