It’s a Dog’s Life
Last week on Tuesday 18th February, the Northern Territory Gunner Government passed the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Bill allowing tenants to keep pets in their rental property. It is important to note that this amendment does not apply retrospectively, ie. does not apply to tenancies that started prior to the commencement of the bill.
The changes relate to sections 65A and 65B that a tenant may keep a pet (or pets) by providing written notice to a landlord describing the proposed pet/s. The changes have been implemented following justification that pets contribute to human wellbeing, particularly for children. The Department notes that ‘Numerous studies are now finding that especially children in houses that have pets are far more benefitted by the presence of that pet than families who do not’.
Tenants must provide 14 days written notice to the Landlord advising of their intent to keep a pet or pets at the property. They cannot keep pets at the property before the expiry of the 14 days.
If the landlord chooses to object to a pet being kept at the property, they must apply to the Tribunal within the 14 days of receiving written notice from the tenant. It is important that the landlord outlines their reasons why they have objected and and why they consider the property not suitable for the pet.
The pet cannot be kept on the premises until after an order has been made in favour of the tenant.
If a landlord fails to make a decision within the 14 day timeframe, the tenant can keep the pet or pets at the property.
The changes to legislation have been met with less than favourable responses from investors, as well as the Northern Territory’s peak real estate body, the Real Estate Institution of the Northern Territory (REINT). It is seen as a massive infringement on investor and Landlord property rights.
REINT CEO Quentin Killian states concern over taking away the rights of investors, therefore driving investors away from the NT.
“What has occurred in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly today is nothing short of one of the most abysmal decisions made by any Government and shows the short-sightedness of the Attorney General and Gunner Government”, said Mr Killian. (The Real Estate Conversation)
Opponents of the bill believe Tenants and Landlords are more than capable of negotiating pets on premises without it being forcibly applied.
As Property Managers, we encourage allowing pets on-site, however, agree that the decisions of allowing pets on the property should be one made by all parties involved. If you’d like to have your say, you can sign the Petition here.