Lort Smith welcomes new Victorian tenancy laws

Lort Smith is applauding new laws on pets and renting. As of 2 March 2020, Victorian tenants wanting to incorporate a pet into their lifestyle can request their landlord’s consent via the Consumer Affairs Victoria pet request form here.

Regardless of when a lease has commenced, landlords can now not unreasonably refuse a tenant’s request to allow a pet.

Lort Smith CEO, Fiona Webster welcomed the news as common sense.

“Melbourne is home to more than a million dogs and cats; and we know that animals are an important part of many families.”

There are over 29 million pets in Australia[1] – and with Melbourne being home to more than a million dogs and cats alone, there’s little doubt animals are part of the fabric of Victoria.

Located in North Melbourne, Lort Smith, Australia’s largest not-for-profit animal hospital, rehomes around 850 animals every year.

“Sadly, Lort Smith around a third of animals are surrendered due to accommodation issues. While Lort Smith will never euthanise an animal capable of being rehomed, others may not receive another chance.” added Ms Webster.

At Lort Smith, staff regularly see local residents visit the adoption hub to spend time with the animals. They have found some even become volunteers, because they can’t have pets at home and miss the valuable emotional connection of interacting with a cat or dog.

“The human-animal bond is very real and has huge impacts on the health and emotional wellbeing of people in the community,” said Ms Webster.

Despite misplaced claims, there’s no reason to consider pet owners as bad or risky tenants – in fact, the opposite is probably true.

“A well trained and properly cared for pet, with an attentive owner, will cause no more wear and tear to a residential property than a human,” stated Ms Webster.

The new laws do not apply to pets already present before 2 March 2020.  Prior to these changes there were no laws directly covering pets in rented homes.



[1] Animal Medicines Australia (2019) Pet Ownership in Australia 2019 https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ANIM001-Pet-Survey-Report19_v1.7_WEB_high-res.pdf (accessed on 04 March 2020).