Keeping Pets in Public Housing

It is now easier to keep your pets in public housing properties. This is because new rules began in March 2020. For all you need to know about the new rules, and your rights and responsibilities as a pet owner, keep reading.

The new rules about pets in public housing

  • From March 2020, you are required to get consent from the Director of Housing to keep a pet in your public housing property. If you already had a pet before these new rules, you only need to follow this process for a new pet. These rules apply to all renters in Victoria.
  • To do this, you need to complete a Pet Request Form and send it to your local Housing Office.
  • If you fail to send a Pet Request Form, the Director of Housing can apply to VCAT for an order, meaning you may not be able to keep your pet at your rental property.
  • You will need a separate Pet Request Form for each individual pet.
  • If you signed your lease before the 2nd of March 2020 and already have a pet, you are not required to do this. You only need to complete a Pet Request Form for new pets.
  • Regardless of when your lease started, the Director of Housing cannot unreasonably refuse to allow you to have a pet.
pets in public housing

If the Director of Housing allows your pet request

  • If the Director consents to your pet request, you will be notified in writing. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of this for your own records.
  • If the Director of Housing has not applied to VCAT to refuse your pet request within 14 days, consent is deemed to be granted.
pets in public housing

If the Director of Housing does not allow your pet request

  • If the Director of Housing does not consent to your pet being kept at your rental property, they have 14 days to apply to VCAT for order to refuse your pet request.
  • You will still have an opportunity to present your case to VCAT, where they will decide to allow or refuse your pet request.
pets in public housing

Other things to know

  • If your public housing property is situated in an estate that is run by an owner’s corporation, there may be special rules that apply to keeping pets in your property. You will need to follow these rules.
  • If you are being offered a public housing property, the suitability of your pet to the property being offered will be discussed with you during your offer interview. Any issues that my lead to a pet request being refused will be discussed with you during this time.
  • If you would like to make some modifications to your property to keep your pet, you will need to get approval from the Director by completing an internal/external works permit. You will need to pay for these modifications yourself. Any non-standard modifications that would significantly alter your property will not be allowed.
  • If your pet damages your property due to negligence or carelessness, you may incur property maintenance charges.
  • Any nuisance or incident caused by your pet are managed in accordance with the Tenancy Breaches Operational Guidelines.
  • As a pet owner, you are responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of the animal as specified in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
  • If you’re unsure, you can also get in touch with us for further advice and assistance, for free. 
pets in public housing