More Victorian pet owners forced to give up animals to secure rentals despite changes to laws in 2020

More pet owners are being forced to surrender their animals to secure a rental as competition for housing in Victoria intensifies.

Despite changes to the state’s laws in 2020 giving tenants the right to own an animal, Melbourne’s Lost Dogs’ Home has revealed the number of pets surrendered due to “moving/no pets allowed” has jumped 47 per cent since 2021.

An increasingly competitive rental market means landlords are often able to “pick and choose” tenants, leaving pet owners at the bottom of the pile, the rescue home said.

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‘’It’s in times of crisis when our animals can become our main source of social support and comfort,” Lost Dogs’ Home spokeswoman Suzana Talevski said.

‘”If someone is forced to give up a pet in order to find housing, research suggests this can have significant emotional and mental wellbeing impacts.”

The Lost Dogs’ Home has introduced a program to stop animals from being separated from their owners due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Pet owners are connected with a “pet and family advocate” who will help identify the support needed to prevent their animal from being surrendered.

‘’The most vulnerable people have the strongest bond with their pets and are the most at risk of losing them,” Talevski said.

‘’We hope this new initiative will keep as many pets and their humans home together.”

Victorian laws introduced in 2020 give renters the right to keep pets at their rental properties, but they must gain written consent to do so.

Landlords cannot unreasonably deny consent, and must prove it is reasonable to do so through an order from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

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