New changes to renting laws in the Northern Territory could see an influx of wild animals as pets, with only one thing standing between them and moving a croc into the pool.
As of January 1 2021, renters will be allowed to have whatever pet they like, as long as it is “reasonable”.
The Territory’s Residential Tenancies Act 2019, now presumes tenants have the right to keep pets on a landlord’s property.
All tenants need to do is provide written notice to their landlord describing the proposed pet they want to keep.
If the landlord rejects that application, tenants can then apply to the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NT CAT) which will decide if having the pet on premises is reasonable or not.
The reasonableness test by the NT CAT looks at a number of factors, like the animal type, the nature of the rental home and local government requirements, to determine if it is fit to stay at the property.
Not everyone is in favour of the new changes though.
Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory chief executive Quentin Kilian told NCA NewsWire the “nonsense” laws showed landlords had no right to say happened to their properties.
“A landlord is slowly but surely losing the right to say what goes on in their own property – a property they’ve invested their hard earned money into and the property they’re looking at as their future retirement nest egg,” he said.
“The government is saying the tenant has control over the property. If (tenants) want that much control over a property, then go and buy one.
“That’s where the concept of landlord’s rights falls down because what you’re doing is saying “I object as the owner but don’t have the authority to say no anymore’.”
Mr Kilian said the new laws were putting off potential homeowners from entering the market.
“We’ve already had a number of emails since the announcement saying people are going to pull their properties off the market or they’re just not going to bother investing in the Territory and that’s my biggest fear.
“We’re just turning the market around and now we’re saying to investors don’t bother looking to the Territory because you won’t have control over your property as a landlord.”
A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s Department said there were boundaries to the reasonable test, where pets considered restricted or prohibited by any other law or by-law would not be accepted.
They said the character and nature of the property — including the appliances, fixtures and fittings on the premises — would also be taken into account.
“An example of a prohibited or restricted pet may be one such as an exotic species of reptile listed as a prohibited import or native animals for which there is no license or permit,” the spokesman said.
“Council by-laws and body corporate rules may restrict allowing a pet (and) should be taken into consideration before providing writing to your landlord.”