Greens welcome pets in rental homes

A Greens’ “Renting with Pets” Bill amending residential tenancy laws, that will allow people to rent with their pets, will again be introduced into State Parliament tomorrow.

According to the 2016 Census over 28% of South Australians rent. Yet very few rental properties are advertised as pet-friendly. 259 pets were surrendered to the RSPCA in the 2019 financial year because their owners couldn’t find a pet-friendly rental, and this number increased to 293 pets in 2020.

“Since we introduced the same Greens’ Bill last year, the number of pets being surrendered to the RSPCA because their owners couldn’t secure a rental home that allowed their pet, has increased by 13%. This is a concerning trend and it shows that this reform is now more urgent than ever.” said Greens MLC, Mark Parnell.

“Pets are part of our families, so being told that you’re not allowed to take them with you to your new home is an awful position to be put in. Sadly though, this is a reality for many South Australians.

“I’ve been contacted by many South Australians who’ve share their stories of how difficult it is to rent with pets.

Maria is one renter who shared her story. “I currently live alone and have a pet dog who I might have to give up because my lease is up in February and my rent is too high to renew. There is a serious lack of houses that are near to my work that allow pets, that are at a price I can afford on my own.”

The Bill is based on the renting with pets laws in the ACT and Victoria, which commenced on 1/11/19 and 1/3/20 respectively. The NT also passed similar laws last February, but have delayed commencement due to COVID-19.

Currently the default position of most residential tenancy agreements is that pets are not allowed. The Greens “Renting with Pets” Bill flips this around so that pets are allowed, except in certain circumstances. If a tenant applies to keep a pet and the landlord doesn’t consent, the landlord can apply to SACAT (South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) and SACAT will determine whether the pet can stay, and any conditions that would be imposed, after giving consideration to the circumstances.

“The Greens believe that this is a much fairer system than we currently have where the tenant has no rights at all when it comes to keeping their pets with them. Having to give up your much loved pet in order to have a place to live, is not a choice we think people should have to make” concluded Mark Parnell MLC.