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You must have your rental provider (landlord)’s permission in order to have a pet in your rental property.
A rental provider can only refuse your request if they have a good reason for doing so. Rental providers can apply to VCAT for an order to:
Before bringing your pet into your rental property, you should also be aware of the following:
Any animal that you own is a pet – unless that animal is an assistance dog (for example: a guide dog).
There are different laws for assistance dogs. You can find out more about assistance dogs on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
To ask to have a pet in your home, you need to complete an individual Pet Request form (published by Consumer Affairs Victoria) for each pet that you’re requesting permission for, and send the form(s) to the rental provider. You should keep copies of the form(s) for your own records.
It is important that you provide the rental provider with any information that will help them decide if you can have your pet in the property. This might include information about:
The rental provider can only refuse your request if they can get VCAT to agree that it is reasonable for them to say no to your request.
The rental provider has 14 days to respond to your Pet Request form. One of three things need to happen within the 14 days:
The rental provider needs to apply to VCAT if they don’t want you to have a pet within 14 days.
VCAT will then need to decide if it was “reasonable” for the rental provider to say that you can’t have your pet.
You cannot bring your pet into your home whilst you are waiting for VCAT to make a decision.
If your rental provider makes an application to VCAT, you should consider speaking to a lawyer.
As a tenant in a rental property, you need to make sure that:
These things are called “duties.” It is your responsibility to make sure you still do these things once you have a pet in your home.
If you don’t do these things, the rental provider can send you a “Notice of breach of duty”. This notice will tell you to fix the breach or pay for any damage (including and damage caused by your pet(s)), and will tell you to not breach the same duty again. If you don’t comply with this notice, the rental provider can apply to VCAT for a compensation or compliance order.
It is your responsibility to make sure you have complied with any laws about keeping dangerous animals as pets. In Victoria there are special laws if your pet is a restricted breed.
If your pet endangers the safety of your neighbours, your landlord can try to evict you. They can only do this in very extreme situations – for example if your dog attacks your neighbours.
If you receive an immediate notice to vacate, this does not mean you have to move out straight away. You should speak to a lawyer for advice as soon as possible.