Darwin Community Legal Service

Pets in Tenancies

In the Northern Territory, there is no specific regulation regarding pets in tenancies. It will be up to the landlord’s discretion whether they will allow pets, or restrict the amount of types of pets in the premises.

A reference to the landlord generally includes a real estate person acting on the instructions of the landlord.

Obtaining rental accommodation that accommodates pets can be a difficult process. It can also be very upsetting if a person cannot obtain rental accommodation that allows them to live with their pets.

Allowing Pets

A landlord should consider what is reasonable when deciding if they will allow pets to live with you in rented premises. In most circumstances, it would seem reasonable you could have at least one small pet in your premises.

There are examples of where pets may not be allowed. If body corporate or building complexes have specific rules prohibiting pets. Larger pets such as horses may be prohibited by Council by-laws or a limit placed as to how many are permitted.

If a landlord includes or wants to include a ‘nopet clause’ in your tenancy agreement and you believe this is unreasonable, you have the opportunity to negotiate with your landlord. You may also be able to apply to the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘NTCAT’) to remove or change the clause on grounds of it being a harsh or unconscionable term of the tenancy.

Flea and Tick Spray

Clauses in the tenancy agreement for flea and tick spray at the premises may be valid where you have had pets throughout the tenancy. This may be an unfair clause where no pets, or only pets where this is unlikely to be a risk, have lived at the premises. You have the opportunity to apply to the NTCAT to remove or change the clause. If you are concerned about a similar clause in their tenancy agreement, seek legal advice.

Pet Tenancy Agreements or Applications

It is not permitted for a landlord to request a ‘pet tenancy agreement’ or ‘pet bond’ under the Residential Tenancies Act 1999 (NT). A pet should have no bearing on your rental application as a landlord already has protections in the tenancy agreement in the event any damage or nuisance is caused.

My lease won’t allow pets

NTCAT can terminate a tenancy if pets are found without the landlord’s permission. In the instance, you have signed a tenancy agreement that includes a ‘no pet clause’ and the landlord discovers a pet living in the premises, you may be in breach of your tenancy agreement. The landlord could issue a notice to remedy breach against you, and if you continue to live with the pet in the premises, the landlord can proceed to NTCAT to terminate the tenancy.

Damage caused by pets

Any damages caused to the premises by pets will leave you responsible for the damage. At the end of tenancy, you must return the premises in a reasonably clean condition. If a pet has left any marks or mess, you should try to return the premises clean in a similar condition to entry to the premises

 

Darwin Community Legal Service 2017: Non-profit community groups have permission to reproduce parts of this publication as long as the original meaning is retained and proper credit is given to DCLS, as the publisher.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is a guide to the law in the Northern Territory. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer about your particular legal issue. The information contained in this factsheet is current as at November 2017.