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By Leanne Jopson

The pet-friendly laws in each Aussie state

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we work, the way we live, how we interact with others, and also how we feel about our furry friends.

One-third of pet owners added a new pet to their family in the last two years (33%), a decision which was mostly driven by extended lockdowns and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic (58%), according to a new report by Choosi.

You could say the data is unsurprising given pets make their owners much happier, they positively influence their mental well-being and physical health, as well as mood and stress levels.

This was particularly the case during COVID-19 lockdowns, with 42% of pet owners saying that their pets helped them avoid loneliness.

But while there are many pros to welcoming a new pet into the household, there is one rather large con - finding somewhere to live.

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According to the report, 79% of pet owners say that the increased needs and requirements that come with pet ownership make it difficult to find a property to live in.

And is especially problematic during the current rental crisis where low vacancy rates and sky-high prices are making securing a rental harder than ever.

While many said that finding a rental property with enough internal space, outside space, secure fencing, and a pet-friendly neighbourhood are the main issues, landlords prohibiting pets is also a significant problem.

In some cases where strata are involved, even property owners may find they’re discouraged or even banned from having a pet on their property.

Thankfully for pet owners, the rules and regulations around rental properties and pets are changing, although these vary across the country.

Here are the key characteristics of the laws in each Aussie state.

NSW pet laws

For renters

According to, there is no term in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 that prohibits a renter from keeping a pet, or that requires you to ask for your landlord’s consent before you keep a pet.

But, many landlords will include a clause restricting pets in the residential tenancy agreement (i.e. your lease), and there is no specific ban on them doing so.

The standard form of the residential tenancy agreement issued by NSW Fair Trading includes additional terms which require you to have your landlord’s consent to keep animals. Additional terms may be crossed out when you and the landlord sign the agreement, but if they are not crossed out, they will apply to your agreement.

Landlords and agents sometimes ask for additional amounts of bond (that is, over and above the usual four weeks’ bond) if you keep a pet, but this is against the law.

For Strata

Meanwhile for owners, in August 2021, new regulations relating to the keeping of animals and by-laws came into effect for strata laws in NSW.

Strata schemes may have a by-law about the keeping of animals but a by-law can only prohibit pets where the keeping of an animal would unreasonably interfere or impact other occupants.

The Strata Schemes Management Regulation specifies the range of circumstances that are considered 'unreasonable interference’.

Blanket up-front bans on animals cannot be imposed.

VIC pet laws

For renters

In Victoria, renters who want to have a pet on the property must ask their rental provider (landlord) for permission.

The landlord then has 14 days to decide whether or not to allow the pet and give written consent.

Landlords are only able to refuse if they have permission from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The changes also mean landlords are not permitted to unreasonably reject applications from prospective tenants, on the basis they’ll be accompanied by a pet.

For Strata

Meanwhile, the standard or default Victorian strata building rules do not prohibit pets or require advance permission for strata owners and residents to keep a pet in a strata building.

But, strata buildings can make new and different rules about pets by a three-quarters majority vote, meaning many strata buildings change the standard or model rule about pets to prohibit them.

Owners wanting a pet would then need to apply for approval.

QLD pet laws

For renters

From 1 October 2022, laws in Queensland are changing to make it easier for renters to have a pet.

This will include:

  • A renter can seek the property owner’s permission to keep a pet, and property owners can only refuse a request on identified reasonable grounds, such as keeping the pet would breach laws or by-laws
  • The property owner must respond to a request for a pet in writing within 14 days, or consent is implied
  • The property owner’s consent may be subject to reasonable conditions such as the pet having to be kept outside. A rent increase or a pet bond is not a reasonable condition.

For Strata

In Queensland, the default position about pets in strata buildings is set out under by-law 11 in Schedule 4 of the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 which says that strata residents must have prior strata building approval to bring or keep an animal in the building.

Strata bodies are not allowed to have a blanket ban on pets.

SA pet laws

For renters

SA law instructs tenants to seek permission to keep a pet at a rental property if the signed tenancy agreement requires them to do so.

Landlords can only refuse consent on very specific grounds and with the approval of the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Pet bonds are not allowed but the tenant is responsible for any repairs or additional maintenance due to keeping a pet.

For strata

Similar to Queensland, pet owners in South Australia have to have permission from strata or body corporate before they are able to bring an animal onto the property.

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WA pet laws

For renters

In Western Australia, pets are at a landlord's discretion.

A pet bond is optional and, unlike in other Aussie states, permissible by law - although only one pet bond at a maximum of $260 is allowed to be charged per property, regardless of the number of pets.

Tenants cannot be charged a pet bond for an assistance dog, however.

For strata

When it comes to strata in Western Australia, the keeping of pets is at the discretion of the strata council or body corporate.

ACT pet laws

For renters

In the ACT, tenants can ask for permission to keep a pet at a property if the signed tenancy agreement requires them to do so.

Landlords can only refuse consent on very specific grounds and with the approval of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Pet bonds are not allowed but the tenant is responsible for any repairs or additional maintenance due to keeping a pet.

For strata

Similar to in Queensland and South Australia, pet owners in the ACT have to have permission from strata or body corporate before they are able to bring an animal onto the property.

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NT pet laws

For renters

As of January 2021, tenants in the Northern Territory need to notify the landlord that they want to bring a pet onto the property and the landlord has 14 days to approve or deny the request.

Pet bonds are not allowed.

For strata

Similar to in Queensland, South Australia, and ACT, pet owners in the Northern Territory have to have permission from strata or body corporate before they are able to bring an animal onto the property.

TAS pet laws

For renters

In Tasmania, a tenant is only allowed to have a pet at the property if the owner has agreed or it is in the lease.

Landlords are not allowed to charge pet bonds.

For strata

Similar to in Queensland, South Australia, ACT, and the Northern Territory, pet owners in Tasmania have to have permission from strata or body corporate before they are able to bring an animal onto the property.

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In summary

The pet laws, whether for renters or for property owners governed by a strata body, differ vastly depending on where you live.

As one of the world’s most animal-loving nations with some of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, there are plenty of pros to a pet-friendly investment property.

As with all investments, you should start with your due diligence and research which perhaps should include brushing up on the local pet laws for rental properties in your state and also for strata if applicable.

Because here’s the thing…

Thanks to high property prices and an expected uptick in migration now the international borders are open, and the number of renters in Australia is growing… and will continue to.

With more renters, there are going to be more opportunities for landlords to approve pets in their rental properties.

Not only will that make your tenant happier, but they are also likely to stay for longer and treat your property as their and their furry friend's home.

And when it comes to successful property investment, all landlords want a tenant who does that, don't we?

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Why landlords should consider pets

It wasn’t so long ago that most landlords automatically said no when it came to allowing pets on their properties – but as you can see times are changing and sometimes you have no say.

At the same time, allowing pets in the right sort of property makes sense given that the majority of Aussies have a pet, which means most tenants have a furry friend of one persuasion or another.

Previously landlords were too worried about the risk of damage to their properties, but they’ve slowly come to understand that tenants with pets are likely to stay longer, plus pay more for the opportunity, too.

Of course, there are myriad valid reasons why some properties might not be well-suited for pets.

For example, small apartments were clearly not designed to have Irish Wolf Hounds living there, too.

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Strata bylaws usually outline whether pets are permitted in apartments or townhouses, including maximum weights.

This is to help prevent damage and noise from, say, a border collie locked up inside a studio apartment all day.

However, court cases around the country have pushed back on bylaws which are draconian in nature and flatly refused to allow pets who were well suited to that particular dwelling.

Damage is a reasonable concern for landlords, however, tenants are responsible for damage outside normal wear and tear under standard lease agreements as it stands.

Properties with outdoor areas or large balconies are ideal for tenants with pets, as are ones that have tiled floors rather than wooden ones to prevent unnecessary damage from paws.

Given the pet-friendly premium that tenants are willing to pay, it does make financial sense to at least consider whether your property is suitable.

About Leanne Jopson Leanne is National Director of Property Management at Metropole and a Property Professional in every sense of the word. With 20 years' experience in real estate, Leanne brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to maximise returns and minimise stress for their clients.

To anyone reading this - allowing or choosing to place a clause in a residential tenancy agreement that contains an 'outdoor-only' clause for pets almost guarantees animal abuse. It is in no way reasonable when applied to dogs. A dog is a social ...Read full version

1 reply

Poor editing here - the ACT section has been copied & pasted under SA. There's no such thing as the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal in South Australia.

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