The South Australian Government will introduce new draft laws to give tenants the right to own pets in rental properties.
The proposal will stop a landlord from “unreasonably” refusing a tenant from keeping a pet on their property.
The planned changes are part of several measures announced on Sunday.
It comes as animal shelter facilities have experienced surging demand in recent years.
In South Australia, the RSPCA estimates one in five animals left at a shelter are due to an owner being unable to find a pet-friendly rental.
The planned laws
Under the reforms, landlords would be required to compile a list of conditions for a pet to live on their property. This could include keeping some pets outside the home, or requiring carpets to be professionally cleaned at the end of a lease.
If a tenant agrees to the conditions set out for the pet, a landlord won’t be allowed to flat-out refuse an application.
Landlords will only be able to refuse a pet application if they have a “justifiable reason”. This could be due to the property being too small or not having proper fencing, or if the animal presents a safety risk.
Tenants who believe their landlord has offered unreasonable conditions or unfairly refused their application will be able to refer the matter to a state legal tribunal.
Shadow Housing Affordability Minister Michelle Lensink told TDA that while pets are a significant part of people’s lives, the proposal could drive landlords away from the rental market.
“We must avoid anything that would exacerbate [the record shortage of rentals] even further,” Lensink said.
The SA Labor Government has a majority of seats in the Parliament’s Lower House, but will need support from some Upper House members to pass the reforms.
Rest of Australia
SA’s reforms are modelled on similar changes that came into effect in Queensland last year, which only allow landlords to refuse a pet application in reasonable circumstances.
Changes to support pet ownership in rentals have also been added in Victoria, the ACT, and the Northern Territory in recent years.