WIMMERA real estate agents and animal rescue organisations have welcomed incoming changes to rental laws that mean potential tenants with pets cannot reasonably be rejected by landlords.
The changes are part of the state government's broader reform to tenancy laws and come into effect on Monday March 2, with other changes to be brought in by July 1, 2020.
Under the changes a landlord must apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to reject an application to keep a pet.
VCAT may approve the application if the reasons given for rejecting it are considered reasonable.
Horsham Real Estate director Nola Brown said the changes will stop tenants from failing to disclose pet ownership to landlords.
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However, Ms Brown said otherwise the changes will make little difference.
"It's not a great deal of change to be honest," she said. "If a tenant gets a pet (under previous laws) - even if the owner says no pets whatsoever - VCAT will not normally make a determination on the damages until the end of a tenancy."
Ray White Ararat property manager Beck Phillips said staff have been preparing for the changes for months and landlords shouldn't panic.
"I don't think it will be too bad," she said. "When you actually read into (the changes) there are things that are going to help (landlords)."
Rescue organisation Horsham PAWS' president Penny Stemp said animals were surrendered "all the time" because people couldn't find accommodation that accepted pets.
"We had a dog that someone had adopted from us about three years ago that was returned not that long ago ... because they had to move and couldn't find anywhere that would allow the dog," she said.
"Any changes that enable people to keep their pets rather than giving them up is great news for us."
Phoenix Animal Rescue Horsham director Carolyn Stow said the organisation also see lots of animals coming in from people who have had to surrender them to move into rentals for various reasons.
"These animals are very much part of the family," she said. "It is heartbreaking.
"It would be great to see more animals in secure homes."
Ms Stow said some renters have had to make the choice between a roof over their heads for themselves and their children or keeping a pet.
She said the organisation hadn't had a spike in inquiries about adopting yet but welcomed any responsible pet owners to apply and said landlords should not worry too much about the changes.
"It comes down to responsible ownership of animals," she said. "If people are providing their pets with nurture and training then there shouldn't be any need for a pet bond or concern."
"Our current practice is to ask people looking to adopt if they have the permission of their landlord," she said.
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