Renters’ rights in frame
Review addresses pet peeves of tenants, landlords
TERRITORY renters might soon have an easier time finding a property where they can keep a pet, and might be able to bang picture hooks into the wall without having to beg permission from their landlords.
A discussion paper, released yesterday as part of a sweeping review of the Residential Tenancies Act, has proposed a series of 18 reforms and opened up nine questions for public comment.
These include how to make renting easier for dog and cat owners and whether renters should be allowed to make “minor alterations”, like nailing picture hooks into the wall, without asking the landlord.
The paper, which is open for public comment until late August, says some people view pet ownership as a “basic right” but “most” Territory landlords do not allow pets.
Real Estate Institute NT chief executive Quentin Kilian said he had been lobbying for years for landlords to be able to hold a “pet bond” to cover any potential damage.
“We want to encourage more landlords to be comfortable with allowing pets,” he said.
He said the “pet bond” had worked well in Western Australia and South Australia, although the discussion paper, authored by Department of Attorney-General bureaucrats, said there were “equally valid” arguments against it.
“These (arguments) include that the assumption that pets cause nuisance and damage to property is false,” it said.
“Albeit tongue in cheek, it has also been suggested that if pet bonds are to become the norm, regulators should also introduce child bonds given the propensity for children to cause damage.”
Attorney-General Natasha Fyles said she hoped any reforms would address community needs and reflect modern practices.
Mr Kilian said allowing renters to make “minor alterations” without approval “treads on very dangerous ground” and property owners shouldn’t be lumped with the cost of undoing alterations. He said there needed to be a “balance of fairness” between the rights of landlords and renters.