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Melbourne Real Estate Weekly Recap. Episode 2 - Pets? What are my rights as an owner

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Weekly Recap
Tim Ash
Tim Ash
July 20, 2022
minute read

Top 3 questions I get asked on a weekly basis answered:

Information on what owners can do about Pets:


What can you do about pets?

As an owner can I reject a pet?

What if I feel my property isn't suitable for a pet?

What can I do if a renter signs a lease and two weeks into the lease they request a pet?

Do I have the right to say no you can't have a pet at my property?

I'm going to do is I’m going to run through the process on happens and then I’ll refer to the

legislation and I’ll also discuss what VCAT have said all the few cases that have been heard about pets.

The reason they've only heard a handful of cases is there's quite a significant backlog at VCAT at the moment.

This was due to Covid, to give you an idea bond and compensation claims you are roughly waiting between six to nine months,  pet hearings usually 11 to 12 months, that's how long it would take to make a decision on the pet.

VCAT have also implemented a process called on the papers and what this is to clear the backlog is sometimes they're not even having a hearing they will just make a order based on the paperwork submitted.

So these are the reasons why I’m going to refer to the legislation because there's a key word which is "reasonable" and if you can't prove that it's unreasonable for the pet to be at your property then it's likely they would probably just make a decision to say that the renter can have the pet at your property.


In the situation if a tenant would like to get a dog at your property they have to fill out an application form that they get from consumer affairs,  you as the owner have then 14days to either accept or reject that application for the tenant to keep the pet, if you decide to reject the application we then have to make an application to VCAT on the grounds that you feel it's unreasonable for the pet to be kept at your property.

We then issue that notice to the tenant and then it the decision gets delegated to VCAT to make, if VCAT rules in the tenants favour then there's really not much you can do to prevent the pet from being your in your property.

 I'll run through the legislation and just interpret and it as we go along so you can understand what VCAT would deem as reasonable and unreasonable.


Division 5b covers pets in the residential tenancies act

Under 71c residential rental providers must not unreasonably refuse consent to keep a pet on the rented premises.

what would be unreasonable?

Well in the cases that VCAT have had on this just because you don't want the pet in the property as the owner or you think the pet's going to damage the property, or you just don't like pets is not a reasonable according to legislation to not have a pet kept at the property.

So if those are sort of the reasons that you're thinking of it's likely that VCAT will rule in the tenants favour and they would then be able to have a pet at your at your property.


Under section 71D - Residential rental provider may refuse consent to keep a pet on rented premises or exclude a pet from rented premises and may apply to the tribunal for an order that is reasonable for the rental provider to refuse to keep a pet on the premises.

So bear in mind that you can apply to VCAT to object to the tenant in getting a pet and technically the tenant isn't meant to get a pet until VCAT has had the hearing.

71D section 2 - A residential rental provider who recently believes that a renter is keeping a pet on the rented premises without consent and may apply to the tribunal order to exclude the pet from the rented premises.

Under this section the only thing you can apply for in is to exclude the pet from the lease, you can't go for possession even if they have breached the pet clause in the lease and gotten a pet without permission.


There hasn't been a case unfortunately where VCAT have rejected the pet, every single time VCAT have ruled in the tenants favour to keep a pet at the rented premises.

The reasons that they state that you that they would rule against the tenant having a pet at the rented premises are the following:

·        Whether the character and nature of the rented premises isn't friendly for pets.

·        The character and nature of the appliances fixtures and fittings on the rented premises.

·        Whether refusing consent to keep a pet on therented premises is permitted under any act so this would be say keeping a farm animal at a residential rental property.

·        Any other reason they deemed reasonable, if they make the order to remove the pet they then they have to specify a date as to which the pet is to be removed from the property.

So that pretty much sums it up what VCAT deemed as unreasonable.


There aren't really too many outs in this situation because even if they do get a pet without permission you would still have to apply to VCAT and prove under those four reasons why the pet needs to be excluded from the lease.

If the pet is causing damage or the property is filthy because of the pet rather than try breach the tenant on the basis of the pet doing the wrong thing you would be better served breaching under damage and cleanliness.

After successive breaches you can apply to VCAT for possession should they not comply with the three breach notices.


I really hope that this clarifies the pet situation, obviously I know the law does favour the tenants but that's just the way the cookie crumbles.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article and watch this video.

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