Is my tenant allowed a pet?
What you need to know
Whether you are a pet lover or not, the upcoming changes to legislation regarding the approval and/or refusal of pets in rental properties in Queensland are fairly significant, and as an investor, you should be aware of how this looks.
Pet Approvals and Refusals
If a tenant requests a pet, it will no longer be enough to simply say no as of October 1st. We will no longer be able to say “no pets permitted.”
There will be a limited number of prescribed reasons why an owner may refuse a pet request, and while these are fairly straightforward, common sense may be required at times.
When a request for a pet is received, the most difficult part for an owner will be removing emotion from the decision. For example, if you have had a bad experience in the past, this will not be grounds to refuse a request. Similarly, if you dislike cats, that is not a sufficient reason to say no if your tenant requests one.
Pet Approval Requirements
The good news is that your pet request may be conditional. Of course, these conditions must be reasonable, which is where common sense comes in. A condition requiring a small, white fluffy lap-dog to remain outside at all times will not suffice. Stipulating that a cat cannot be allowed inside the property isn’t either, especially since we all know that cats go wherever they want (or is that just the furry felines we’ve encountered?).
However, refusing a request for a Great Dane when the property is on the third floor of an apartment complex is unlikely to be viewed as unreasonable. Similarly, refusing to keep chickens as pets in a townhouse with only a small patch of grass in the courtyard, or a miniature pony in a backyard with no shade or shelter. These reasons for refusal are certainly valid.
The new legislation makes it very clear that the tenant is responsible for any damage caused by the pet as well as any nuisance caused.
And, as tempting as it is to request a “pet bond,” we are unable to do so. It has always been illegal. Also, we cannot raise the rent simply because they have a pet – the regulations are clear on this as well.
The Approach of Your Property Team
When requesting a pet, tenants must follow a specific procedure; they cannot simply bring a new pet home and then tell us about it.
We must receive a Pet Request in writing from them (we have a form for that), and we will carefully explain this to our new and existing tenants. If we receive a request for a pet, we will notify you and ask for your instructions.
The most important thing to remember here is that if there are strict timeframes for responding to the tenant. If they do not receive a “yes” or “no” within 14 days of their request, they are automatically granted approval for the pet, regardless of whether it is appropriate or not. When a pet request is received, there is no time to waste.
We will notify the tenants in writing of your instructions, along with the approval conditions or, if applicable, the grounds for refusal.
If the tenant does not agree with the conditions or objects to a refusal, they can go to tribunal, and QCAT will decide for all parties involved.
Things to Keep in Mind
This new legislation specifies the steps a tenant must take if they want a pet on their property, which makes the process much more transparent – always a good thing.
If you have any concerns about how this legislative change may affect your personal situation, please contact us and we will work together to develop a plan.
If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about how Your Property Team can help you with investment property, click here to get in touch, we’re ready to help!
Please keep in mind that this post is not intended to provide financial or legal advice. Before making any decisions for yourself, please speak with your expert financial and legal advisors.