Property 101: Victoria reviews rules about pets and tenancy

Property 101: Victoria reviews rules about pets and tenancy
Property 101: Victoria reviews rules about pets and tenancy

Rules for keeping a pet in a rental property and the rights of landlords to enter rented premises are among topics Victorians are being asked to have a say on, as part of a Victorian Government review of the state’s rental laws.

Public consultation is underway on the third in a series of issues papers as part of the review.

Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants considers how the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (the Act) sets boundaries around what tenants and landlords can and cannot do throughout the tenancy.

Issues up for discussion include all aspects of letting out a property, from the first application and screening process, to moving in and compensation for ending a lease early.

Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria Simon Cohen said the review is calling for people’s views on matters such as tenants' rights to keep pets and to sub-let a property, tenant privacy and notices to end tenancies.

“The review forms part of the Victorian Government’s Plan for Fairer Safer Housing, and aims to ensure rental laws strike a fair balance between the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords across all forms of rental accommodation,” Mr Cohen said.

“We want to hear people’s views on the issues raised by landlords and tenants, as they exercise their rights and responsibilities during the various stages of a tenancy.

“Make a submission by sharing your story, participating in polls, blogs and discussions through the Fairer Safer Housing website."

Feedback on these issues will help identify how the needs and preferences of Victorian landlords and tenants have changed since the legislation came into effect almost 20 years ago, and indicate areas that should be a priority for reform.

Three more issues papers are scheduled for release in the first half of 2016.

“We want to hear from renters and rental property owners from all corners of the state,” Mr Cohen said.

Details about how you can have your say, including information for culturally and linguistically diverse communities, are available on the Fairer Safer Housing website.

Issues for public consultation include:

  • the tenancy application process and appropriate screening practices
  • information that should be disclosed to a tenant at the start of a tenancy
  • digital technology and the form and service of documents and notices
  • the process to be followed when a landlord or tenant breaches a duty under the Act
  • enforcing additional terms in the tenancy agreement, including rules about pets
  • balancing the right of tenants to quiet enjoyment and the right of landlords to enter premises, particularly where the premises are being sold
  • balancing the interests of landlords and tenants in respect of sub-letting and lease assignments
  • reasons a landlord or tenant can terminate a lease, and rules around compensation for lease breaking
  • what arrangements should apply to goods left behind by a tenant at the end of a tenancy
  • increasing protections for tenants experiencing family violence
  • the conduct of agents acting on behalf of landlords.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

Victoria Rental Laws


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