Whilst the rumblings are continuing in our State Parliament regarding whether pets in rentals should be left at the discretion of a landlord in South Australia, especially given the current COVID-19 conditions, we thought we would investigate “what is a pet”?
Wikipedia describes a pet as a companion, an animal kept primarily for a person’s company or entertainment rather than as a working animal. Whereas some tenancy agreement gives further details stating, “including reptiles, mammals, birds, poultry or fish”.
If a rental property is advertised “no pets” this means NO pets. Currently a tenancy agreement will state a tenant must not keep ANY animals at the rental property unless they seek written approval from the landlord first. So, if a tenant wishes to keep a bowl of fish or chickens, they still need to get approval first. If a tenant doesn’t, they are in breach of their tenancy agreement and the agent and/or the landlord can issue a breach notice if the animal isn’t removed from the property.
If a rental property is advertised “pets negotiable” this means the tenant must communicate as to what pets are going to stay at the property and the landlord approves this. If during the tenancy something happens to the pet the tenant cannot just replace it without gaining approval from the landlord first.
Tenants will generally know – through the agents and/or landlords’ advertising – whether pets will be allowed at the rental property.
Remember, just because a property is advertised “pets negotiable” at the time a tenant applies for a property (and they don’t have a pet at the time), doesn’t automatically mean they can then purchase a pet during the tenancy OR that the landlord will approve their request to get a pet.
If a tenant (without a pet) is applying for a property advertised “pets negotiable” they still have a responsibility to inform the agent and/or landlord of their intentions on purchasing a pet in the future and what type etc.
Most disputes over pets generally happen because of poor communication or not working within the conditions of the tenancy agreement.
For tenants to avoid any miscommunication put their requests in writing and be specific. Landlords should always respond in writing and be specific.
Call Lisa Akeroyd at Barossa Rental Specialists on 0414 335 660 – or drop into our prominent Tanunda office to discuss your rental strategy.