Integrating animal emergency management in NSW rental laws

The New South Wales Government is now calling for submissions on their residential tenancy laws, specifically around keeping pets in rental accommodation. We know it is hard at the best of times to find pet friendly rental accommodation, but following floods, fires and other disasters, the housing stock is even more in demand at a time where families are highly impacted and stressed, and needing to be kept together.

Have your say about ensuring NSW becomes the leading state in animal-inclusive resilience, by supporting that during and following major emergencies that pet ownership is not a barrier to access short term accommodation.

Make your submission at https://www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/pets-in-rental-homes by Friday 5pm (AEST), 2 December 2022.

If you are seeking some wording to support pets being given increased protections during and following disasters, you are welcome to copy/edit the content below.

The laws should be similar to that passed in Victoria, with the addition that during and following (in immediate recovery phase i.e. >6 months) a state of emergency, tenants should not be refused to keep companion animals in any new tenancy agreements. Beyond the >6 month recovery phase (accepting this phase often takes years to occur), the tenant shall continue to be permitted to keep such companion animals unless the landlord formally objects to the tribunal for a ruling. The number of companion animals permitted at the property shall comply with any laws set by local government area or legal instrument. This however such new provisions, would not remove the right for landlords to seek costs for any damage caused by such companion animals.

Sample Submission

With increasing natural hazard events such as floods and fires, the lack of pet friendly rental accommodation will continue to increase and this can force guardians of such animals to place themselves in vulnerable environments such as rough sleeping (in cars, unsafe conditions) in order to maintain their bond with their animals. In doing so, NSW will be improving disaster resilience and protecting both human and animal safety.

Refer to the following publications to substantiate this submission:

Glassey, S. (2022). Animal Disaster Management. In A. Knight, C. Phillips, & P. Sparks (Eds.), Routledge Handbook on Animal Welfare (1st ed., pp. 336–350). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003182351

Graham, T. M., & Rock, M. J. (2018). The spillover effect of a flood on pets and their people: implications for rental housing. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2018.1476863

Kajiwara, H. (2020). Surviving with companion animals in Japan: Life after a Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

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