Friday, March 31, 2017

What's wrong with keeping a sneaky pet?

Kirsten Robb penned an interesting piece for Domain this week, outlining how real estate agents know when you're keeping a sneaky pet.

Thing is, we know you know, and we know you know we know. We also know that because you know, and because we know you know, you've probably given implied consent for us to keep the pet. It's now just a matter of evidence - and the system works!

Actually, no, it's broken, and Robb's article points us to two key problems that could do with a fix. While discussing how to easily evict a tenant for keeping a sneaky pet, by giving them a termination notice without grounds because keeping a pet is often not actually a breach of a tenancy agreement, Sam Nokes of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria's property management chapter says:
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had owners that would have said yes to a pet, but because the tenants lied and hid it from them, they’ve said no — the dishonestly reflects a general dishonesty.
The first problem is easy enough to spot - landlords using "no grounds" eviction notices to end tenancies after forming a negative view of a tenant. Landlords should always be required to give a reason - one that they are prepared to stand by - when requiring a tenant to leave. The law should provide landlords with some additional grounds for termination, such as "the property is no longer available for rent." They should no longer be able to mask their bad reasons, such as "I have formed the view that the tenant is dishonest", by ending tenancies without grounds.

The idea that tenants have to ask the landlord for permission to keep a pet is the second problem. It encourages dishonesty, and facilitates mistrust, in situations where a landlord might otherwise take a reasonable approach to the matter. Renting laws would be better served by taking any requirement for consent to keep pets out of the equation, by prohibiting the use of "no pets" clauses in tenancy agreements. As we said not long ago, there are some good reasons why landlords should get behind this. Perhaps we can add "because honesty is important" to the list.


  1. Unfortunately, it is not just the landlord you have to convince to let you have a pet. I know of Real Estate Agents who have a blanket ban on pets due to the apparent "hassle" they cause.

    There is already legislation to protect the landlord as the Tenant has to pay for any damage. Most pet owners are responsible people.

    I am extremely lucky that my landlord when I moved into my current property, as a sole parent, let me have the dog and cats as well as the kids. We have now been here eight years and have no plans to move.

    Will landlords and Real Estate Agents learn that Tenants are people too and pets are part of the family?



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