Mixed reaction to proposed rental changes

Landlords might sell up if proposed changes to tenancy laws make it easier for renters to own pets, a Warrnambool real estate agent says.

The state government is pushing a raft of changes to improve tenancy rights as the proportion of people renting grows.

Brian O'Halloran and Co Real Estate director Brian Hancock said making it more difficult for landlords to refuse pets could be problematic.

“A high percentage of people with dogs are responsible people but there is always that element of people that are not so respectful,” he said.

Mr Hancock said the majority of changes were not far from current regulations, but the pet ownership issue would be contentious.

RSPCA Victoria chief executive officer Liz Walker said the move could significantly reduce the number of pets surrendered to shelters.

Barwon South West Homelessness Network regional coordinator Andrew Edgar welcomed the proposed changes, saying increasing the rights of renters would have a positive impact on those struggling.

“The solution to homelessness is not one strategy or another, it’s a combination of a lot of things,” he said.

“But certainly making renting a more secure experience is a good thing.”

The proportion of residents renting in Warrnambool has grown by four per cent since the 2001 census.

The 2016 census showed 3878 people or 30.7 per cent were renting in Warrnambool, above the state average of 28.7 per cent.