According to a survey conducted in 2019, about two-thirds of Australian households own a pet. Unfortunately, pet ownership bylaws in rental apartments have been a thorn in the flesh for pet lovers for a long time. Bylaws gave landlords the prerogative to grant or deny tenants' requests to keep a pet in their homes. Therefore, property owners were known to deny such rights without an explanation. However, pet ownership laws in rental properties changed as courts determined that previous legislation on the matter were harsh, unconscionable, and oppressive. Tenants can now keep pets in their rental units, but they must observe a few things when making a formal request. This article highlights essential facts about pet ownership in residential properties.

1. VCAT Role 

Property owners no longer have sweeping powers to grant or deny tenants' requests to keep pets. However, despite the courts' take on pet bylaws and rental properties, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) acts as the intermediary between tenants and property owners. For instance, tenants must abide by pet laws for property owners to approve their requests. However, a landlord can still deny you permission for various reasons. Nonetheless, they must first write to the VCAT to seek redress. It means that consent refusal does not fall on a proprietor.

2. Provide Relevant Pet Information 

Tenants are supposed to fill a request form when applying for consent. The information should be truthful since a landlord will use it to grant or refuse consent. Some of the data you are supposed to provide includes pet age, training, temperament, vet's or trainer's reference, and your take on the suitability of a residence for your pet. For example, according to the law, big dogs should only be permitted in properties with ample play space. Therefore, you should include the information in your request form, stating why a residential property favours your pet.

3. Room for Tenant-Landlord Negotiations 

Despite existing pet laws governing pet ownership among tenants, it is essential to remember that both parties have room for negotiation. While a landlord might not consent to a tenant's request, they might be understanding. Therefore, a tenant can request to talk to their landlord and discuss areas that both parties could compromise. For instance, although a landlord might deny your request, they do not have to write to VCAT. In some cases, landlords might compromise and allow you to keep a pet indoors.

You can better understand pet laws by contacting local lawyers.