Pets Rule! New Laws for Pet Owners Renting

new laws for pet owners renting

In case you missed it, at the start of 1 October 2022 new laws were introduced for Landlords and Property Managers in Queensland. These new additions introduced laws regarding pet consent for tenants.

This is great news for some tenants – and even better news for some pets, we think! Oftentimes renting with pets is beneficial for both pet and tenant – and landlord. So keep an open mind when considering the new rules.

Contact Position One Property – your property management experts – today!

Property Managers Brisbane

Legislation Reforms

Where this starts is with the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (Qld) (known as the RTRA Act).  This Act governs residential tenancies in Queensland, and it has recently been amended by the Queensland Government. From 1 October 2022, one of the major changes includes the updated requirements for pet requests and approvals. [Resource: Residential Tenancies Authority]

What Property Owners Need to Know

A blanket ‘No Pets Allowed’ policy is no longer permissible. Requests from tenants to keep a pet will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis by the landlord.

Applications required

Here’s what hasn’t changed. Tenants still need to apply to have a pet in their rental property and have it approved to live there with them. Up until now, property owners could reject a pet application from a tenant without giving any particular reason. They could also advertise their property saying ‘no pets allowed’.

Responsiveness needed

There is also a time frame owners of rental property need to be mindful of when presented with a request for a pet they have to respond to. There is a time frame of 14 days within which the property owners will need to respond to the request. If they do not respond within 14 days, consent will be deemed automatically.

Fairer for all

What the new rental law rules do is to tip the balance of rental laws back a bit towards the tenants’ rights, when traditionally they’ve weighed heavily towards the landlords’ rights.

Rental law also protects landlords

There are options available for landlords who have tenants requesting pets in their properties. So, landlords need not fear they are being disadvantaged.

For example, a condition of keeping indoor pets, such as a cat, could be that carpets in the property need to be professionally shampooed when the tenant is ready to end a tenancy. In that way, the pet approval is “conditional” – and furthermore, the condition is reasonable.

It’s also reasonable to compare normal or reasonable wear and tear from tenancy with ‘humans’ only vs a tenancy with pets. Any damage caused by pets during the tenancy is not the same as normal wear and tear – so property owners will be able to seek to be compensated by any pet damage.

Contact Position One Property – your property management experts – today!

Property Managers Brisbane

Queensland’s Reforms – The Details

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) detailed the key changes and grounds for refusal below:

Summary of Changes:

  • lessors must have a specific reason under prescribed grounds to refuse a tenant’s request to keep a pet – they can no longer say “no pets allowed” or apply a blanket pet prohibition
  • conditions for keeping a pet at a property must comply with prescribed requirements
  • a new definition for pets has been introduced with a clarification about working dogs

Contractual Obligations:

Firstly, there needs to be written consent stating whether the request to keep a pet during the tenancy has been approved or denied. Also included needs to be a statement regarding the the decision. That is grounds for refusal needs to be stated, or conditions under which the request is permitted under the RTRA Act needs to be included.

Grounds for Refusal:

Under the new provisions of the RTRA Act, the permitted grounds to refuse a pet request are limited to the following:

  • keeping the pet would exceed a reasonable number of animals being kept at the property;
  • if the property is unsuitable for keeping the pet because of a lack of suitable or adequate fencing, or open space, or another feature necessary to humanely accommodate the pet;
  • whether keeping the pet is likely to cause damage to the property or inclusions (fixtures and fittings within the property) that could not be reasonably expected to be repaired for a cost that is less than the amount of the rental bond for the property;
  • having the pet would pose an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of a person, – say, for example, because the pet is a venomous snake;
  • keeping the pet would contravene a law;
  • owning the pet would contravene a body corporate by law or park rule applying to the property;
  • the tenant has not agreed to the reasonable conditions proposed by you for approval to keep the pet;
  • the animal stated in the request is not a pet; or
  • if the property is a moveable dwelling property— that keeping the pet would contravene a condition of a licence applying to the property.

Tenant Disagreement:

If a tenant does not agree with the reasoning given for refusal of their pet application, or the conditions of approval provided by the property owner, asking for their reasoning can be helpful. The tenant may have merit based on the RTRA Act or other related law, which may not have been considered – and should be.

If the landlord has provided compliant conditions of approval, and the tenant does not agree to those, the pet request can be refused. This is due to being under the grounds of the tenant not agreeing to the conditions of approval.

Contact Position One Property – your property management experts – today!

Property Managers Brisbane
Property Managers Brisbane

Position One Property is Here to Help

It’s a times like these that experienced and dedicated property managers are – literally – worth their weight in gold! We’ve been in the business of property management for over 20 years. In that time we have become experts at building great tenant relationships. That means our landlord / property owner clients are able to maximise their investment property potential. With our connections with the Residential Tenancies Authority and our in depth understanding of rental laws and new rules, we work to make everything to do with rental properties so much easier. Whether we’re dealing with body corporate requirements or dispute resolution, bond arrangments or premises repair issues, we’re here to help you.

Contact Position One Property – your property management experts – today!

Property Managers Brisbane

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