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NSW - Renting With Pets: Your Rights As A Tenant In NSW

Renting with pets - Tenants rights are changing - landlord rights are changing in all States.

The rights of NSW tenants are again in the news, with a push for changed rules regarding pet ownership in rental properties.

Currently, landlords have the power to deny tenants the ability to have pets in their properties.

And while some may try to be sneaky and hide their pets from their landlords, it remains that the tenant may even risk eviction if found to have been deceptive with keeping 'secret' pets due to a breach of the contract term.

Leo Patterson Ross is a senior policy officer at the Tenancy Union of NSW, and explained to the Hit Newsroom what changes are currently being looked at for NSW renters.

"In Victoria they introduced some changes recently which switches it from whether the landlord gets to decide (about having a pet) or the tenant gets to decide," Mr Patterson Ross said.

"Landlords who think that tenants should not be able to have the particular pet that they are proposing to keep would apply to the tribunal to change that."

At the heart of the issue is the right of pet owners to make the call about whether they can keep a pet at the rental property - something which Mr Patterson Ross says should be up to the tenant to decide, with a greater emphasis on the welfare of the pet.

"The key issue is that tenants are adults, and they're making contracts with the landlords on that basis. They are adults capable of making responsible decisions about their lives," he said.

"We don't treat them like that when it comes to pets. We say that you have to ask for permission from your proxy 'mum and dad' - the landlord - and they get to decide whether or not you're responsible enough or adult enough to take care of a pet and take responsibility for any damage that comes."

One key point to consider is that the focus of these rule changes surrounds the initial decision to have a pet. At the end of the lease, it is up to the tenant to ensure that any damage - whether that is from a child, a pet or a reckless housemate - is sorted out.

"It's a big issue for a lot of renters and something that we hear from people about all of the time. It's surprising, frankly, that it's 2018 and it's still an issue that governments are debating"

"Pet owners are responsible currently, it's just that decision at the beginning that is taken away."


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