A woman who sought to keep a cavoodle puppy in a small inner-city apartment has had her application knocked back by a tribunal, which found the puppy would cause unreasonable damage.
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal found in favour of the apartment's lessor, who successfully argued the young, untrained dog would unreasonably damage the apartment by urinating on the carpet and damaging the furniture.
The tenant leased the fully furnished Braddon apartment in early June for six months, waiting to return to her own apartment when its tenants left.
The tribunal heard the tenant had originally intended to get a dog when she moved back into her own apartment, but a cavoodle puppy became available earlier than expected.
The tenant told the tribunal she was working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and believed it was a good opportunity to train a pet, which would have a positive impact on her health and well-being through the isolation of working from home.
Senior tribunal member Heidi Robinson found a cavoodle, a mix of a miniature poodle and King Charles spaniel, was a suitable breed of dog for an apartment and the building was pet friendly.
But the combination of the short-term lease and likelihood a young, untrained puppy would cause damage made the arrangement unsuitable.
Ms Robinson agreed it would be possible to repair any damage but this process would have knock-on consequences for the landlord.
"Where pets are involved, there is an increased risk of damage beyond fair wear and tear. In this case, where a puppy is involved, that risk was even higher. Were the tenant permitted to keep the puppy, some degree of damage is, on the balance of probabilities, inevitable," Ms Robinson said in her decision.
Ms Robinson said there was more potential for damage in a fully furnished apartment and the need for the lessor to find a new tenant in a short time frame made the prospect of damage unreasonable.
"What can be concluded in this case is that, should the lessor be required to allow the pet, then damage will be caused to the floors from dog urination. The damage will require repair. This will take time, and money, and have consequences for the reletting [of] the apartment."
In July, Ms Robinson found in favour of a man who sought to keep a Siberian husky puppy in a third-storey, one-bedroom Braddon apartment, noting the case was borderline but the dog was apartment-trained.
The ACT's residential tenancy laws were changed in November last year, preventing landlords from banning pets outright without first getting approval from the tribunal.