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Pets v tenancy laws: The latest in rental reforms

By Jasmine Siljic
24 October 2022 | 11 minute read
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The NSW government is currently seeking feedback from the community regarding residential tenancy laws.

Two public consultations impacting tenants in NSW could potentially see further changes, following on from rental reforms in 2019

These include rules surrounding pet ownership in rental homes and developments to laws that enable domestic violence victims to terminate their lease. 


“NSW landlords can refuse to allow a tenant to keep an animal without providing any reason — unless it’s an assistance animal,” commented Minister for Fair Trading Victor Dominello, despite the growing popularity of owning a pet. 

Receiving input from tenants and landlords alike would facilitate the NSW government in ensuring pet tenancy laws remain “fit for purpose”. 

Mr Dominello added: “We are aware other jurisdictions have reformed their laws to make it easier to keep pets in rental properties, and we want to hear feedback from tenants, property managers, landlords and the general public on our current rules and whether they should be changed.”

Additionally, legislation enacted on 11 December 2020 allowed professionals working in public sectors to help tenants escape domestic violence situations in a rented home. 

Mr Dominello is now urging feedback on these laws to “reduce some of the barriers preventing victims from fleeing domestic violence and to give greater certainty about ending the tenancy”.

“These laws empower victims of domestic violence to take direct and immediate action to end a fixed-term or periodic tenancy without penalty, including ending a tenancy agreement to protect a dependent child,” he said.

Currently, the legislation surrounding domestic violence protects victims from liability when physical damage is caused during a violent offence. 

A two-week grace period exists where non-perpetrator co-tenant/s receive a reduction on their rent. This enables those fleeing domestic violence to find a new co-tenant or complete an application to the tribunal to terminate their rental agreement. 

Natalie Ward, Minister for Women’s Safety and the Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence, commented that these consultations would support the state government’s response towards minimising family and domestic violence. 

“The 2019 reforms were an important step in reducing the barriers for victim-survivors who need to escape violent circumstances and receive support,” she commented. 

“The NSW government is committed to making sure families feel safe and live free of domestic violence.” 

The community can provide their feedback through two surveys on the NSW government website

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