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Renting With a Pet (Qld)

Studies have shown that pet ownership can boost mental and physical health. However, if you are a renter in Queensland, there is currently no right enshrined in the law that allows you to keep a pet. Whether renting with a pet is allowed is dependent upon the terms of the lease. You will need to negotiate this with your landlord when entering into your tenancy agreement.

If you are renting and want to bring a pet into your residence, you will need to negotiate to have your lease amended to allow for this. If a landlord finds that you have a pet on the premises, but you do not have permission, you will be required to remove the pet or vacate the property.

Assistance dogs or guide dogs

A landlord is not allowed to refuse your right to have a guide dog or assistance dog in your rental premises under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009.

Liability for damage done while renting with a pet

If you have a pet living with you in your rental accommodation, you will have to pay for any damage it does to the property during the term of the lease.

Dispute resolution and QCAT

If a dispute arises in connection with renting with a pet, you can apply through the Residential Tenancies Authority to get assistance with resolving the dispute. However, the landlord can refuse to participate in this process. If this occurs, you may be able to apply to QCAT to have a determination made about your dispute.

Body corporate rules and by-laws about renting with a pet

In some circumstances, a landlord may not mind your keeping a pet on the premises. However, they may refuse to allow you to keep a pet due to body corporate rules governing the property. In this situation, you could ask your landlord to apply for an exemption to the body corporate rules for your circumstances.

Sometimes local councils or authorities may have laws preventing pet ownership. Sometimes these by-laws may be able to be challenged. By-laws should never ban anything absolutely and should not be unreasonable.

Recent calls in Queensland to change laws on renting with a pet

Unfortunately, many landlords do not like to allow their tenants to keep pets. In fact, the Residential Tenancies Authority estimates that only about 10% of residential lease agreements allow tenants to have pets on the property. However, six out of ten households in Queensland own a pet. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 25% of pets being surrendered to animal shelters are being so surrendered because the owners have moved to rental premises that are not pet friendly.

Recently there have been calls for the law to be amended in Queensland to be more pet friendly. The proposed changes would allow for the following:

  • Require a landlord to provide “reasonable grounds” for refusing a request made by their tenant to have a pet;
  • Define what “reasonable grounds” could be for refusing a request;
  • Allow landlords to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to order pets be excluded from their property for valid reasons; and
  • Allow “pet bonds” to be paid by renters to landlords (currently this is not allowed in Queensland). This is a special bond paid on top of a normal rental bond specifically to cover the cost of damage that may be done to the property by a pet. Currently, this is not allowed in Queensland.

However, until these proposed laws are passed the current rules to renting with pets apply.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Kathryn Sampias

This article was written by Kathryn Sampias

Kathryn Sampias has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism. Kathryn was admitted to practice in 2005 and practised law for more than eight years, working both in private practice (mainly in defence litigation for professional indemnity disputes) and in the public service for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in enforcement.

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