Can Landlords Refuse Pets NSW? – Martin and Grace Version
Rental property availability in Australia is currently at an unprecedented low, which is not good news for renters who own pets, as landlords can afford to be picky. Rental laws regarding pets differ from state to state, but most lease agreements include a clause which bans pets.
Find out more about your rights and obligations regarding pets in rental properties, why they may be banned, under what conditions you can keep a pet and what rules apply.
Let’s take a closer look.
Pet Rental Laws In NSW
Each state has pet rental laws which differ greatly depending on where you live.
No law in New South Wales states that tenants must request permission from their landlord if they wish to keep a pet at their rental premises. But it is common for there to be a clause in the residential tenancy agreement which bans pets. A landlord or property owner is permitted to make an amendment stating under what circumstances they might agree to allow animals on their property.
In some states, a pet owner must fill out a pet request form as a part of their application for a rental property, and a bond is payable to cover cleaning costs and repairs at the end of the lease. Often it is up to the landlord’s discretion.
Depending on the type of rental property, whether a house or unit, it may be easier for pet owners to obtain approval for their pets in a larger structure with an outside yard area, such as a house.
An apartment or unit complex may allow a small dog if a bond is paid and they are clean and quiet. Having the dog on a leash when in common areas and picking up after them would be an ideal way to ensure that, if required, the lease may be renewed.
In some cases, when renting, a small additional charge can be added to the bond to cover any pet damage incurred. In the same way that a rental bond is refundable at the end of the lease, the pet bond may also be refunded if no pet-related damage is done to the property. A tenant should take photos of the property when they move in if there are already signs of wear and tear. This can help avoid disputes at the end of the lease.
Damage To Property
When renting a home, it is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that they don’t intentionally cause damage to the rental property. The premises must be returned in a similar condition as at the beginning of the lease. The premises may also need to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy.
If a pet causes damage to a rental property, it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay for or fix the damage.
Many rental agreements come down to obtaining the landlord’s consent for pets in rental properties. Potential tenants can use the art of negotiation when applying for rental properties.
- Create a pet profile which highlights benefits and positive pet attributes, such as well trained, quiet, or comfortable remaining indoors. Include a cute photo
- Obtain a reference from previous landlords regarding pets in a property prior
- Sign a contract to take full responsibility for any pet damage
- Introduce the pet to the landlord or property manager
- Have an open discussion with the landlord regarding what pets they may approve. Some landlords may even be pet friendly
If the property is a part of a strata complex, then the decision regarding pets will be according to the by-laws decided by the strata committee, which may prevent pet ownership. The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 states that the by-laws must not be harsh or oppressive. The landlord or property owner must give the tenant a copy of the by-laws within seven days.
A tenant may be required to submit a written request to the owners’ corporation committee to seek permission to keep a pet. The application could include the following;
- Description of the pet, including breed, age, size and appearance
- Details about their disposition, for example, friendly, docile and quiet
- Obedience training records
- Responsible ownership evidence such as microchip details, registration and vaccination certificates
- References from previous landlord
Tenants should also check the by laws for the strata complex to check the rules and regulations regarding keeping pets.
Rules For Keeping Pets In Strata Scheme Properties
The strata owners corporation may create a set of rules which detail what tenants must do if they have a pet in their home.
The by laws will cover various rules that pet owners in residential tenancies should become familiar with. They may include;
- Keeping the pet contained within the property
- Not leaving the animal unattended when on common property
- Cleaning up after your animal in common areas
- If the pet is a dog, there may be a stipulation to the size that is permitted
Can An Owners Corporation Evict A Tenant?
In most cases, all tenants, when renting, must ensure that they do not cause excessive noise or are a nuisance. If the tenant owns a pet that makes excessive noise or escapes and wanders onto another person’s property, they could breach their tenancy agreement contract.
The owners’ corporation must issue a “notice to comply” if a pet has been a nuisance or broken a by law. If the behaviour continues, the landlord or owners corporation may contact NSW Fair Trading for free informal mediation and advice.
In NSW, it is illegal for strata or landlords to refuse a person with a disability to keep their assistance animal at their residence. As per the New South Wales Companion Animals Act 1998, an assistance animal is the exception to the rule regarding the landlord’s discretion for pets in rental properties.
The strata committee is permitted to request evidence of the assistance animals status, such as accreditation from a training body or a permit issued by service NSW.
Australia’s pet ownership is among the highest in the world. Many consider owning a pet beneficial for positive mental health and well-being. With a third of Australians being renters and many property owners refusing to allow pets, it can make finding a rental difficult.
Rental laws regarding pets differ from state to state, but most lease agreements include a clause which bans pets. No law in New South Wales states that a tenant must request approval from the property owner if they wish to keep a pet at their rental premises. A landlord is permitted to amend the tenancy agreement stating under what circumstances they might agree to allow animals on their premises.
If the premises is a part of a strata scheme, then the decision regarding pets will be according to the by-laws decided by the strata committee.
Many rental agreements come down to obtaining the landlord’s consent for pets in rental properties. Potential tenants can use the art of negotiation when applying for rental properties. Have an open discussion with the landlord regarding what pets they may approve. Some landlords may even be pet friendly.