A Minns Labor Government will make it easier for renters to have a pet in New South Wales, by introducing a new fairer and more streamlined application process.
Currently, a landlord is able to decline a tenant's request for a pet for no specific reason, and is under no timeframe to consider a request.
Almost two thirds of Australian households have a pet today. At the same time, around one third of New South Wales residents live in rented properties – that is more than 2 million people.
Under Labor, rules for renters with pets will be fairer. Renters will be able to complete a simple pet request form, with owners required to make a decision within 21 days. If property owners choose to refuse a request, they will have to provide a reason to the renter.
This does not guarantee renters will be able to have a pet, but it will make it easier to apply to have one. If the owner fails to respond, the pet request will automatically be approved.  
NSW Labor will also establish a list of prescribed reasons for refusal, similar to those operating in Queensland, to be determined by NSW Labor’s recently announced Rental Commissioner.
Refusing to allow pets as a blanket rule restricts a renters’ ability to find appropriate and affordable housing. Renters compete for a limited number of pet friendly properties, making many of them unaffordable or difficult to acquire.
A lack of pet-friendly rentals can also be a major barrier for people experiencing and trying to leave domestic violence situations.
This can lead to pets being given up to shelters or abandoned – the RSPCA had more than 27,000 animals in its care over Christmas, citing rental restrictions as a key reason behind the influx.
This policy will work in tandem with NSW Labor’s already announced rental commitments which will deliver fairer rental rules for renters and owners by providing more certainty as well as flexibility in leasing arrangements.
This builds on Labor’s comprehensive plan to making renting fairer and more affordable for people in New South Wales including:

  • Establishing a NSW Rental Commissioner to be an advocate and voice for renters, working closely with both renters and owners, along with government and stakeholders;
  • Introducing a portable bonds scheme to help relieve some of the cost pressures of moving homes by allowing renters to transfer their bond from one property to another;
  • Introducing a limited number of reasons for eviction;
  • Banning secret rent bidding to ensure more transparency for renters;
  • Increasing housing supply by looking at transport land holdings close to public transport; and
  • Targeting 30 per cent social, affordable, and universal housing on surplus public land, including an audit of all available public land close to Metro stations and infrastructure 

NSW Labor has also announced it will hold a Renter’s Roundtable this month, bringing together the NSW Tenants Union, Real Estate Institute of NSW, Tenancy Advocacy Services, Community Legal Centres and community organisations to discuss what is needed to make renting fairer and ways to ease cost of living pressures.
In Sydney, rents for units increased by 14.6 per cent in the last 12 months - the steepest rise ever recorded.

Moreover, over 35 per cent of tenanted households in NSW are in rental stress over this period (paid rent greater than 30 per cent of household income).
Despite the clear need for action on the rental crisis in New South Wales, the Liberal-National Government voted against NSW Labor’s legislation for renters when Parliament was recalled in December 2022.  
Chris Minns, NSW Labor Leader said:
“For many people pets are family, and it can be a huge hurdle and barrier when looking for a rental property.”
“Just because a person lives in a rental, it doesn’t mean they can’t make it a home, and for so many people renting across our state that includes a family pet.”
“Under NSW Labor the rules will be simpler and fairer for both renters and owners.

‘Labor’s plan will streamline the process and set a firm deadline so that renters can have more certainty.
“It’s clear the current rental system in New South Wales is far more complex than it needs to be, at a benefit to no one. At the core of our policies is a desire to make the stressful task of finding a new rental simpler.”
Courtney Houssos, NSW Shadow Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation:
“These changes will modernise New South Wales rental rules and bring us in line with most other states where this process has worked well.”
“We are seeing more people renting for their whole lives. We want to encourage pet ownership, even if you can’t own your own home.”
“The simplification of this process balances both the rights of renters and owners. Renters have a clear and transparent process to apply to have a pet, while owners can still outline protections for their property, or specific grounds for refusing.”   

Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill:
"For many people pets are family, but they’re often a huge barrier when it comes to looking for a rental property.

"That’s just not fair. So a Chris Minns Labor Government will change the rules to make things simpler and fairer for renters with pets."