Lort Smith welcomes new rental laws as good news for pets and pet carers

Iconic Melbourne institution Lort Smith is the busiest not-for-profit animal hospital in Australia serving the community for 85 years.

Lort Smith’s Head of Hospital, Dr David Cunliffe said, “We welcome the law changing to allow animals to stay with their people and removing barriers to keeping pets when renting a home.

“At Lort Smith we champion the human-animal bond, and have a unique legacy of compassion for pets and people in our community. We support and see how critical this bond is every day in our hospital and our adoption hub,” he said.

Seeing around 25,000 clients every year Lort Smith’s vets and vet nurses understand how important it is to support people to have their pets with them.

“During COVID-19 where people spent months in lockdown, their companion animals were the only support many people had. We think the majority of pet carers have a sense of responsibility which actually makes them great tenants.

“The law changing to move the onus on property owners to justify why renters cannot have pets with them in their homes is the right move,” said Dr Cunliffe.

The changes to the laws that came into effect this week include:

  • Renters who want to have a pet in the property must ask their rental provider (landlord) for permission.
  • Rental providers must have a good reason to refuse the renter’s request. Rental providers can apply to VCAT for an order to refuse permission.
  • All renters, including those with pets, have a responsibility to keep their rental property clean, avoid damage, and not be a nuisance to others.
  • A pet means any animal except an assistance dog, which is a dog trained to help a person with a disability. Assistance dogs do not count as pets, and people with assistance dogs cannot be discriminated against.

Lort Smith is growing to support more people in our community and opened a second site in Campbellfield on 13 December 2021. This means high-quality, affordable vet care to those in the middle and outer suburbs of Melbourne’s north, north-east and north-west.