Having a Cat in a Rental without Owner Permission

So we asked our landlord if we could get a dog, they said it shouldn't be an issue given there had been pets in the apartment with a prior tenant and same owner, and almost every apartment in this complex has a dog in it, but they would ask the owner and let us know. We didn't get a response so we asked again a few weeks later. Never heard back.

Welp, instead we have a rescue kitten. How are they likely to react in an inspection? She's purely an inside cat, has had 0 misses of the kitty litter, and the floor isn't carpeted anyway.

I know we shouldn't have done it, but it is what it is. Will they flip out and demand we get rid of it? NSW btw

EDIT: inspection is all over, i'm not sure how some of you keep your houses/animals but in the 100 seconds the agent was in the house they didn't have any issue (I was hanging out in the garden with the cat). My understanding now after much consultation/advice/abuse is that if the contract had a clause for pets (it didn't) then the agent could threaten to evict me if I didn't get rid of the cat, or start a court process to get me evicted. In a house which has previously had pets that wasn't very likely anyway but it doesn't matter now, wasn't worth the risk.

And if anyone was wondering, here she is in all her glory https://imgur.com/a/qDdqQgu


  • +86 votes

    Will they flip out and demand we get rid of it?

    Are you seriously asking us to guess your landlord's reaction?

  • +15 votes

    You should put yourself in their shoes. If you had a property and someone had a cat in it without your consent, how would you feel?

    I'd be pretty annoyed.

    • +11 votes

      And I wouldn’t give a toss provided the people cleaned properly. Clean up sills promptly, use the pet odour remover stuff, give the place an air, watch out for fleas, get a scratching post.

      • +19 votes

        But I bet you'd appreciate it more if they'd asked first.

        • +12 votes

          which OP has done twice with no response

          If you were concerned about your property as an owner you'd think you'd want to respond to requests of this nature pretty timely

      • +4 votes

        Cats will scratch wooden door panels, walls, flooring. What are you going to do? Replace them all secretly?

        • +6 votes

          Never had that problem but I have plenty of scratching posts. However, kids are a nightmare and people don’t need permission from the landlord to have one of them.

          • +1 vote

            @try2bhelpful: I have scratching posts too but they don't always want to use them.

          • +2 votes

            @try2bhelpful: This is so true

            Kids destroy way more stuff (looking at younger self) than what my dog and cat are capable of even doing even if they tried…


            @try2bhelpful: Thing is that with the application you state if you have kids. Then the landlord decides against you. And I am sure that many landlords, once the tenants have kids. will do their utmost to get the family out. Nice society we live here. Comparing kids to dogs and cats. How selfish have we become ( Not me, I have two kids )

            • +1 vote

              @cameldownunder: Lol even bringing up the comparison. I love my cats but yes you would have to declare them as well as children so I don't get what that other guy's point was about children doing more damage.

    • -2 votes

      I mean, I really don't think I'd care? The apartment is expected to be cleaned to a reasonable level of what it was like before we moved in, irrespective of a small cat. She can't get out to kill any animals, she poops/pees in the same spot every day which I clean and cover the smell at least daily, there is no carpet for her to ruin and cats are much less prone to having the toilet accidents dogs have, and I'm waiting to one day give her a bath but so far she still has no smell at all.

    • -6 votes


      all pretty bad without warning!


      Only in Australia.

      In other countries the landlord hasn't got any say on that. That'd be a more normal situation. Australia is not the norm when it comes to renter rights.

  • +13 votes

    Laws are changing in Victoria where you can own pets without the owners permission.

    • +3 votes

      Yeah I've seen the push for that in NSW but it hasn't happened yet


        I think NSW is in the progress to do it now.

        Check if your strata getting a new by-law written.

        But a think an approval is bare minimum to have a pet in their apartment

    • +2 votes


      In Victoria, tenants will have the right to keep pets, provided they obtain the landlord’s written consent first which can only be refused by order of VCAT. The onus will be on the landlord to get approval from VCAT to refuse consent to a pet, once they have received the request from the renter.

      In the case of an assistance dog, consent cannot be refused at all.

      Guidance will be issued to help landlords and tenants understand the types of situations where it may be reasonable to refuse consent.

      An outgoing tenant may be required to undertake cleaning and fumigation if there is pet-related damage to the property that goes beyond fair wear and tear. This is consistent with their existing duty not to damage the property and to leave it in a reasonably clean condition.


      As another comment here mentions, this is absolutely not true. You still need express written permission from your landlord. And the ruling for rental reform does not come into effect until next year (June I believe), and last but not least there is still no indication of how VCAT will rule when it comes to landlords seeking to refuse pets. We currently have no idea what the framework will be surrounding the legitimate reasons for landlords to reject pets.

      Only time will tell.

  • +18 votes

    Best to take kitty out for a date when you have your inspections..

  • +3 votes

    The landlord had to check with the owner? Huh?

    The short answer is you have taken an animal in without consent. Whether it's a dog or a cat is of little consequence (I can assure you, both can stink up a joint quick smart).

    Others will be more familiar with the ins and outs of this, but you are setting yourself up for a problem however it ends up being resolved.

  • +4 votes

    Dear OP,

    You are a legend for giving a rescue cat a good home and safe space!

    We are cat lovers, foster carers, volunteers for our local cat charity.

    That said, on the day of inspection, make sure there are no cat products laying around and take the cat out for the day.

    If they do find out - very unlikely if you do the above* - the landlord may accept it or may not. If they don't accept it, you can either give up the cat but why would you /// or you refuse and they can terminate your lease. They need to serve you a notice of termination, then give you time to leave, and if you refuse, they can go to the tribunal to seek a possession order. If you refuse to leave then, expect the sheriff and a locksmith on your front door.

    Good luck and thanks again.

    ps. we were renting for three years, never had an issue in 6+ inspections.

    • +6 votes

      OP is a saint for giving a foster kitten a home. OP is decidedly the opposite for knowing they shouldn't have done something, and going ahead and doing it anyway and only after caring about the consequences. Christ, some people here need a second brain cell to rub together…

      • +3 votes

        We knew full well we couldn't have cats in our rental flat and the consequences; we knew the chacnes of being caught was close to zero. We owned two other apartments in the same block, so we could have kicked one of them out if necessary.

        That said, as a landlord and then a renter as well, we could easily see both sides.

        The landlord generally does not know everything that happens in a property. They could be running a sex joint, have six students living in a bedroom or whatever but if there are no complaints from others or if on the day of inspection, everything looks normal - then we just accept it. There is no lease that I know of that will ever allow a random inspection and no prospective tenant will agree to such a term.

        • +11 votes

          There isn't both sides. You rent a place and agree that pets should be approved by the landlord. You both agreed to that term.

          What is it about "agreeing to something" that people seem not to understand? I get your practical argument. I'm saying as a matter of principle, your word (at least when in writing and signed) should mean something.

          • +1 vote

            @HighAndDry: Promises, agreements, and principles are broken all the time. Disputes happen all the time, it is the world.

            Look at marriages - for better or worse, to death to us part - yet over 50% end up in divorces.

            Agreeing to something meant something at the time, it doesn't mean anything now - circumstances / choices / risk levels / priorities / and more importantly people change.


            @HighAndDry: In complete fairness we spoke to the real estate agent about our intention to get an animal while we were signing and they were supportive and had no issue with it, only stating they would reach out to the owner to get confirmation. We waited a while and didn't get it, so yeah, we did it anyway under the assumption that we'd either get approval, we'd hide the cat, or we'd give away the cat if he had to. We actually ended up really loving the cat so the last option is out of the question hence why I'm wondering if I chance it and let them see, will they care or not. In the end I've decided not to chance it

          • +2 votes

            @HighAndDry: Got it written in my contracts (automatic forfeiture of bond) and notice to vacate. I've only had one good experience the next couple were disasters,

            Ripped fly screens, damaged built in furniture, pissed in cupboards they hide in, while they're locked away so people don't think there is a cat in the house, some people think of nothing but themselves.

            I know it's not strictly the always the animals fault some people just don't give a crap and the pet is just a thing they wanted till it got too difficult.

        • +2 votes

          We knew full well we couldn't have cats in our rental flat and the consequences; we knew the chacnes of being caught was close to zero.

          This is really disrespectful behaviour and you appear to be proud of it..

          • +1 vote

            @chriise: Very actually, the rental property was left in a better condition than when we received it according to the agent - and the bond refund was fast! :P

            Our rent was paid always on time and in 3.5 years of rental did not even raise a single issue / fault.

            When the agents wanted to view the property for their twice per year inspections, we told them go for it, they had a spare set of keys and could access the unit without us there :p

            Ask any agent and they generally have an idea if a tenant is good or not. Guess we presented well :p


        "only after"? I did ask beforehand. Multiple times. And now I'm planning for the inspection before it happens, not after. I knew the risk the entire step of the way and have been very cognisant of the repercussions, this is not a matter of intelligence, I made a choice to be ready to ask for forgiveness since my requests for permission went unanswered.

        Weighing up all of the context I think it's unlikely that we'd be kicked out of the house over it but if that were a concern, I'd hide the cat (which is what I'll plan to do). Adopting a kitten doesn't make me less intelligent than you, friend, especially if I manage to get away with it the way I intend to.

  • +11 votes

    If they ever wanted to kick you out or keep your bond you’ve just given them a great excuse. Call the real estate agent and follow-up properly. No answer is not consent! (Good job with the cat btw)


      You can't just keep a bond.
      You need to provide full evidence of damage before any Tribunal will allow bond to goto landlord (plus quotes).

  • +32 votes

    I know we shouldn't have done it, but it is what it is.

    I love cats, but WTF is this? Seriously, people like you piss me off.

    • +2 votes

      Bruh, YOLO

    • -31 votes

      Ask for forgiveness not permission - or ask for forgiveness after asking for permission a few times.

      You people act like you haven't made impulse decisions before, on a website that is literally designed to encourage impulse decisions. Get over yourselves.

      • +5 votes

        There's a difference between an impulse decision to buy something - which everyone is legally entitled to do, and an impulse decision that breaks your lease, which you're decidedly not entitled to do.

        You can see that difference, right?

        • +10 votes

          (…) an impulse decision that breaks your lease, which you're decidedly not entitled to do.

          There is no term in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) that prohibits a tenant from keeping a pet, or that requires them to ask for the landlord’s consent before they keep a pet.

          @HnD , where are you getting your info from?

          Some landlords may include a clause restricting pets in the residential tenancy agreement, and there is no specific ban on them doing so. Op, do you specifically have such a clause in your lease agreement?

  • +5 votes

    If the owner previously allowed dogs in the apartment, having a kitten shouldn't be any problems. That said, you still need to get approval from them but I wouldn't stress too much about it.

  • +8 votes

    I know we shouldn't have done it

    Cats can make great pets but if it was my property and I was looking for a reason to terminate the contract you've just given me one.


      Good luck with that.


      There is no term in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) that prohibits you from keeping a pet, or that requires you to ask for your landlord’s consent before you keep a pet.
      However, many landlords will include a clause restricting pets in the residential tenancy agreement

      A landlord CANNOT remove someone just because - look up: Retaliatory eviction

      Only IF they have breached, and then maybe.

  • +3 votes

    What if the owner is okay with dogs but not cats because they have severe allergies to cats?

    • -1 vote

      In case they have an allergic reaction after our end of lease clean..?

      • +1 vote

        Who knows. You're asking for possibilities for the landlord to specifically refuse cats.

        Here's one.

      • +3 votes

        The lease clean does bugger all for getting rid of the allergens for someone truly allergic to cats. As someone very allergic to most cats, I've had reactions well after 12 months after the cats have left the property. Not like sniffles reactions, I'm talking looking like a lobster who's using onion eye drops and snorting chili flakes within a couple of minutes walking into a property.

        Just ask the real estate and get it sorted up front so you don't jeopardise the lease. Cat allergies are more common than dogs - all it takes an agent that's allergic to cats to walk in and you'll be caught out. When my sister was in real estate, she caught a few tenants out as she's nearly as allergic as I am.


        As someone who is asthmatic, allergic to cats, and has been hospitalised and nearly died from exposure to cat dander, I think people like you are incredibly ignorant, and incredibly selfish.


        You would be horrified at the actual mess a cat can make you live there and don't smell it, hair gets every where, I've had to replace pee soaked cupboards.

        All because someone wanted a pet where they weren't allowed to have and still went ahead and got it to prove a point then kept it locked up. (claiming it's an inside cat)

        Of course it's an inside cat, it has no choice people don't think of the animal and the effects on it either.

        I can't wait for the shoe to be on the other foot for you.

    • +1 vote

      Yep, I allow an outside dog in my rental but zero chance of a cat.

      I'm allergic to cats, so the tenant would be getting a breach notice immediately if a cat was found in the house. I highly doubt an end of lease clean would be thorough enough to remove all cat allergens.

  • +2 votes

    My lease said no dogs or cats but the estate agent verbally approved occassional visits by 2x non-shedding dogs.

    2 non-shedding dogs stayed on a Saturday night. My neighbour complained (they get a bottle of Moet from the owner every time they have a proven complaint). I had a call from the estate agent monday afternoon and a 1st and final warning email Tuesday morning. The EA that gave the verbal approval had been sacked from the firm because he made promises he couldn't keep.

    I made formal application. It got rejected. Dogs didn't stay again. I left at the end of the 6 month lease.

    • +1 vote

      Seems to have worked as intended - though yeah, should never rely on a verbal anything in these. And:

      My neighbour complained (they get a bottle of Moet from the owner every time they have a proven complaint).

      Don't know if ingenious or Gestapo. Considering what the EA did, the owners were obviously right to be worried.

      • +1 vote

        They were a couple of nasty cows.

        What do you do when your girlfriend walks in with a housewarming gift of $200 of fancy groceries from Fourth Village Providore, a bottle of Croser, 2 fluffy dogs and she's brought her toothbrush? "Sorry. You'll have to go home tonight. I still haven't got official permission for the dogs."

        In the end I got all my bond back and a reference from the EA saying I was an exemplary tenant that left the apartment better than when I arrived.

  • +5 votes

    Don't know about NSW but in Vic :

    (…) a landlord or owner cannot serve a tenant or resident with a Notice for breach of duty simply for breaking a ‘no pets’ clause in a tenancy agreement, if there has not been damage or nuisance.


    Edit: As a landlord, I've never had an issue with my tenants having pets so long as they took care of the property.

    • +2 votes

      This is the sort of info I was looking for, thank you. The property is in great condition despite the last tenants leaving it in a pretty poor state, it doesn't seem like the real estate agency is too anal

      • +5 votes

        This is the sort of info I was looking for

        Comments patting you on the head and telling you what you want to hear? (And even then, only reading part of it?)

        Don't know about NSW but in Vic :

        Because in NSW (where you are) there is no such rule.

        • +1 vote

          There is no term in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) that prohibits you from keeping a pet, or that requires you to ask for your landlord’s consent before you keep a pet.
          However, many landlords will include a clause restricting pets in the residential tenancy agreement.

          Is a clause in your Lease?

  • +8 votes

    Hope you continue looking after the rescue cat after you get kicked out. You sound very irresponsible, please take care of the cat

  • +2 votes

    I've got 2 cats with no carpet and one of them scratches the walls and doors and as much as I like cats when I rent out my house I would not want tenants to have any pets including cats as they scratch things and can even have pooping accidents. If I find out they have any pets and I see damage I'll keep the bond.

  • +4 votes

    You'll be fine. In fact, why stop at one?


      Lol yeah buy a few more rescues and even if you lose the bond or get kicked out at least you've rescued some animals.

  • +3 votes

    Someone said put yourself in owner shoes, Ok I did that. I give an apartment or a house to someone with a specific condition, at the end of the lease I expect the same condition. If there is a scratch on the wall or carpet is dirty, I'll charge the tenant for it. In fact I believe there is a better chance that a kid damages my place than a dog or cat. My partner is a doctor and she see kids with flea at least once a week. So I really don't understand the owners who don't let the tenant have their pets for these stupid excuses

    • -2 votes

      There's a serious lack of imagination here. You might not care about your tenants having pets, but:

      I give an apartment or a house to someone with a specific condition, at the end of the lease I expect the same condition.

      You care about this. What if the tenants blatantly ignored this aspect of the lease too?

      So I really don't understand

      Yes, I did notice.

      • +3 votes

        What if the tenants blatantly ignored this aspect of the lease too

        I thought OP said there is nothing on the Lease regarding to no pets clause.

        OP didn't disregard any part of the lease…

        Yes, I did notice.

        seem like you are very upset about people having pets in rental properties

  • Top