Veterinarians welcome new tenancy reforms for pet owners in Victoria

12 Oct 2017

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has welcomed the announcement made by the Victorian Government this week, that will make renting fairer, including ending discrimination against renters with pets.

AVA President, Dr. Paula Parker said the AVA has been advocating for more pet-friendly accommodation and contributed to the Government’s review.

“In Australia, there needs to be enough appropriate pet-friendly options to accommodate those with pets, and those wanting to keep a pet in the future.

“Australian’s are pet lovers with 62 percent of households having one or more pets, one of the highest household rates of pet ownership in the world.  Furthermore, 88 percent of these households view their pets as important members of the family. Over half of Australians would also like a new pet,” Dr. Parker said.

“Our own research has revealed that while 62 percent of Australians are pet owners, an analysis of over 25,000 homes recently listed for rent across Australia showed that only 19 percent were willing to take pets. In some regions, such as the Melbourne CBD, this was as low as one percent,” she said.

There have been many studies conducted that show a high correlation between pet ownership and enhanced social and health benefits. Owning a pet can contribute to fewer doctor visits and a reduction in stress.1 Studies have also shown that the presence of companion animals can alleviate depression, loneliness, and low morale while dealing with chronic illnesses, and for people diagnosed with heart disease, dementia, and cancer, pets provide positive impacts when coping with these serious diseases.2

Dr. Parker said policies that make it difficult for pet owners to find housing is one of the major factors in people having to give up their pets to animal welfare shelters and contributes to unnecessary shelter euthanasia statistics.

“In Europe, Canada, United Kingdom, and the USA keeping pets in strata and rental accommodation is common practice and we would like this to be the case in Australia.”

The AVA looks forward to seeing the tenancy reforms implemented and will continue to work with governments across Australia for more adequate pet-friendly housing. A copy of the AVA’s submission into the review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 can be viewed here.

  1. Ferry, L.A (2007). Adult Pet Attachments. ProQuest Information and Learning Company. O’Haire, M. (2010). Companion animals and human health: Benefits: challenges and the road ahead. Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, 5, 226-234.
  2. Walsh, F. (2009). Human-Animal Bond 1: The Relational Significance of Companion Animals. Family Process 48(4), 462-480

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 1300 137 309 or media@ava.com.au.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.