The Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act) is the law that governs renting a residential property to live in Queensland. From 1 October 2022, several changes to Queensland’s tenancy laws were introduced, including a new framework for negotiating renting with pets. Here’s what you need to know about renting with pets.

 

What is a pet?

Under the Act, a pet is a domesticated animal or an animal that is dependent on a person for the provision of food or shelter and does not include a working dog or an animal prescribed by the regulation not to be a pet.

Different rules apply for working dogs, which refer to assistance dogs, guide dogs or hearing dogs (as defined under the Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs Act 2009), corrective services dogs or police dogs. A tenant may keep a working dog at the premises without the lessor’s approval.

 

I’m a tenant – I would like to keep a pet in the rental property during my tenancy

During your tenancy, you can seek approval from your lessor to keep a pet at the rental property by completing a Request for approval to keep pet at premises (Form 21) and sending it to your lessor.

A tenant must seek written approval from the lessor to keep a pet at the rental property. It is a significant breach if an animal, other than a working dog, is kept at the premises without the lessor’s approval.

Keep in mind that in addition to the lessor’s consent and approval, a tenant’s ability to keep a pet in the rental property may be limited by house rules, park rules or other applicable laws that form part of your tenancy agreement. For example:

  • Local council laws may limit the number or types of animals that can be kept at the premises.
  • If you live in a unit or a townhouse, the body corporate by-laws may require the tenant to obtain approval from the body corporate before keeping a pet at the premises.

 

I’m a lessor – I have received my tenant’s request to keep a pet in the rental property

The new framework to negotiate renting with a pet will apply to all tenancies from 1 October 2022. If your tenant wishes to keep a pet during their tenancy, they must either apply in writing to your property manager or complete a ‘Request for approval to keep a pet in rental property’ and submit it to you. Once you have received the request, you must respond in writing with your decision within 14 days. You can no longer advertise a property ‘no pets allowed’.

If you approve of the pet, you may specify reasonable conditions in your response for keeping the pet. An example of a reasonable condition would be for the tenant to arrange professional fumigation of the property at the end of their tenancy if the pet is capable of carrying parasites. If you refuse the pet, you must specify a reason that is outlined in the legislation for the refusal.

 

The reasons for refusal could be:

  • Keeping the pet would exceed a reasonable number of animals being kept at the premises.
  • The premises are unsuitable for keeping the pet because of a lack of appropriate fencing, open space or another item necessary to humanely accommodate the pet.
  • Keeping the pet is likely to cause damage to the premises and in addition could or would be likely to result in damage that could not practically be repaired for a cost less than the rental bond for the premises.
  • Keeping the pet would pose an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of a person, including, for example, because the pet is venomous.
  • Keeping the pet would contravene a law.
  • Keeping the pet would contravene a body corporate by-law, house rules or park rules applying to the premises.
  • The tenant has not agreed to the reasonable conditions proposed by the lessor for approval to keep the pet.
  • The animal stated in the request is not a pet.
  • If the premises is a moveable dwelling premises, keeping the pet would contravene a condition of a licence applying to the premises.
  • Other grounds prescribed by regulation.

 

Unreasonable conditions of approval

Conditions that contravene other rights and responsibilities or constitute an offence as outlined in the Act will be null and void. These include:

  • conditions requiring the tenant to agree to buy goods or services from the lessor, a specific person or business
  • conditions requiring the tenant to pay an incentive amount other than rent, a rental bond or other amount required or permitted to be paid under the Act
  • conditions requiring the tenant to pay penalties or liquidated damages
  • increasing the rent or rental bond payable by the tenant
  • requiring any form of security from the tenant.

 

APPROVED REASONS FOR REFUSING A PET IN A RENTAL PROPERTY

Under the Act, a lessor can only refuse a tenant’s request to keep a pet at the rental property based on any of the following reasons:

  1. Keeping the pet would exceed a reasonable number of animals being kept at the property.
  2. The property is unsuitable for keeping the pet because of a lack of appropriate fencing, open space or another item necessary to humanely accommodate the pet.
  3. Keeping the pet is likely to cause damage to the property and in addition could or would be likely to result in damage that could not practically be repaired for a cost less than the rental bond for the premises.
  4. Keeping the pet would pose an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of a person, including, for example, because the pet is venomous.
  5. Keeping the pet would contravene a law.
  6. Keeping the pet would contravene a body corporate by-law, house rules or park rules applying to the property.
  7. The tenant has not agreed to the reasonable conditions proposed by the lessor for approval to keep the pet.
  8. The animal stated in the request is not a pet.
  9. If the property is a moveable dwelling, and keeping the pet would contravene a condition of a licence applying to the property.
  10. Other grounds prescribed by regulation.

A lessor must state the specific reason for refusing the request in their written response and explain how the reason applies to the tenant’s situation and/or stated pet. Simply stating that ‘no pets are allowed’ or their preference of not having a pet at the rental property is not sufficient and will not be a compliant response.

Bella