Tenants' Union backs push for pets in rental properties

The tenants’ union has backed a Victorian push to allow pets at almost all rental properties, but the same support was not shared by the state’s peak real estate body. 

On Sunday, the Victorian government announced it would introduce a raft of rental reforms, including longer leases, allowing pets into almost all properties, faster reimbursements for tenants who pay for urgent repairs, and a crackdown on “dodgy landlords”. 

Tenants’ Union of Tasmania spokesperson Ben Bartl said tenants often had to give up their pets or move away from the city to find an appropriate rental property.

“We’re not saying it should be a blanket allowance, we accept that there are some circumstances where pets are not appropriate in properties,” Mr Bartl said. 

“But generally speaking, we think it is important that tenants be given the opportunity to have a pet, so it’s a reform we would like to see.” 

He said the union would also support a measure for small adjustments to be made to houses by tenants, such as installing wall hooks. 

But Real Estate Institute of Tasmania president Tony Collidge said while he agreed with the creation of a landlord blacklist, there should also be a tenant blacklist.

“The people that I know that are in real estate in Melbourne are saying that this is actually going to drive people away from investing in property,” Mr Collidge said. 

“All the power’s being taken away from the landlord and is being given to the tenant.” 

Building Minister Guy Barnett said the state government was not considering following Victoria’s changes. 

“We do not want to take actions that might discourage homeowners from removing houses from long-term rental accommodation in favour of short-term options such as AirBnB,” Mr Barnett said.