Dog days over after as all Victorian renters allowed pets

Pet rescues believe fewer animals will be surrendered now all Victorian renters can own a pet – but the government is in the dog house with the state’s real estate peak body, who believe the changes will damage the rental market.

Pet Rescue Albury Wodonga’s Ella Bloomfield said the change would be lifesaving, but should also be introduced in NSW.

“It’s absolutely fantastic, but we need it in Albury too,” she said.

“Most surrenders come from people moving houses.

“We have people in tears surrendering loved pets because they have to move and can’t take them with them.

“We encourage people to keep looking, but it’s the cause of most surrenders.”

Premier Daniel Andrews announced reforms to Victoria’s Residential Tenancies Act that will give tenants more rights, allow them to stay on longer leases and make bonds smaller.

Under the changes renters who are refused a pet can appeal to VCAT. 

Ms Bloomfield said pets enhance people’s lives and with more people renting long-term it makes sense to allow animals in rental properties. 

“Even if people pay an extra bond to have a pet, I think most people would welcome it,” she said.

“With the changes more people will be able to keep their animals and more people will be able to adopt.”

Real Estate Industry of Victoria’s chief executive Gil King said it was important landlords had the right to consent to pets as pets can cause substantial damage to a property.

Mr King said the body had previously called for a mandatory pet bond to encourage landlords to accept tenants with animals, but owners need the legal right to a ‘no pets’ clause.

“There’s a lack of clarity around what constitutes a pet under these reforms with the removal of a landlord’s right to consent to pets ultimately reduces the attractiveness of property investment,” he said.

“These reforms will see the loss of a number of landlord rights, including the ability to object to pets, as well as reduce security over what is a significant financial asset.

"All landlords should reconsider whether they want to remain in the private rental market given their rights are being eroded.”